Why can’t my child do his math?

We hear it all the time. Chad is supposed to be working on his math and has been at it for what seems like hours! His study time has been interrupted by several trips to the bathroom, petting the dog, checking the fridge, playing with the tablecloth, examining his hands. Mom is certain he is doing it on purpose to get out of homework. After all, he is a whiz when it comes to spatial concepts and the mathematics of building. He can create the most impressive drawings in real time and virtual structures in Minecraft. These activities are mathematically based and he does them beautifully, effortlessly. Yet, he can’t memorize his times tables or extrapolate what he needs to to prove his common core math problem no matter how hard he tries? The good news is that Chad is NOT willful, stubborn or doing this on purpose. His brain may be developing more slowly in some areas than others.

Math requires us to use our visual, language, spatial, memory and quantitative sense all at once, says Leigh Pretner Cousins, MS., in her blog, YOUR BRAIN ON MATH. Our brains are programmed to innately understand the concept of one, two or few, Leigh goes on, but not necessarily the concepts of calculus or geometry. “Every step along the way to math expertise requires changes in brain structure.” But just as small trails can be transformed into superhighways with tenacity and work, we can develop the neuropathways necessary over time to calculate complex mathematics, says Tony Borash, Lead Coach / K-12 Science Content Facilitator. Your child CAN learn math and you can help them. Just keep at it, try new approaches and build that superhighway one inch at a time.

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