My son is in first grade and is having difficulty completing his math. I don't know if it is a concentration problem, or an "I don't know" problem. Can anyone give me some pointers to ways to help him with this. They have done basic addition, and are now deep into subtraction. His teacher gives him worksheets and has used blocks to assist them, but we don't really have these at home. Are there rewards that might work with him, or other manipulatives? The math curriculum the school uses is "Math u see". He goes to a private school. I'm not good at math and have tried all different ways to get him to work through it, but he's very frustrating, and "plays" alot when we're working on it. Thanks in advance, Suzerich

Have you tried using play money? Making a game of "store" out of his math problems? Use pennies as a manipulative. 13 - 6. You start with 13 pennies and I take away six how many do you have left? Repetition and making it fun will go a long way towards helping him improve in math. Also confidence is key to success in math. Help him believe that he can do math

When I taught first I told mine that math was about finding the "trick" that worked for them. I would show them "my" way of solving, then ask for others to show "their" way because maybe something would click with others that I didn't think about. I know a manipulative we used when I did pre intern teaching was button hands. We had 2 hands on a piece of paper & lines that were like this _________ +___________= & the same for subtraction. They were given a number like 10 they had to find all the different ways to make 10. IE 2+8= then they could change it around & do the 8+2= This way they saw a bunch of different ways. In subtraction we would do the same thing. We used buttons, but at home you could use crayons, macaroni noodles, blocks. GOOD LUCK!!!

You know even having him hand you 3 grapes or something & asking for more then the total. This would be a great foundation to help get those basics down. Do this with subtraction as well. Or if he's putting away toys or crayons.

I'll also recommend a nifty book for the two of you: Go Figure: A Totally Cool Book about Numbers, by Johnny Ball, published by Dorling Kindersley. It won't help much with the skills per se, but it could help you see how nifty math is, and that's likely to increase your comfort level as you help your son.

I have a 1st grader and a 6th grader and its always hard to help them. My oldest acts like I don't know what I'm talking about. Do you have any neighbors who have 3rd or 4th graders that could help you out? Have them come over to play store with him. You can be an innocent bystander. Sometimes kids will be more willing to participate with a friend or other child.

You are so right!!! My neighbor was a teacher when I was a kid & we would sit & work on homework with her kiddos. She said I'll never understand it why they will sit right up there with you & do their work, but for me it's like pulling teeth!!! LOL!!! When I taught I would do some math work together, individually & then in partners!!!

Thank you for your ideas. I'll try some of them with him. Unfortunately, we live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and the only companions he has here besides the indoor pets are way too many chickens, ducks, geese, guineas and sheep. I've tried beans, and an abacus like toy, etc., but he just doesn't want to concentrate, or doesn't "get" it. His teacher said he did better today though. Thanks again.

Does he have a long bus ride?!? Are there neighbors or something that could use cards & have him add & subtract those. I know I had a long bus ride & our neighbors & us would play cards to pass the time. This might be an easy way to play maybe War, but have him add or subtract the number first.