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How do I get my child to understand subtration?

It is so frustrating that he does not get it no matter how many times I have explained and showed him. I have no patience no matter how much I try.

Flash cards don't work.

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:49 PM on Mar. 5, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (9)
  • Have you tried applying it to something he knows? Give him 5 of his favorite food. Take 2 away. Ask him to count how many he has left. Try to be patient. It is a developmental thing. He'll get it when he gets it.

    Answer by BlueFrogMama at 5:51 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • I agree with BlueFrog. Thats how I recall them teaching my sister, was using apples and having a small number (5 or 10) on the table, and taking some away, and teaching that way. It takes time, are you working with the teacher on it? And if he gets frustrated, let him take a break. He won't learn anything if his brain is overloaded.

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 5:53 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • Figuring out how he learns best is the key. LIke the PP said, try doing something visual like using certain objects (candies, pennies, toys) and having him count them, then taking one away and then count them again. Stay patient and calm and go at his pace so he does not get flustered. Make it simple and light hearted and fun.

    Answer by KTMOM at 5:53 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • I was going to say much like the first poster...use physical objects to show him. Some people are more visual learners and kids have a hard time with abtract ideas. Try M&M's or goldfish too..only let him eat what's taken away when he gets it right.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 5:54 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • Get blocks (all the same color) put 4 in front of him and have him count them, then after he does that have him write it down, then tell him "ok I'm going to take away 1" then have him write on the paper -1 then ask him to count whats left once he does that then have him write that down. So then on his paper he would have wrote 4-1=3 keep doing this with different numbers until he finally understands. But don't confuse him with different colors.

    Answer by VasquezFamily at 5:54 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • use things he is intrested in maybe hot wheels or pieces if cereal or fruit ...
    try giving him 5 pieces of cereal and let him count them .. than let him eat 2... than ask him how many are left!!! some kids need to actually see what they are doing to get math!
    Math is very hard to learn if you don't get it right away!!! I was in a special math class through out elementary school and I still have a hard time with multiplication........
    and he is only 5 give him time he should pick it up....
    another thing is do not push him too hard if he feels like he is never going to get it he will give up and shut down I have this problem with my son aswell he is 5 also!!!
    good lick girl

    Answer by Moma_bear at 5:57 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • Put out 4 blocks, take one away, - subtract one- , and ask him how many are left. If they can actually see and hold it helps them to understand.

    Set out 10 stuffed animals, subtract 7 of them. Set out 3 bars of soap, take away 2 of them.


    Answer by Bmat at 5:58 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • My used pencils and mm's to teach me. She laid them out and took some away, eventually I got it.

    Answer by RugersMommy06 at 7:36 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • My son brought home several counting backwords worksheets before they introduced subtraction problems. Draw a simple maze or use one from an activity book. number from one to ten, ten being the starting point and one being the finish. Omit some of the numbers so that as he counts backwords, he needs to fill in the banks. The objects are important too for number value. Good luck. It's been a challenge for my son too this year.

    Answer by tiggermom803 at 3:31 AM on Mar. 7, 2009

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