Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Say It. . . .

Amanda, my fifth-grade daughter, does not enjoy math. She thinks it's hard. With some of the "new math" that we have to do as homework, sometimes it feels hard to me. I know how to do division, but the boxes method? And let's not even talk about the different ways she's taught to understand how to sum fractions. I know my way to do it, but when they are learning a new technique, they have to at least try it out, which leaves me rather unhelpful as I try to decipher the process.

I recently learned, while attending a very informative event for PBS Parents, that studies have shown that while parents are careful to always encourage their reluctant readers -- even if they were (or are) reluctant readers themselves -- the same is not true for math.

Parents state these words much more freely: “Math is hard,” or “I didn’t like math either.” We say it, and they hear it. It validates their struggle, and they lose their motivation to overcome that which is difficult for them.

Uh-oh — guilty.

Keep reading the rest of my post at 5 Minutes for Mom. . . .

6 comments:

Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

Thankfully, my husband is a math teacher. I'm good up until Calculus, then I probably wouldn't be the best help/say encouraging things for my kids. (What can I say? I chose my college because it didn't have a math requirement!)

Karla E said...

I didn't read the rest of your article (for some reason 5M4M is blocked on my work computer), but I think sometimes parents just assume that girls are not good at math...it's a boy subject. I just don't think that's true.

Also, just remember...it's HER homework, not YOUR homework. You don't have to understand it...you've already passed 5th grade and can manage in the world with your math skills. Don't be afraid though to get help for her (school tutoring, or whatever) if she needs it. We did that with writing for Matt and the results were amazing.

Vitaly said...

I have a pretty strong grasp of math but...uhm...what's the boxes method? I'm starting to feel even older than I already did.

Lisa writes... said...

As a mathematician of sorts (it was my major in college, yeah, really) I am well aware of the socially accepted prejudice against math... Glad to see you've been enlightened! :-)

Cindy said...

Jennifer-I tagged you on my blog-go check it out1

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

C. is not crazy about math. Chad never liked it in school, either, and is quick to empathize. I try to empathize with C. -- letting him know his dad struggled too -- while at the same time reminding him that he can do it and just needs to keep working on it. I was one of those kids who actually loved math...call me weird. :)