Not learning in a Montessori env't - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-25-2008, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi all - I am super frustrated right now, so some of that may come out in the writing of this story. I'll try to keep it both brief and as objective as possible.

Our dd started Montessori at 3. She's at her 3rd school, where she's in her 4th year (4th grade). It's a new classroom for her, and it combines the lower El. classrooms, so there are some significant social changes for her, as well as a big jump in academic expectations.

She refused to learn her multiplication tables last year (3rd grade, which is the state expectation), and is now 1/2 way through 4th grade and still hasn't learned them. I've helped in every way I can, offering her manipulatives (whcih she loses, breaks, or otherwise doesn't use), sitting and playing math games with her ENDLESSLY (I'm not kidding - I know ALL the math games), talking w/her teachers about it, and bringing her awareness to how wonderful it will be/feel for her to have them really memorized. Or even sort of memorized. She doesn't even know her 2x tables!

I'm super fed up.

Super.

We have a big family vaca planned for 2 weeks mid-feb that includes a trip to disney. I've made it clear that she'll come with us no matter what, and that she'll get to do other stuff with us, but that she will not step foot in Disney if she doesn't learn these things. I told her that over a week ago. Not one equation has been memorized. Nothing.

I know, in my head, that this probably means she isn't 'ready' to learn them. However, I need her to do this for other reasons.

1. She is becoming the class dummy, and it is killing her confidence and sense of how wonderful she is because none of the kids want to have her on their math team, because the teacher is keeping her late to work on math and she's missed the bus several times (and there are quite a few kids in her class who are in aftercare, so they all know about what's happening) - it's just causing her a ton of problems in school.

2. She has state exams this March, and the expectation is that she will know all the tables 1-12, and they will be testing OTHER more advanced stuff (2 digit multiplication etc.) and she will bomb because it takes her so long to count it all out.

3. She IS getting further and further behind. It will only get harder to catch up. For real.

She's a bright kid, not genius in anything, but smart enough to do this. I called the school district in when she was in 1st grade and they did an anonymous eval. of her in the classroom and determined that she had no issues. I was concerned that she had some sensory issues, I think she does have some very borderline issues. In the meantime,

WHAT DO I DO???

the trip is edging ever closer, and Im really looking forward to it. Since we are doing disney primarily for her, it'll suck if she can't go in. But it's a symptom of her making bad choices (easy choices lol) over and over and over. She doesn't choose to sit and memorize because it's boring and hard.

The teachers will not take a focused approach to the tables because they just won't. Never have. None, in all of the three schools we've been to, have they helped her to focus in on stuff (esp. math stuff) and put concentration and time into learning something. Sigh.

Did I make a mistake?

Should I pull her from Montessori and try to find someplace that will be more hardlined about learning this stuff? She is not overly thrilled with her school right now, but tbh I can't think that putting her into a public system that is already overburdened with kids who aren't "living up to their potential" is going to help her.

Someone, please offer me some advice that focuses on HOW TO HELP HER SEE THAT SOMETIMES WE DO HAVE TO WORK HARD?!?!

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-26-2008, 12:07 AM
MCR
 
MCR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,396
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ds didn't learn his multiplication tables by heart till 6th grade, I was starting to get worried, he also had no interest and fought me at every turn. I bought the songs on cassette and books etc, no help.
He ended up in a class for 6th grade where the teacher was a total math geek, and he loved everything about math and teaching it.
The day began with everyone writing out all the tables 2-12 every day, they got faster and faster till Ds even knew them by heart. I honestly never thought he'd get it.
He has other issues, no learning problems but some sensory stuff. He didn't learn days of the week in the right order till 5th grade and he was in High school before he got the months in the right order.
I'm so glad he isn't in school with the NCLB going on, he'd never have got out of elementary school.
He's on year two in University now and doing great.
Not sure I'd have banned her from Disney, but that is the kind of thing I would have blurted out in frustration with Ds when he was younger.
My last resort was going to be the local learning center for tutoring.
MCR is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 12:22 AM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That sounds really hard. I apologize if anything I am suggesting sounds stupid and like something you've tried.

