Last week we got a note from Crash’s teacher that he was having trouble in math. Apparently he was shutting down, not completing his work, not answering her questions. Unfortunately, she told us after the fact instead of when he was actually having trouble.
Anyway, I’m not here to rant about his teacher. I’m a teacher, too. Mistakes are made. I’ve made a few. Like that time I accidentally let a 5 year old go home on the bus instead of making him wait for his mom to come get him. It all worked out thankfully. I’m so sorry that happened.
But this was about a kid’s grade. My kid’s. I know a kid’s mark in 3rd grade isn’t make or break, but if Crash is allowed to slack off now, he’s going to think he can slack off whenever he wants. He does it during chores. He’d rather sit and do nothing for a half hour than take the 5 minutes to get the chore done. He applies this thinking to math. He’s good at math. He’s always earned A’s in math. Why does he shut down then?
Subtracting threw him for a loop.
Borrowing regrouping in particular.
[Enter] Teacher dad
I started working with him on
borrowing regrouping and he started fighting it.
Then he said, “I don’t get it”. I knew he was getting it, he was completing problem after problem correctly. “What don’t you get” I asked. “Why does this number (the tens place) go down one but this number (the one’s place) goes up 10.”
This I can do. I ran to the basement and frantically searched the Lego bag . I found a bunch of those flat
1 x 10 pieces and some “one-ers” to fill it up and some extras. Yes. I made ones and rods, ones and 10 sticks. Now I could demonstrate visually why that happened.
After solving a few problems this way, he understood. He learned the lesson.
So did I.
He had been applying his chore attitude to math class.
Just because he’s not getting homework doesn’t mean he’s getting his work all done. Just because the teacher hasn’t sent home notes, made a phone call, sent an e-mail, doesn’t mean he’s getting his work all done.
Be sure to ask questions. Even more important, be sure to ask the right ones. My goal now is not just find out how his day went. My goal isn’t just to find out what he did in school. My goal now is ask if he understood it. Then I’ll make him prove it.
Boy is he gonna hate me for those 20 minutes I make him do math.