Thursday, January 21, 2010

Math Roadblock

Math. If I listened to most of my family and most of my friends I could guess that it is one of the most confusing and hated subjects out there.

Fortunately for me, I'm a freak of nature and have always enjoyed math and found it kind of easy. I was a big time "mathlete" in high school, winning many state and regional awards and even getting one national award. Both of my boys have lucked out in acquiring my math genes.

Corbin continues to struggle with phonics yet in math he works in workbooks that are made for kids two years older than him. He is always coming home saying, "We learned something new in math today but it wasn't new to me." He has a poster with multiplication facts on it hanging next to his bed- he asked for it and he loves it.

Brian is non-verbal and struggles with almost everything academic. Yet he's always known his numbers. They weren't taught to him, he just knew them. He could put them in order, identify them, and count objects. One day he even started counting backwards out of no where.

I think math can be very concrete (well at least at the elementary level) and that obviously is a plus for learners like my boys.

Yet, we hit our first roadblock with math this week with Brian.

Tally marks have been introduced. Like with all kids learning can't just happen at school, it always needs to be reinforced at home. Yet, with Brian, I feel that I try to do that even more. Honestly, I'm not sure how much he is listening, participating, or retaining at school. I'm not sure how much one-on-one instruction he is given with each lesson every day.

So I gave him a bowl with different objects to sort. He sorted them, I asked them how many of each of them there were, and he told me. I asked him to write the numbers and he did. We put them back and took them out one by one so we could write a tally mark with each object. He did not like this.

Each tally mark to him was a number 1. He doesn't want to write 1,1,1. If he's going to be writing more than one "number" in a row it NEEDS to be in order, 1,2,3. And he just looks at me like, "What in the world do you mean '1,1,1' is the same thing as '3'"?

I wrote to his teacher about my concerns and she wrote back that all kindegarten kids struggle with tally marks and they are just starting them so I shouldn't be concerned. Yet, I can't shake it. I can't shake the feeling that this is the beginning of me really needing to pay attention to what curriculums they are using with Brian and to really find the right fit for him. Maybe she's right and he'll catch on after a lot of drilling, I hope she is.

I research the crap out of things when I have questions, as you all know. Found some interesting websites and thought I'd share.

Autism Classroom
Autism For Teachers
Positively Autism
Education World


CoffeeShopBloggers said...

If you want to do home supplementation for your son to challenge him with something new, I love Singapore Math workbooks and A Word Problem a Day. Maybe a Word Problem a Day might be better for your son because it will combine reading comprehension as well as math so he can work on both. I blog on math workbooks at See Math Workbooks blog entry.

Christina said...

That concept is hard to understand! ((HUGS)) (And I love math too)