I'm not clear whether it's Montessori that's the issue here or not, but I can see that it might be in some ways. I think the first thing to sort out for yourself is are the multiplication tables the sole issue (i.e., if she miraculously knew them tomorrow, would you be okay with that?). Or are you worried overall? Because those are two different issues.

For the multiplication tables... what are the consequences of failing the state exam? Because it seems to me that might be the best experience for her, if it won't hold her back forever and ever. At some point in the future, like when she is 15 or 20, exams are going to be her responsibility. I realize it feels really early to turn that over now at this age. But the consequences might be LESS serious now.

I myself would revoke the Disney clause. I think it is only going to damage your relationship with your daughter, and possibly damage your daughter's relationship to mathematics forever because they will be the reason she missed Disney, you know? However, I myself would say "okay, I have decided after MUCH thought that we are not going to do that in this family. But that is how worried I am about your times tables, so in return, could you please help me and come up with a way we can help you learn them?" Maybe she will come up with something brilliant and creative on her own, and maybe she won't. But honestly I just don't think that this is going to get the job done, and letting her see your honest struggle with it may re-open her mind to the idea that this math thing IS really important.

Just some ideas. Hope it goes ok whatever you do.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:43 AM
 
mamatoady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,904
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I too would revoke that Disney clause...I don't believe children in school should be kept from recess because they act up or don't do their homework and I don't think kids should be excluded from family vacations because they won't/can't memorize something...she needs/wants that vacation as much as the rest of the family.

my other thought is...does she have a firm grasp on math concepts (does she understand 2 x 2, even if she doesn't have it memorized) and can she/does she memorize other things with ease or does she have difficulty.

If you wonder, have her memorize a short poem and see how long it takes her to do it. I remember being able to memorize the times tables pretty easily in 3rd grade, but in 7th grade I couldn't memorize the order and names of presidents for anything.

Does she need tricks to learn them? Does she need to hear them to music? is she very physical? does she need to jump on a trampoline while you drill her?

just some thoughts.
sarah

Mama to girl (11), boy (7) and girl (4).  "Can't we all just get along?" joy.gif
mamatoady is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:50 AM
 
alegna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As someone who has a brain that *DOES NOT* memorize I would be SO angry and frustrated to be in your dd's shoes. :

I agree- the clause is not appropriate and should be revoked.

She needs ownership of this issue. You need to take a step back. As long as it is YOUR issue, she is not going to take the initiative.

-Angela
alegna is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 02:07 AM
 
karne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wondering...you said you had your dtr. anom. tested in 1st. grade with no issues identified, but I wonder if further testing might reveal something. I know there can be subtle learning challenges that manifest themselves only as time in school goes on, and something more in depth might rule out any issues of learning differences. I know with my own child she was unable to really learn well in one setting and methodology, but when we changed schools and had teachers who were able to incorporate different teaching methodologies and not be wedded to any dogma, things really started turning around. We also learned first hand that some learning differences can fly under the rader for awhile and really require a pro a investigate. Just my thoughts...good luck!
karne is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
MCR - THANK YOU. I guess I was feeling very alone in all this. I appreciate your hand in friendship and your empathy. The frustration and anger in me is obviously about my own stuff (and my hormones lol), but it's so nice to know that others have gotten through this kind of hard issue and not lost connection with their dc. He sounds like a wonderful (if hard-headed) young man! Well done!

GuildJenn - THANKS to you too!! You brought some really big issues up that I hadn't given much time to (because other issues were clouding the way, perhaps - it's so great to have rational people to discuss this stuff with!!!), and I will be sure to give it more time in the next couple of days. I don't think the exam results at this age are that dramatic, it's not really a pass/fail kind of test I don't think - more of an assessment of what's been learned in a % vs. state average kind of way. Failure means she has failed to learn it according to their average, their questions, etc. In general I think these exams need to be taken (by the parents, at least) with a nice big grain of salt. But I also think there is a grain of truth to them, even if they are not especially accurate. I don't think not doing well on them will be any more of a motivation to her than all the other stuff going on inside the classroom, socially and academically. I dunno - I've got no crystal ball - but I kinda doubt it would magically give her a sense of responsibility for learning.

