There are some subjects you have to teach for your child to survive in school. Math is one of them, and most kids hate math. I certainly thought I hated math for most of elementary school. Though that was more because I knew a hilarious song about hating math.
In my case for most of elementary school, it wasn’t so much a dislike as an apathy. I didn’t care. I completed my math because I had to, I didn’t really care about math. Then in 6th grade I had an amazing math teacher. She made math fun, and gave us fun challenges and logic puzzles.
1. Your child will hate math if you don’t care.
After my amazing 6th grade math teacher, a few years later I had a horrible geometry teacher. She didn’t care. She stood in front of the class and read straight from the text book and she didn’t teach, she didn’t interact, and as a result I nearly failed the class. I was not understanding the materials. I hated math class and did not pay attention.
The next year my Algebra 2 teacher was amazing and I went from nearly failing math to getting all A’s. The difference? The teacher’s enthusiasm.
2. Your child will hate math if it’s not relevant.
It’s the same answer for many other things, “Why do I have to learn it?” If you can’t give them a good reason they are not going to care and they won’t want to participate. My kids either are ambivalent or enjoy math because they see why they need it. We play games that use math, they see me balance my check book (yes I still use a paper and pen to make sure it all adds up).
3. Your child will hate math if it doesn’t address their learning style.
I learned this one the hard way. We switched because I didn’t agree with some of the decisions Math U See made. They aligned with Common Core and I don’t think Common Core is a good educational philosophy/standard. So I switched. The program I switched to is a good program and works for many kids, but it doesn’t work for my kids. So I switched again, and it was the same problem all over again.
I’m back to Math U See, I still don’t like they’ve aligned, but I’m not willing to change again until I’ve found a good solid alternative that teaches the way my kids learn.
4. Your child will hate math if you assign too much.
Again this is school of hard knocks talking. Princess is smart, she can handle a lot more than she thinks, but she’s also easily overwhelmed, and it’s easy to forget sometimes she is not the same age as her brothers. Very easy. This past year I’ve moved her into the same math as her brothers. She can do the work, but the sheer number of problems and sometimes the number of steps overwhelms her.
So, I’ve started modifying her work. Sometimes she only does a few problems, other times I break it down into simpler steps and only show her a problem or two at a time.
5. Your child will hate math if you have too much OR not enough repetition.
This one is hard. Your child needs enough repetition they understand the concept and can do it without thinking too much. BUT, you also don’t want to “drill and kill” the concept. This is a very delicate balance point I constantly struggle with. I’ve moved on before they completely mastered a concept only to realize I need to move back several steps. Other times I’ve kept at the skill too long and they’ve been bored and not trying their best. Each skill is a different amount of time needed and you can’t predict it. I don’t have a good answer for this one. I don’t think I ever will.
Changing your kid’s feelings on math is hard, and can take a lot of backtracking. Thankfully I figured out before their hatred had set and reworked our math plan, but change is hard and expensive.
I’m joining with the other ladies of iHomeschool Network to bring you:
There’s several suggestions on how to get your kids to hate a subject, maybe someone’s got a solution for a subject you’ve been struggling with. I know my kids’ have struggled with different subjects from time to time.