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jocasta29
jocasta29 asks:
Q:

How can I help my 5 year old visual learner with math?

She is assigned sum like 1+1 or 2+3 every night.  They scramble them but they are the same. She knows the answer yet she takes hours to finish a twenty minute assignment. She gets tired. If I sit with her she cries because I make her work faster by the time we finish it is bed time or later.  She cries. I made up a song to help.  She really liked it but instead of using it to help her do math she began revising the song into different versions.  I am visual learner too and I get it but even with my help she is getting worse
Member Added on Mar 17, 2011
Thank you everyone for your help.  Good news we found that she likes ink stamps.  So when she answers her work correctly she gets a stamp.  If she finished her assignments on time or early she gets another stamp.  So far, her speed has improve dramatically.
In Topics: Learning styles and differences, Tests (preparing, taking, anxiety!), Helping my child with math
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Feb 18, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

A visual learner often needs to have hands on tasks.  Perhaps writing the equation such as 4 + 3 = _______ on a paper with bright markers or crayons.  Use different colors for each number and operation.  Then give  candy, raisin or some other fun "manipulative" underneath the problem.  Therefore, maybe four raisins + three raisins and then have her move them all over to the other side and count up to seven.

The strategy of using hands on activities is usually successful with young children. And because it is yummy, she will enjoy completing her work knowing that she can eat here "helper raisins" at the end!

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

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Additional Answers (5)

Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi jocasta29,

At 5 years old, visual is the best way to teach and for the student to learn, it's just easier to explain the process when they can see what you're doing.

An idea for you to try (this is what I used-and it worked well, I continued to use this, even now with multiplication)  get a pack of craft sticks, they look like popcicle sticks and you can find them at craft stores and dollar stores-they usually cost $1 for 200 sticks.  1 pack is all you will need.

When you're working with Math like 2 + 3, you would have your child count out 2 sticks and lay them on the table.  Then she would count out 3 sticks and lay them on the table - keep the stacks separate.  Now have her count all the sticks for 5 and she can see 2+3=5.  Continue this with all the problems, my daughter had fun using the sticks (it seemed more like play than math) and would move through the problems quickly.

As they practice this, they will soon start memorizing and be surprised that when they see 3+2, they already know that it is 5.

Another fun thing to do, is "estimations"  you place objects in a sandwich bag, such as crayons, pennies, wrapped candies, etc. and have your child guess how many is in the bag.  At first, they usually come of with a number that makes no sense, this is normal.  Show them that by looking at the bag, they can make an "educated guess", have her count the sticks out - say 8 and place them in the bag, see what it looks like, you can fix several bags, with 2 in one, 5 in another, 10 in another, so on and let her see how it looks.  Now, don't tell her how many sticks you've placed in the bag and have her guess, over time, they will be able to come within 1 or 2 from being exactly right and that is what you want.  Estimations will be a part of the curriculum if not this year, in the upcoming year and by practicing this way, I found that he helped them to better understand simple addition.  

All this works the same with subtraction, just in reverse.

Also, you may want to start practicing "fact families", where you will have triangle cards 2, 3, 5 placed in each corner.  She can study by looking at the cards 2+3+5, 3+2=5, 5-2=3, 5-3=2, and see the connection of the numbers.  I've included some links below for the fact family practice cards that you can print and play with.  

All of this should help, when you have these fun, hands-on games ready to go.

Best wishes!

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jocasta29
jocasta29 writes:
Thank you for the response.  Unfortunately, the raisins only gave her something else to play with.  The coloring worked for one night but the next night she wanted to add more colors.  The timing of the work is part of the assignment so I can't just let her draw all night. Sitting with her is the only thing that improves her work but the stress of the crying is getting to both of us.  Math has become the bogeyman.
> 60 days ago

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jocasta29
jocasta29 writes:
To Karenmom

I will give it a try and let you know.  Six months ago,we used pictures and items to count. She was doing phenomenally. When we started numbers + 1 she was good.  +2's were fine.  When she started +3 she regressed to the point that she could not do 1 plus anything.   I feel like I am starting from scratch.
> 60 days ago

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EducationWorks Academy
EducationWo... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
Hi Jocasta29:

I completely understand the frustration of trying to get your youngster to complete an assignment. It probably has become such a chore for her because it is difficult. Here's something to try: Use some fun approaches like games as a warm up to reinforce the skill before doing the actual assignment. You can do this about 5 minutes before doing the actual homework assignment. You can also use Cheerios and let her eat some for subtraction (for example) ..Give her 5 Cheerios..have her count them 1 by 1. Write 5 on paper..emphasize "minus" 2..let her count how many left.... when she gets it correct..let her eat the answer! Try the below website for more information..Let me know if the above information helped you.

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jocasta29
jocasta29 writes:
Thank you Education Works Academy.
> 60 days ago

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