And I think, at least in part, this IS about her taking responsibility and learning stuff. Learning how to take care of herself (vitamins, nutrition, etc.), how to give thanks to those who are kind to us (not a perfunctory thank you, but eye contact, etc.), learning school work, learning domestic skills. She just doesn't want to grow up and have more responsibility, and that scares me a lot. I feel very nervous that I have somehow failed to give her something important in raising her, and she therefore chooses the easiest possible avenue every single time. Not necessarily a path of least resistance, either (as this well shows!), just 'easy' vs. having to do something that is hard for her. A different example might be that she LOVES to rock climb - bouldering, indoor climbing etc. But she will NOT do lateral climbs, and refuses to do any climb that challenges her. It's clearly not fear, she's climbed over 60 feet - but the climb itself was easy. No big reaches, nothing challenging in that way. She takes aikido and loves it, but NEVER practices, so she's about 2 stripes/belts behind the kids she started with (the other kids are 2stripe blue belts and she's a 2stripe yellow belt now), but she really does love it. She goes 2x a week, enjoys the kids, the sensai, and progress, etc. But will NOT practice. And the sensai has spoken to her about it, that she will move more slowly because he can tell she isn't practicing etc. Most of those kids are figuring out ways to improve and practice on their own, she just chooses not to. I told her when she started that for me just her going and being willing to learn was totally fine - and that if she decided at some point that she didn't like it and wanted to stop that would be ok with me. So I don't think it's about me at all - but it's relatively easy for her to show up to class and do the moves with a low level of mastery - because she's smart and strong and agile - but she is way WAY slower to master new moves because she chooses to wait until the next class to practice. And the class keeps moving on! I think she just is very willful and when she likes something she likes it, and will do it happily (but not necessarily practice) and when she doesn't like something enough, she just refuses it altogether.

You are both right, and it's not news to me, that giving her any kind of ultimatum is not going to work - not her style firstly, and not productive in the long term, secondly. But giving her ownership of it doesn't seem to have worked either. At the end of last year, after getting her half a dozen different manipulatives at a significant cost to our limited budget, spending a ton of time with her on them, and generally doing things her way, it's gotten us no closer. Well, I shouldn't say NO closer - she knows her 10x tables and some of the 5x tables and the 11's. She knew them last year too. I guess I was really hoping that something would click in her brain that would make learning these less torturous, and that doesn't seem to be happening at ALL.

There are some things I am in general not happy about w/her choices in other subjects, but overall I am SO thrilled with her as a person, as a daughter, as a child, she is often incredibly kind, empathetic, a delight to have around, a fun and generally easy friend, and wonderful partner watching fun movies, reading aloud, playing games (though anything requiring concentration like, say, monopoly, scrabble jr., etc. are not a lot of fun w/her), etc. She's loved by so many people because she is so fun and bright - really all she wants is to play play play!

And there is the rub. Sometimes she's just gotta buckle down and learn, and she just doesn't want to. When I asked her to go to her room (where it was reasonably quiet w/2 three yo's running amock downstairs) about an hour after she was home from school to start on the FOUR equations (6x7,8x8, 4x8 and 7x8) we had agreed (SHE had suggested) she learn today, she did go to her room, pulled out paper dolls and played for 30 min. When I went to check ('cause 30 min is a long time for her to be up there w/out popping back downstairs) and saw she was playing I got mad. I may have been better off NOT getting mad, but it seems to push a button for me that she has no desire to learn this stuff. She really doesn't. But she IS very upset at the label the other children at school have given her. But she won't learn it. But she doesn't like being the class dummy. But she won't learn it. But she doesn't like getting being the last picked for math teams, but she won't learn it... bad cycle she's in. Allowing her to own it is not getting her ANYwhere.

Mamatoady, she has memorized lots of things, including some fairly long passages, loads of song lyrics, the girl scout promise and law, and lines for plays. She cold recite 1-100 forward and backwards at about 3.5, and has no trouble sequencing. She CAN multiply by counting or using manipulatives. It's just too slow for doing more advanced stuff, which is where she has to get to in order to stop the bad feelings she is getting from her peers. They aren't name calling in front of any teachers, or anything like that, but there are loads of subtle ways kids have to make another kid feel dumb, out of it, etc.

