math troubles

having a little difficulty with maeven’s math right now. nothing huge, but its something i need to work on. the problem is that she’s still counting while figuring out math problems. that’s not what she’s supposed to be doing in the rightstart math program. i had sorta known this but last week when i did a lesson with her that ended in a little practice work, i saw her even counting for the problems where she’s only adding 1 to the number…and i know she could do this quicker because we’ve been doing the “what comes after” game for weeks where i say a number and she tells me, as fast as she can, what number comes after it.  tonite i was thinking about this and realized she might not have put those 2 things together in her head yet to figure out that that’s what adding 1 is doing, just telling what the next number is. so tomorrow i’m going to make it a point to talk to her about this.

but anyway once i realized that she was still counting, i stopped the practice sheets because it says in the manual that children who are still counting at this point need more work on the strategies. so i went to the yahoogroup for users of this program and asked their advice.

i learned that i should use the games more…this program has a lot of great math games that are used to help kids learn the strategies. like having them better get to know the numbers that add up to 10 by playing memory where you don’t match the exact 2 numbers, but instead you get a match when you find 2 numbers that add up to 10. 🙂 pretty clever, eh? i love it! they do the same thing with go fish and old maid. clever clever! 🙂  i just haven’t spent a huge amount of time playing the games with her and i obviously need to do these games more.

so i went ahead and bought the math games book, even though i don’t technically need it til the next level (because in the level we’re in, all the games are explained in the lessons), but it supposedly has even more games in it than are presented in the manual…and i was told by someone who has the book that she wished she had it when her child was in level b (the level we’re in).

so i am waiting for that to come in. and in the meantime i’ll go through the manual and pick out the games that will help me help maeven better learn the strategies we’ve learned so far, and stop counting. counting, according to this program, is an extremely inefficient way to do math. she’s supposed to do it visually, in her head. many kids picture the abacus in their head when they are doing problems, moving the beads over in their head.

the problem is, i think, that before we started doing this particular math program…we TAUGHT her to count. with her fingers even! DOH! luckily she didn’t get super efficient at it yet…i mean she’s good but at least she hasn’t been doing a lot of it for many years…because now i have to help her UNlearn that. woops!


  1. Oh, wow, I’m not sure I agree with the Right Start attitude at all. Interestingly, I’m a HUGE right-brained advocate. So many math programs are geared toward the left-brained learner. Right Start is supposedly a good right-brained math program. What you say supports that.

    What I don’t agree with is now this program is penduluming the learner to the other side. First, you have traditional math programs saying you have to do things “this way”. When it is the left-brained approach, but you are a right-brained learner, it doesn’t work well. And the things that a right-brained learner might do to help himself is not valued.

    Now, here is this right-brained program telling the learner they have to do it the right-brained way, and if you are a left-brained learner, or even a right-brained learner who prefers a different input method, then you are doing it “wrong”. UGH!

    My suggestion that you aren’t asking for . . . LOL! Trust your daughter that she knows how she needs to do it, when she is best capable of doing it. When she touches things as she counts things, it means she might be more tactile in her learning. A visual learner may prefer to visualize like Right Start is suggesting. But a builder person might prefer to build the math for quite a while as it connects to their natural processes.

    Okay, I better stop this book comment . . . LOL! Any program that touts one right way I would ignore . . . I might keep the resource if it has redeeming qualities, but I would use it our way 🙂


  2. I didn’t remember to pay attention that your blog is titled Lego Maniacs. Just that alone tells me you have right-brained learners, but they are going to be more tactile-driven most likely and need to build to process . . . touch to learn. And, interestingly, those who are builders are often natural math people. So, getting out of their way while supplying them with lots of manipulative math things like pentominoes, tangrams, attribute blocks, hundreds boards, and linking cubes might surprise you in where their natural ability will take them. Let them build and explore . . .

    More unsolicited thoughts to consider . . .

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