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How can I get my daughter to understand math without shutting down?

She does ok for the most part, but she really struggles with the concepts. If she can look at an EXACT sample in her book then she can follow it and do the problem, I feel like it is memorizing the steps NOT understanding the concept. I have had her to tutors and Sylvan (waste of $) and she refuses strongly about staying after school to get help from her teacher. Is there a way that I could teach her that she would understand? She does have ADHD and is on Adderall. She does pretty good but math is a HUGE issue for her. HELP!

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Asked by sfivew8 at 9:37 AM on May. 5, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (6)
  • It's pretty common that with Math, you either get it or you survive it. I, too, had to follow examples a long while before any concepts stuck. In fact, I was probably an adult before some concepts made sense. It's very hard to take algebra and make it relevant to a teenager, especially one that struggles with it. If she is passing, just accept that she's doing the best she can. You mention that this is her weakest subject which means that she has other strengths. We, as mothers, tend to focus on areas that need (our) help, but IF you were to start praising her strengths, the subjects that she is great at, she can take that CONFIDENCE and apply it to math. IF you make a big deal of her math grades, she will become INSECURE and translate that into her subjects. Try to see the big picture, and realize that none of us are good at everything we do, we do some things better than others. BTW, Math is my BEST subject...(con't)

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:49 AM on May. 5, 2009

  • Help her to survive math, empathize with her, because the more you push, the more she will push back. If you did well in elementary in math, that will continue up thru school, if you didn't, that too will continue. I LOVE math, and I enjoy doing things with numbers, because it makes sense to me. However, reading comprehension was harder to me, and still is to this day. (I'm 41.) My confidence in math shaped my confidence in life. Find what she's best at, and nurture that in her. I see you want the best for her, good luck!

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:53 AM on May. 5, 2009

  • My teen has issues with math also and is not really LEARNING IT, I have gone to the book store and gotten some math workbooks and decided I am going to teach her myself this summer. Truthfully I did try tutors and mine does stay after school it helps but she still struggles. I think the best way to help a kid is find out what it is they are doing or not doing yourself, and try and find what can be improved. It could be very likely attention span is too short because they have no patience for math. Id do summer school with yours like I am doing with mine.

    Answer by TheFriskyKitty at 10:55 AM on May. 5, 2009

  • Some kids do it but just don't get it. Try some math software, games. They have them online and you can buy some if they work for her. With math the repetition isn't a bad thing. One day it will be like a light bulb going off and she's say "OH, now I get it!" Be patient. I loved teaching math and loved seeing that look on a child's face when they did "get it".

    Answer by admckenzie at 11:33 AM on May. 5, 2009

  • Make sure she has learned the properties of math. As math advances, it is using the properties and applying them to a formula. Get out some objects and test the formulas. Use flash cards and look over them every day for about 1 min. Flip through and divide into 2 piles - knew it and didn't know it. Pick up the didn't know pile and go through 1 more time and that is all. It is a lot of repetition but it works. It's the difference between learning to mastery and learning to exposure.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 1:11 PM on May. 5, 2009

  • You need to find her a therapist who will teach her how to use ADD to her advantage and teach her coping skills. Syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann has written extensively on this topic:
    If you have not already done so, you should explore the relationship between foods and attention and behaviour issues:
    I would also start her on hemp oil capsules now and see if this helps her in the fall. Good luck!

    Answer by rkoloms at 4:14 PM on May. 5, 2009

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