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.

Almost Unschoolers says

Relevancy is the one I struggle with the most for the older kids. Once they passed into algebra and then beyond it started getting harder and harder to find “real world” uses for the problems they were solving.

Ticia says

With older kids their real world application will really depend on what they want to go into. I know Jeff uses quite a bit of higher level math and reasoning for programming, but I’m obviously not using Algebra as much as he is in day to day life.

There’s also quite a bit of it that we do without even thinking about it.

Lindsay @ BytesofMemory says

Great points!!! I LOVE math and because of that Sammy does too. I struggled with geometry as well. I have always just thought it was the material since it was more abstract.. However, my teacher hated teaching it and made that known. I wonder now if it had more to do with that! I just switched Sammy to Rightstart math.. We will give that a try for a while.

Ticia says

I’ve heard really good things about Rightstart math, and think it looks really good to use.

Susan Evans says

I’ve noticed many of the same things you mention in my own experiences with math. I’m hoping to prevent those same mistakes as I teach my own children math. Math is just a lot of hard and tedious work, which is why most kids hate it.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says

Poor Princess – that first picture is a great illustration for your post. I think a lot of teachers at homeschool and in school are struggling with math. Smarty’s second grade teacher, for example, was way better in English than she was in math. I think math lends itself well to some sort of point system to motivate practicing and achieving results – this is why my daughter digs Khan Academy so. Well, points and also being in control, choosing her own topics and progressing at her own (very fast) pace.I wish they could just let her do Khan Academy in school instead of a boring second grade math class!

maryanne @ mama smiles says

Learning style is very important. I hated word problems as a kid and didn’t mind the standard drill and kill worksheets, but words-loving Emma ADORES word problems and hates the worksheets.

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says

This is perfect! So much truth in this post!

Claire says

My girls so struggle with maths, although they seem to understand it when I teach it they have absolutely no retention. It’s very frustrating for both them and me. Wishing we were very rich so I could buy in a maths tutor!

Amy says

I’m probably a weirdo, but I always loved math in school! I think you points are really good, though! My son is also super smart, but easily overwhelmed. I decided to have him take a step back in math for a few months just to get his confidence up and now he’s back and really enjoying math!