Struggle with math?
Does this sound familiar – the information taught last year or even last month didn’t seem to stick, and math homework ends up with frustrations and tears?
Sometimes a student may have trouble learning a new concept, understanding a new unit in math, or have missed too much instruction to easily catch up. In these instances, getting math tutoring can help boost a student’s confidence and fill in the gaps in missing information so math can make more sense. If a student’s difficulty with math is persistent over time and through different math concepts from year to year, then it may be time to take a closer look.
When one of the foundational skills needed to be successful in math is weak or missing, a student will always struggle. Often these students develop anxiety over math. If severe enough, a student may even qualify as having a math disability called dyscalculia.
Signs it’s more than a little problem:
- ✔ Difficulty counting quickly
- ✔ Trouble remembering phone numbers
- ✔ Difficulty telling time on an analog clock
- ✔ Confusing left and right often
- ✔ Slow development of math problem-solving skills
- ✔ Difficulty counting money
- ✔Gets confused easily with more than/less than
- ✔Hard time understanding the one-to-one correspondence between number symbols and objects
- ✔Has to count the dots on dice or fingers on the hand every time
- ✔Dislikes and avoids activities and games that involve counting and math strategies
- ✔Learning and remembering basic math facts, math vocabulary, multiplication tables, rules, or procedures is difficult
- ✔Challenges with measuring things
- ✔Unable to organize objects in a logical way
- ✔Struggles to learn to count or recognize printed numbers
- ✔Trouble understanding charts and maps
Dyscalculia is not a single type of math challenge, but a wide range of lifelong difficulty involving math.
Learning strategies for students who struggle with math depend in large part on the type of difficulty the student is experiencing. Whether the child has reading difficulties should also be taken into account. Many math programs for students with math challenges will include attention to basic skills, explicit instruction, and lots of opportunities for practice and mastery, and yet the student continues to need assistance. This is because the cause of the math challenge was never addressed.
Too often the missing underlying skills for students struggling in math is a lack of conceptualization, which supports number concepts and functions. We use programs that help the student integrate and apply imagery to the process of computation and mathematical concepts. A successful program should make sure that students revisit and master earlier concepts and skills before moving forward.
Sometimes struggling in math is not the only issue, and if this is the case, the other weaknesses may be contributing to the math struggles, such as attention issues or memory problems. This is why if your student has been challenged with math over time you need to get an appropriate evaluation of their underlying learning skills in order to reveal the cause. Once you know what the contributing factors are you can then make plans to improve the situation.
The Learning Skills Pyramid is the foundation of successful remediation. If you focus on just parts of the problem, therapy will not always bring about the desired results. You’ll be left with missing pieces in your program. And that’s where HOLS comes in. In order to identify the contributing factors, a Functional Academic and Learning Skills Evaluation must be administered to determine the source of the missing pieces. Only then can a comprehensive program be designed that will address your child’s weaknesses in developmental order.