If you have a child or student who struggles with math computation, then it can be a battle! All too often, our right-brain dominant students have such a hard time with math when a few simple adjustments can make a huge difference!
These are our creative, whole-picture thinkers who have a lot to offer, but the precision of math can set them into a tizzy! Following are some tips to help with the math battles you might be having. 1. Use colored pencils for computation. They have colored pencils with erasers available so if a mistake is made, then it's no big deal to erase it. Color helps to keep the right side of the brain "busy" so the left side of the brain can engage in bit-by-bit thinking, logic, and reasoning.
2. When showing your children how to perform various steps of a math problem, use different colors. For instance, if you are modeling how to regroup, you can do the original problem in red, the crossing out in blue, and the regrouping in purple. Then when they do their problems independently, they can use the same colors that you did. You wouldn't believe how much this one little "trick" helps them reach the correct answer. 3. Let your child use graph paper with huge squares to write their problems in. All too often, kids have a hard time lining up math problems even if they know the answer, and this prevents them from succeeding. Once there is a square to put the numbers in, it takes one step off the student. As the child gets better, you can decrease the size of the squares.
4. Sometimes, it helps to do just the opposite and use completely blank paper for your child, depending on what's going on. For some kids, especially those with dyslexia, the lines and boxes on notebook paper or graph paper are a distraction and they do better with nothing at all to "get in their way". You'll have to experiment to see what works for your learner.
5. Use story characters whenever possible. For instance, when I teach kids how to regroup with subtraction, I will introduce the "old lady" and the "young girl". The "young girl" has to go next door and borrow from the "old lady" because she doesn't have enough. You can make up whatever you want, but kids get really involved when there is a story and characters. The stories, of course, keep the right-brain dominant child entertained, focused, and actively involved. Even better, this takes the drudgery and monotony out of math computation.
As you can see, there are many fun things you can do to make math more interesting for your unique learner!