She is very bouncy, and moves a lot. No one is telling her to literally SIT and learn this stuff. Whatever she needs to do she can do. She's had 6 teachers over the past year and a half work with her in their Montessori sort of ways on the tables, and none of them have hit on her 'thing', if there is one. None of them, however, have EVER made her sit down and write them out and write them out... that's just not the Montessori way. kwim? So THAT's the connection that I'm worried about - is the method causing part of the problem? If she were in a more regimented program, would it actually help her? Create firmer boundaries with both assistance and consequences? I don't know. We've not really explored it much.

Karne, it's possible we will look further into this. I don't know that they will peg her at this time, but she's getting further behind by the month now. I have no need or expectation that she be the head of the class, but the average kid in her class is quite a bit further along (according to her teacher) than she is, and he's concerned and frustrated as well. So maybe he'd be a more willing teacher in the eval. process. I found her 1st grade teachers not especially helpful in that regard. It's a great suggestion, and one I'd tabled last year for some reason - maybe frustration w/her teacher? In general she's not behind, just in maths and just in memorizing these stupid tables. She totally gets how to do the math, so can do long division (though it takes her some time), basic fractions and weights/measures. None of it is what I'd call EASY for her, but she does understand the concepts. Maybe there is something else going on that some good tutoring or OT or something would help resolve for her.?? I think I gave up thinking there is a simple (though probably not easy) fix to all this...sigh.

Angela, I found your comments lacking any wisdom or help at all. If ever I am looking for negative comments, though, I will be sure to look you up!

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 03:47 AM
 
alegna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabeca View Post
Angela, I found your comments lacking any wisdom or help at all. If ever I am looking for negative comments, though, I will be sure to look you up!
I am truly sorry you got nothing from my comments. Your stance causes me a great deal of pain because in many ways I was a very similar student to your daughter. My mother did not understand at all and it created a deep rift between us that took many years to begin to heal.

You speak of all your daughter's strengths and shining points. Focus on those.

She sounds like a bright young lady who does not take well to anyone attempting to *force* her learning. I can't say I blame her.

This is her issue. At some point she must decide to take ownership of her own learning. 4th grade is a common time/age when that begins to happen.

Frankly, as a student, there were many times I *chose* not to work hard. This is a valid choice. Perhaps not a popular one. But a valid one. I had the ability to work and did when it was something important to me.

Your daughter WILL find her motivation. Fighting her on this will simply drive a wedge between you. No person can FORCE another person to learn or to work no matter how they wish to.

-Angela
alegna is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 05:04 AM
 
snowyowl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My daughter has had a bit of a similar experience with math. Montessori does such a good job of teaching higher math concepts so that the kids really get how math works and why, which is something they will need for advanced math down the road, but because they don't do drills the way many of us did, some Montessori kids tend to be slower on the actual mechanics of math. Things that have helped us are the site http://www.thatquiz.org/ and, of all things, Webkinz.
snowyowl is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 05:32 AM
 
RomanGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Across the pond
Posts: 1,996
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In Angela's defence, I think what she is trying to say is that as long as your DD considers her knowledge of multiplication to be YOUR issue, she will not consider it HER problem (sorry if I am putting words in your mouth, Angela). It might be worthwhile leaving the issue alone until she realises for herself that being the class dummy is not so nice and develops some inner motivation to learn the stuff.

Other than that, you could try KUMON. I have seen that program work wonders.

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
RomanGoddess is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 05:51 AM
 
Benji'sMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3,971
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabeca View Post
None of them, however, have EVER made her sit down and write them out and write them out... that's just not the Montessori way. kwim? So THAT's the connection that I'm worried about - is the method causing part of the problem? If she were in a more regimented program, would it actually help her? Create firmer boundaries with both assistance and consequences? I don't know. We've not really explored it much.
My teacher (regular school, not a Montessori school) never made any of us write times tables out either, so I'm not sure you can necessarily find a teacher who does that. Of course some probably do but not all teachers teach that way, whether they are teaching Montessori style or not. Actually I just remember having to learn them on my own, we were tested on them but not drilled in class at all.

