Homeschool Math Problems with My 4th Grader

by Heidi
(Mcphreson ks,usa)

Experiencing homeschool math problems? Struggles can be frustrating especially when you have other children to take care of...

Well my son is a very smart boy who remembers things very quickly, is artistic, etc. Yet he hates math and for two pages will take hours. I wish I new what to do.

I have four younger kids so it is hard to just sit with him every time and go over it daily. If I do it goes quickly but I want him to be able to do this on his own!

Hi Heidi!
I feel your pain and can totally relate to your situation. I have a fourth grader (girl) who has done the same thing - taken hours to do her math. It could be the math program you are using, but finding another one may not solve the problem either. Your son may get excited about a new program which can solve the problem for a time; he may also revert back once the novelty wears off. (This happened with us.) Each one of my kids has struggled at some point with math and or the curriculum we were using.

It is important to find a program that works best with your son's learning style. My youngest daughter loved Saxon math for the first three years because the lessons were fun and interactive, we used a lot of manipulatives, and the questions were already written out for her on worksheets. Once she got into Saxon 5/4, she had to use a textbook and copy the questions into a notebook. I think it was overwhelming to her. Since she was ahead for her age (she used to really love math and we do some school during the summer months), I slowed down and only had her do three lessons a week. This helped a bit but I knew she needed something different.

This past fall, I had the opportunity to try out a video-based math program. Although I was given a copy of the 3rd grade course and my daughter was in fourth grade, I figured my daughter would be a perfect tester for this new math program, so agreed to review it. My daughter liked the video lessons - she could do them on her own and re-watch them if she didn't understand a concept. We are now using the 4th grade course. A video-based curriculum also freed me up to spend more time with my younger son.

Most of the time she gets her work done in less than an hour, but has hit a wall a couple of times. She took a painfully long time to do multiplication questions like 4,698 x 74. She completed her work quicker when I sat with her. (You could do this during nap-time, in the evening, or some other time during the day that works better with your younger children.) I also told her she could talk out loud as she worked. It seemed to help. Once she completed that unit, she began moving along quicker again. On most days, she completes two two lessons to catch up! Every now and then she will have a slow day depending on the lesson or her attitude about math. :)

My second oldest graduated from high school last year. We switched from Saxon to an online homeschool math classes because she just wasn't getting it by reading lessons. She completed two years of high school math in one year once we made the switch.

If you think you have found the perfect curriculum for him, some suggestions from another mom (me) who has gone through this with multiple children:
  • Go through the lessons with him to make sure he understands the concepts presented.
  • Have him teach the lesson back to you. Let him pretend he is the teacher and you are his student.
  • Have him do only a few questions at a time and then take a break. Go onto other work he enjoys and then come back and do a few more problems, etc.
  • Sometimes the time of day is a factor too. He may work quicker first thing in the morning or work better later on... each child is different.
  • Use small rewards for his diligent work - a break outside, playtime with his younger siblings or reading a book with you; whatever motivates him.
  • Enjoy some math-free days. You could easily do math for three days per week and still complete a course in a year. We do math in the summer so we don't have to do weeks of review when school starts back up in the fall. It also allows us to get ahead or get caught up.
  • Stay calm and encouraging. Your attitude has a huge effect on your children, as I'm sure you know. It's okay if you go slower in subjects he is struggling with; it's a wonderful benefit of homeschooling! :)

A fun curriculum that he may enjoy is Life of Fred - lessons are interesting and fun.

Other popular homeschool math programs:
Teaching Textbooks
Singapore Math
RightStart Math

I hope this helps you. I completely understand what you are going through and it's not easy.

Read homeschool math curriculum reviews written by other parents like you!

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