Kitt was struggling with math so bad. She couldn’t even look at a math problem without breaking down in tears. She was so frustrated, she couldn’t answer basic addition and subtraction questions, though she was past two digit multiplication and division last year. Since she was making A’s and B’s in math in 6th grade only a few months ago, the question we had to ask ourselves was ‘are we being manipulated’?
I don’t think this is the case, honestly.
I think she held on for as long as she could before breaking down, and now she’s just overwhelmed by all the demands she faced. We gave her a month to detox from school, and took it easy for the second month. Still, the issue persisted.
We tried CTC Math and Khan Academy, and the truth emerged. Kitt can guestimate an answer with ease, and reach an 80-90% on her tests. But the second she was given a written response question, she froze and panicked before even attempting the problem. Basically, public school taught her how to pass state scantron tests with a high enough score to favor their funding standards, and failed to make sure she grasped the actual skills. Don’t even get me started on the positive feedback I was getting through her teachers and IEP team.
(Nope, not gonna rant. Deeps breaths. In. Out.)
Her frequent comments of ‘I’m stupid’ make more sense to me now. I thought she was doing fine since she always brought home A’s and B’s. But she knows that she isn’t really getting the answer.
She was so stressed by math in general that she froze when asked to add four chores at $0.75 each. She’s done this math before, even the same calculation, and did fine. This time, she threw up her hands in defeat and decided she’d rather forfeit the money she had already earned than count it. Even bringing out the coins or attempting to get her to write the problem out met with outright refusal.
She loves her allowance, so this broke my heart- she truly believed she was too stupid to deserve anything good anymore (her words, not mine).
It took hours scouring the internet to find a ‘possible’ explanation. She seems to exhibit most of the warning signs of dyscalculia. Although we haven’t had her tested yet, we decided to give the learning/teaching suggestions a try. We had limited success until we stumbled upon Gameschooling. What a difference!
We’ve finally broken through the walls of Kitt’s struggle and started making progress again. We combined the games listed on our Favorite Games page with some made up games using a deck of cards, and let her use the resources in the How to Be Good at Math book as we play. We’re back on track for meeting the core curriculum standards, even if we are a few months behind. We’ll get there, and we’ll have fun doing it!