Single mom of 2 boys
Benji'sMom is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
My teacher (regular school, not a Montessori school) never made any of us write times tables out either, so I'm not sure you can necessarily find a teacher who does that. Of course some probably do but not all teachers teach that way, whether they are teaching Montessori style or not. Actually I just remember having to learn them on my own, we were tested on them but not drilled in class at all.
This was my exp. too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RomanGoddess
In Angela's defence, I think what she is trying to say is that as long as your DD considers her knowledge of multiplication to be YOUR issue, she will not consider it HER problem (sorry if I am putting words in your mouth, Angela). It might be worthwhile leaving the issue alone until she realises for herself that being the class dummy is not so nice and develops some inner motivation to learn the stuff.
I get it. I don't like it - and I REALLY don't like the way she said it, but I get it.

Snowyowl - thanks, mama. I think my worry about her staying in the M env't is that this will cascade into a BIG math problem later. despite some people feeling it's ok to feel lazy about school work, that isn't the work ethic our family has at all. We simply don't value it, because those decisions have a tendency to spill over into other stuff - like spending all day on things that are fun, rather than doing the hard work of daily chores. The chores build up and can become really problematic - dirty bathrooms aside, if you don't clean things once in a while the hygiene of a household really starts to suffer. kwim? So although I want to believe that this is not symptomatic of my dd making bad choices, I believe it IS symptomatic of just that. She consistently takes the choice of cowardice, even if the fallout is heavy. At some point, I'd like her to have the option to do things with her life - a Master's degree, build a business, work overseas, even raise a family of her own. But all these things take a lot of work. Hard, consistent work. There is nothing easy about any of the choices in life that bring us (and the ones we love) pride and fulfillment. I kinda doubt that at 18 or 28 or whenever, that she'll magically begin to think differently. I believe this is something that we help her learn using small steps - memorize 2 new equations a day every day kind of thing - and that she will see that big tasks can be broken down into manageable tasks quite easily. I think of this as part of my job, and tossing the whole thing onto her own 9yo plate and walking away isn't going to do her any favors.

Knowing in my heart of hearts that the 10k we spend every year on her education IS going to give her a strong foundation in all her subjects is huge - really really huge. Thanks for the reminder. I see her walking the same horrible path I walked, including choosing not to learn my multiplication tables until late in the game, and it contributed to some really harsh emotional 'lessons' later on. REALLY harsh. They cost me way more than I was prepared for when I made the decisions, I'll tell you that! I didn't have that foundation, though, and I didn't have much self-esteem after being the class dummy for a bunch of years. : In any case, I appreciate your kind reminder and I appreciate your input.

She and I had some quiet time this morning and we talked about why I was so angry with her, and what she could do to remedy the situation for herself. I was as honest as I thought she could handle, and I think we made some good progress. Knowing something is hard work doesn't mean you don't get to do it. No hot tub on earth gets put in easily. No roller coaster evolved out of thin air. It takes hard work from a lot of people, and if some of us are shirkers, it makes more work for others. Especially in a day and age of scarce resources, and we need all the creative, hard working thinkers we can muster, it seems to be a failure by parents not to help their kids get to where they don't fear hard work, and are wanting to be part of something wonderful, big, and historic. Their part may be small, but the picture is made up of a billion billion small parts, right!?! So - as GuildJenn said, I think there are other issues at stake here, and I'm wondering how to get her to see those other issues INSIDE of her Montessori education, or if, perhaps, this style of education isn't GOING to help her get over this hump. I think, SnowyOwl, you helped me to see that hopefully she DOES have the foundation, and now she needs to find more motivation within. Frustrating as that may be for me, I think it's going to be something that is further and further out of my hands. Letting go is hard.

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
Old 01-26-2008, 03:40 PM
 
Kushali's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was a Montessori kid and didn't learn my math facts till middle school. It drove my mother nuts, she couldn't fathom how I was able to do multi-digit multiplication, decimals, fractions, and geometry without knowing my times tables. I just thought she was crazy, after all I was doing all those things with the checkerboard and bead frame. Further, my teacher didn't seem to care one iota and so what my mom was saying seemed completely non-sensical.

In the end there was no magic ah-ha moment. In 6th grade we did prime factorization, multiples, least common multiple, great common factor and some beginning algebra. All of a sudden I needed the math facts and so they started to stick in my brain. I'd figure the same table out 5 times and eventually it would stick.

