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What can I do to help my first grader (son) learn math better?

I have almost had it up to here!

We've tried everything: fact families, counting with objects, computer games, making up my own lessons, etc.

We had even tried the Math Blaster computer game, which came highly recommended; but when he played, he didn't learn a d*** thing. Example: he thought 3 + 1 was 3 and needed to answer that problem right to get to the next level. Then I asked him what was 3 + 0; he said 3. Then asked him, so what's 3 + 1 then; he still said 3!

I am very desperate right now. I've prayed my a$$ off and am getting ready to have him evaluated, provided that it's approved by my insurance.

Does anyone, anyone, ANYONE have some helpful tips to help my son learn math better? He's doing good in everything else BUT this subject.

Thanks for listening!

You can go over something with him over and over again, but he will not retain the info.

Answer Question

Asked by fabulousk at 4:55 PM on Jan. 25, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 1 (0 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • use cheerieos, spoons, whatever. for the problem 3 +1 put down 3 spoons, and have him add 1 more. then have him count the total.

    Answer by kaysha at 5:46 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • Math can be difficult for some students to "get". (I used to be a math tutor in college)

    My 4 year old has been doing simple math problems and I just started teaching him by using his fingers....

    If you're adding 3 + 1, hold up three fingers on one hand, and one on the how many fingers do you have.

    Or don't bother with fingers but find some other small objects he can line up in front of him.

    He may be a visual learner (2 of my sons are VERY visual learners) and this will help him.....

    Also...maybe recite tables. Not the best idea, but not to just recite them...make it sing-songy...that may help

    Try to make the problems make sense to him....relate it to something he knows and cares about...."if you have one car and your friend has put them all in a box, how many are there?" (something like that...)


    Answer by TiccledBlue at 5:50 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • kids will pick up on our frustration. My advice would be to hire a tutor for him. Once he's comfortable with the basics you can take back over. I have the same problem with getting my daughter to sound out words. i get frustrated, she gets more frustrated so i try and i do mean try not to get upset.

    Answer by dle4125 at 7:46 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • Practice with fruits,favorite cereal pieces,m&ms,small candies.Allow him to eat them if answered correctly.Dominoes works to count on then you can play different adding games.My daughter is also in first grade theae all have helped for her.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:06 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • Stop! Seriously. STOP.
    He is very young yet and some of these concepts are way over his little head.
    Go to the park and swing. Yes, swing. Practice counting. Count forwards to one hundred and backwards. Then when he has that down, learn skip counting by rote. (Memorization.)
    As someone else recommended, use everything to count. He has not mastered the idea that a number represents something. (Guessing) We used M and Ms. Separate them, count them, graph them, add two colors together...
    If you still want to do something at home, look into Math u see or Singapore math. :)
    Also, has some good games.

    Answer by SusieD250 at 9:24 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • Find real life math (cooking, measuring) and try to find him a tutor, maybe his own math teacher?

    Answer by TXdanielly at 11:33 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • i would get a homeschool book, i absolutely love them, i believe the website is, you might even have a store that carries them like mardel's

    Answer by camtri3 at 11:46 PM on Jan. 25, 2009

  • I pay my son a penny for every MathWrap he does. And we do addition and subtraction flashcards daily. I have taught him how to add and subtract on his fingers and he does that when we do the flashcards. I have set a goal of starting to push him to stop with the fingers once we have done the flashcards for 60 days. It is working, but very slowly. And that is okay. We have time. So do you. Relax. Don't push. Show him in your daily activities how you add and subtract. "Look, we got 5 things in the mail. 3 are for Daddy. Hmmm, 5-3 means there are 2 for me." Talk your way though the problems. Show him what the numbers mean. He will learn.

    Answer by mommy22miracles at 11:05 AM on Jan. 26, 2009

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