What to do when your child hates school work?
My soon to be 10 year old daughter absolutely hates math work. She loves science, history, reading and language. When we come to math she just bogs down and stares out the window or plays with her pencil. I have tried many things, and there is improvement. When she came from public school she was so lost in her math and I think this may be the culprit. Her average is now an "A", but I want her to enjoy it more. I know there are other children like this out there and would love to have your ideas and recommendations. Certain curricula or programs that boost their desire?See Answer 10 Add Answers
What does she want?
Seriously, my daughter does love math, but I think alot of it has to come from the fact that she doesn't do textbook math problems, she doesn't have assigned work. Yet, after just turning eight years old she is working on a fifth grade level. She spends a lot of time cooking. She spends a lot of time grocery shopping. Math becomes more exciting when you're trying to figure out what amount of ingredients you need for twenty people and the recipe only makes five servings. Math is more meaningful when you only have twenty dollars and you are planning a menu, sales prices and don't forget tax!
You might also look at starting back at the beginning. My daughter can do fifth grade math, but the speed and ease which she whips through second grade math is a real morale booster and she loves those easy workbooks from walmart. It makes her feel confident and it also reinforces what she's learned from further up the rank. Just because your daughter has an A average doesn't mean that she should keep moving forward so much. Part of homeschooling is being able to say, "Okay, we're working at this level for reading, and this for math" and it also means that you CAN take a break from math for a while, reassess and let her work on real world application for a while.
I have to agree with forestwizard. When kids don't see how they'll ever use what they've learned then the battle over school work becomes greater.
Try using a real world example. One idea would be to have her organize a can food drive for the local food bank. As cans are collected, have her keep track of the percentage of cans that represent the various food groups - veggies, fruit, meat, etc.
Some food banks measure donations in pounds. Have her keep track of the weights in oz. of each can, add the items in each group together, and determine the total pounds of veggies, fruit, etc. donated.
- graph the results
- keep a spreadsheet on the computer
- average the amounts donated by group
If the food bank isn't her thing, have her adopt an endangered animal, or gather toys for needy children. The main thing is to find something that she's interested in and incorporate the math as part of the process.
I've had to do something similar with my own children. This year my boys planted a small garden and are selling the produce they've grown to family and friends. They were responsible for keeping track of expenses and sales. It's not terribly profitable, but my husband and I were more interested in them learning the basics behind learning to run a small business. The more realistic, the better.
Lots of people suggested good ways of getting her more interested in math. Try them.
Also be prepared to accept that maybe she doesn't really like math. That doesn't mean you should let her quit it forever, although a break might be good.
Math was not a favorite subject of mine. I did it and did well in it all through school, but it was never real exciting. If I had been in charge of my curriculum math would have fallen by the wayside. I did it last with the most complaining.
I'm very glad that I was pushed into Calculus in grade 12. It did ruin my 4.0 (I got a B). I swore I'd never use it because I didn't want to do anything that used math.
To say that I use calculus would be silly, but I'm a policy analyst (I always loved social studies and government) and I do occasionally use the statistical and analytic concepts that I learned in courses that have calculus as a prerequisite.
You should try to make it more fun, but if she really doesn't like it she doesn't like it. As long as she plugs away at it and is working up to her potential then I wouldn't worry too much.
I suppose it all depends on what kind of math you are trying to teach her exactly. Most math can be taught through science which you said she loved.
There are a lot of algebra type problems in chemistry and physics. The whole balancing the equation so that you know how much of which element there is for your experiment is pure algebra and also a chemistry concept.
Graphing in all its forms comes into play with recording data from experiments and reporting the results. As does all the basic math functions. (You have to average your results if you run the test more than once, which makes uses of addition and division. You could have her estimate her results rather than give the exact number because there is often the issue of the number having too many decimals. Subtraction is finding out the differences between two different experiments. Multiplucation could be figuring out how to do the experiment on a much larger scale.)
Measurement comes up obviously with putting experiments together and finding results. You can also sneak in conversions because science often uses different units than are considered to be standard in most households.
Geometry and area equations come into play when dealing with studying everything in one specific area (for an enviornmental study). You need to know just how much area your sample is covering.
Those are just a few suggestions. Basically what I'm trying to say is that you don't HAVE to call it math. Call it science and she can learn the same things, just in a different way.
I think the easiest thing for you would be to look at what math concept you want her to pick up and then find some kind of science experiment or topic that you can manipulate into covering it. Hope it helps.
You'd probably have to get the answer from her. It may still be stress/insecurity-related: the thought of math may just be tied to negative feelings from the past and she can't shake it.
For a child who isn't naturally interested in math, usually you have to find games or real-world situations to make it desirable. Yahtzee is great. getting dice and using them to make numbers to multiply or divide, with the person getting the target amount the "winner". For example, let's say you're playing for the highest number you roll a 6 and a 5 on your first roll. You decide to make 65. Then you roll a single die and get 5. You multiply 65 by 5 and get 325. Your dd would do the same and the person who has the greatest number wins. Or you could keep tabs and it's the person with the highest score after 5 rounds who wins.
For division, you could do something like start at 1000 and roll a single die by which to divide the number. You'd write down the remainders, but would scrap them for your next division. The first person to get 1 or less than 1 wins.
There are various math board games out there, but I can't think of a single name at the moment. Make it fun and not too challenging--don't let it all be at an instructional and frustrational level--and her attitude about it may improve.
As for real-life situations, calculating how much money you'd need to buy things from flyers (or buy 5 of the same thing from the flyer), or how much something costs per pound, or doubling or tripling cookie recipes, or even looking at the bills and adding them up to see how much has to be paid each month... Some kids can't connect with math unless they see some real utility to it.
I hated math in school. I remember doing the same things. #'s scared me, they still do. Lots of people are like this.
For a 10 Year old the interest has to be there.
I would suggest searching the web for some local free things. Something you can do, whether it's going through the store and doing math as you shop etc etc ....
Often times if you put them into a situation that they don't know is a "learning" situation, and if you can be creative enough to somehow tailor it in the fact it has to do with what they are trying to learn, you will find they end up resonating with it better.
After you're done, explain what you did, and explain how you think they can apply it to their lessons. The key to them is by having already done that with you, they should be in a better place to understand it, and complete their work having already done it!