I have a Bachelor of Science now so I don't think it mattered in the long term. I remember joking around in college that real math didn't use numbers anyway. Apparently I wasn't the only engineer who hadn't learned my tables in 4th grade.

I understand your frustration but I empathize with your daughter. You said she likes to move, has anyone showed her how to calculate the 9s with her hands? There's a video here showing the technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oamy8L2lDZM this webpage also shows it http://adler-and-subtract.com/assets...qa_fingers.htm . I learned my 3s selling Girl Scout cookies for 3 dollars a box. I know they have gone up in price now, but handling money in real situations can be a great motivator for struggling math students.
Kushali is offline  
Old 01-27-2008, 09:19 PM
 
honeybee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: West MI
Posts: 2,899
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know you are really worried about your dd and some of the things your are seeing. But maybe stepping back and looking at them from a different perspective would help. There are a lot of attributes that can look like one characteristic, but really be about something else entirely.

For instance, "laziness" or "cowardice" (yikes, that's a really harsh term for a 4th grader!), or always taking the "less difficult" route are probably not really those things at all. She may just have a different- but equally valid- way of experiencing the world.

She could be a discouraged perfectionist... it seems so impossible to do something "right" and up to her standards that it is better to avoid doing them at all rather than to try and fail. As a teacher, I saw this all the time. Students would much rather act as if they don't care about something than risk trying something and failing at it and thus being labeled "dumb." Your dd may truly have some sort of different learning style that makes memorizing particularly difficult. Or, she may just believe that she can't do it. The result is pretty much the same. Putting a lot of time and focus on her weaknesses will only make this pattern worse. You need to build on her strengths. Maybe back off on the multiplication tables for a month or so until it is no longer a hot button and then try some small steps towards learning them? Concentrate on one thing only like the 2 tables so it is not so overwhelming. And make sure she knows you will love her and do things with her and she will always be part of the family whether she ever learns her multiplication tables or not.

You also said you thought she might have sensory issues... is it possible you have a Highly Sensitive Child? This would not necessarily come up in an evaluation, because it is a temperament style, not a disorder. It is a version of normal, just a minority of the population.

I'm currently reading the book called The Highly Sensitive Child because I think my ds is one, and one of the characteristics is they have very strong "pause and look" impulse. It takes them time to get used to the idea of something new or taking on a challenge, and forcing them into it is very counterproductive. I'm starting to realize that what seems like it should be a non-issue (using the potty at age 4!), and has been a huge struggle, is not really due to ds being obstinate or stubborn. He just truly has sensory issues around using the potty that he needs time to gradually come to terms with. I don't really understand what those issues are (shouldn't he prefer the cleanliness/non-mess to the blisters and diaper rash he gets when he poops in his pants?), but I have come to realize they are VERY REAL to him. He is not making them up or just being difficult. Now I feel really bad about all the yelling/blaming/pleading I've done in frustration with him over this issue when what he really needs is my patience and empathy.

Or, she may not be a HSC, but you and she could just have different temperament styles. You see the world one way, and she experiences it differently. I really beileve she is making these choices as some sort of coping mechanism as her own temperament style comes into conflict with the expectations of the world, kwim? I think valuing hard work and following through on your responsibilities is a wonderful family ethic to pass down to our children. But the best way to pass on those values is to first respect/understand where our child is coming from and use the techniques that are best suited to their own unique learning style/temperament.

Melissa crochetsmilie.gif, wife to Tom geek.gif, mom to The Baron modifiedartist.gif, the Bean superhero.gif, Little Bear diaper.gif, and Baby Beaver babyboy.gif
honeybee is offline  
Old 01-27-2008, 09:42 PM
 
honeybee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: West MI
Posts: 2,899
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabeca View Post
She and I had some quiet time this morning and we talked about why I was so angry with her, and what she could do to remedy the situation for herself. I was as honest as I thought she could handle, and I think we made some good progress. Knowing something is hard work doesn't mean you don't get to do it. No hot tub on earth gets put in easily. No roller coaster evolved out of thin air. It takes hard work from a lot of people, and if some of us are shirkers, it makes more work for others. Especially in a day and age of scarce resources, and we need all the creative, hard working thinkers we can muster, it seems to be a failure by parents not to help their kids get to where they don't fear hard work, and are wanting to be part of something wonderful, big, and historic. Their part may be small, but the picture is made up of a billion billion small parts, right!?! So - as GuildJenn said, I think there are other issues at stake here, and I'm wondering how to get her to see those other issues INSIDE of her Montessori education, or if, perhaps, this style of education isn't GOING to help her get over this hump. I think, SnowyOwl, you helped me to see that hopefully she DOES have the foundation, and now she needs to find more motivation within. Frustrating as that may be for me, I think it's going to be something that is further and further out of my hands. Letting go is hard.
I have 2 more comments.

