My Child Is Behind In Math

My youngest has always had a natural affinity for math.

He was the first one in his preschool class to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction (and apply them). I never worried about which math curriculum to use with him. He seemed to respond well no matter what we used. He would shout out math problems and their answers at the grocery store, the science center, and when his older brother couldn’t do the math in his head.

He was great at it… until he wasn’t.

As we move into higher level math, he is falling further and further behind.

The concepts are more abstract and mental math is no longer possible. Both make math much more challenging for my son.

I am not concerned about his “grade level.” I have learned that eventually, he learns anything he puts his mind to. Even if it takes years to master, I am confident we will eventually get him back on track.

No, what concerns me most is his confidence and self-perception.

Last week, my son looked at me and said, “I guess I am just stupid now. I can’t do math.”

My Child Is Behind In Math #homeschoolmath #homeschoolmom #math

My Child Is Behind In Math, But That’s Not My Main Concern

After reassuring him that he was not, in fact stupid nor deficient in math, I decided we needed to call it quits with any progression in math, and instead focus on his natural mathematical strengths.

Where he excels most, is in practical math. The kind-of math we use everyday to get along in the world.

The kind-of math he will need most as an adult.

Thus, this week’s Friday Fun-Day activity was born.

Everyday Math Scavenger Hunt

I loved using this approach and so did my son. The activity was a perfect way to remind my son of how capable he really is. Plus, we had fun!

In order to really do it justice, I published this week’s activity as part of Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus‘s ongoing focus on hands-on activities for older children.

You will find all the activity details, as well as a free printable math scavenger hunt here.



Friday Fun-Days: 52 Weeks of Easy Hands-On Activities

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  1. My three NT kids are all in Algebra II this year and all are somewhat struggling. Next year as a senior, one will be taking “Consumer Math” which is the math that you and use every day. While I’m sure Algebra II has its uses, for a young woman going into a career in fine art, I’m thinking consumer math is a much better choice than Trigonometry. 🙂

    Ethan, my autistic kid, is in 10th grade and his IEP says he’s using math at a 3.2 level (2nd month of third grade). That, more than anything, made me take a hard look at his future and how unreasonable my expectations were becoming. So much of math is conceptual and so much of autism is concrete. So much of math is conceptual and so much of blindness is what I feel and touch and can count. And sure there are blind mathematicians and blind professors and blind high-profile whatevers, but Ethan isn’t going to be one of them.

    16 has been a very hard year.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Tina. My oldest sounds very similar to your Ethan in his math ability. You are right – so much of math is abstract, and our guys are definitely more concrete!

      P.S. I think everyone should have to take Consumer Math! I didn’t until college and it was the most valuable math I learned in all my schooling.

  2. My son was always a savant in Math. But when we moved from Minnesota to California there was a disconnect in the curriculum. He was struggling with Math concepts for the first time in his life. So I hired a tutor for just a short time, and in a short time he once again he became proficient in Math. When he was in college he tutored Calculus 5. Don’t ask me how someone can do that, because I only made it as far as Algebra! LOL!

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