M has been working hard at eating her 8mg of iron a day – just shows how far she’ll go to avoid taking medicine! An off-shoot of this has been adding up the iron mgs each day and asking me to calculate how much she’s eaten. Yesterday she got frustrated because she didn’t understand what I was saying when I said she’d eaten ‘1.4mg’. In essence, she didn’t understand decimal fractions. So I sat down and tried to explain it to her (all the while realising how rusty my mathematical thought processes are) – there were a lot of tears and anger but M determinedly persevered (and I kept my cool). Well done us. 🙂
I tried many different ways to explain it (while wishing I had invested in an expensive fractions maths set I was eyeing up a few years ago) but what worked in the end was drawing out the ‘ones’ divided up into grids of 10, which she can then colour in as and when she eats. She hasn’t grasped it totally but she’s comfortable with the concept and is happy to use the grids to track her progress from now on.
We had a similar situation a few months ago when M decided she was going to use Khan Academy to learn maths – all was going well until it suddenly switched from simple additions and shape recognition to subtraction complete with carrying over (or regrouping as it now seems to be known). I spent about an hour explaining the process and she got there in the end after a lot of angry tears but unfortunately it put her off Khan Academy for good.
I got through maths at school by parroting back everything I was taught, I had no real understanding of it and the whole thing seemed totally useless to me, though I can now appreciate how certain aspects of maths have everyday applications. I love how M desperately wants to understand the roots of mathematical concepts and I can see how she’s gradually getting a grounding for maths that will mean she’ll eventually have a true understanding of it all.
Thankfully she can learn at her own pace, and work on concepts as and when her brain is ready to assimilate them. What a privilege. 🙂