First, your anger is YOUR responsibility. You own it. Your dd did not "cause" it. You chose to become angry. Perhaps you did not mean it the way it sounded in your post but to say "we talked about why I was so angry with her, and what she could do to remedy the situation for herself" makes it sound like she is responsible for how you react. This is a lot of pressure to put on a child and if she is Highly Sensitive Child, she probably already believes she is responsible for everyone's emotions. I fall into this trap myself sometimes, and I hear it from my dh a lot, too. So, I'm really not trying to be critical, just sharing something I've also been working on as a parent. I get angry a lot and I might say "You make me so angry" but later I try to go back and reverse that. I always have control over how I react. I try to go back and say why a particular action is unacceptable/hurtful/etc. and then I apologize for my anger... and I try to leave off the "but". Saying, "I am sorry for getting angry but you...." is still foisting the blame (I keep trying to get this through to dh, too!).

Second... I appreciate what you are saying about hard work.. But you know, Einstein was considered a shirker in school. In order for society to get ahead and for things to get done, it takes all different kinds of people. It takes hard work, yes, but it also takes visionaries. It takes people who are going to step back and think things through. While they are observing/thinking, others might label them "shirkers" but there is really a lot of stuff happening inside... and those personality types often will get a lot more done once they actually start to work because they have thought through all the potential pitfalls and problems ahead of time. Just food for thought.

Melissa crochetsmilie.gif, wife to Tom geek.gif, mom to The Baron modifiedartist.gif, the Bean superhero.gif, Little Bear diaper.gif, and Baby Beaver babyboy.gif
honeybee is offline  
Old 01-27-2008, 09:46 PM
 
MomToKandE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,995
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not sure what to say about your dd, I'm just going to share my experience.

I attended a private school from 1st-4th grade. It wasn't straight Montessori but used a lot of those ideas and was big on letting the kids learn at their own pace.

It was a great idea but it was totally the wrong environment for me. I struggled and was always behind.

We moved when I was in 5th grade and I transferred to a traditionally structured public school. After getting past the initial shock of the transition I did MUCH better. It wasn't that my old school was bad, it just wasn't right for me.

Mom to (5) (9)
MomToKandE is offline  
Old 01-27-2008, 11:57 PM
 
3girlmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 132
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I totally understand and empathize with your situation! I have a child who also hasn't yet decided to push herself out of her comfort zone, and it can be very frustrating to watch her settle for less than she's capable of. This may seem incredibly stupid, but has she filled out a multiplication table at home? I construct one for my daughter every week and she fills it out (she attended a Montessori children's house, and now we hs). I think that when kids see a multiplication table all at once they can start to get a sense of the patterns, ie, what happens with the nines, where the "square" numbers are located, etc. It's easy for her to figure out the answers when she can locate the patterns and see what comes before and after. I make hers big, on a big piece of drawing paper, so it really looks like she's done something impressive when it's finished.

We do a fair amount of TWTM stuff, and they come down hard in favor of math tables. I don't agree with everything they say, but I agree with them on that. Sometimes my daughter gets frustrated with math, but what I say to her is that the great thing about math is that there's always a right answer. Once we've found that right answer, we're done.

Good luck!
3girlmom is offline  
Old 01-28-2008, 01:04 AM
 
LilyGrace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,244
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
mamabeca, just another point of view here. I'm one of those people that hates to be watched when I do something, or even have people know that I'm doing it unless I tell them. I would rather not do it than have an audience, especially if it's something as private and (sometime embarrassing) as learning a new skill is. And the harder I'm pushed, the more I will balk until I can do it on my terms without pressure. It drove my mother nuts when I was I child since I'd would rather be grounded to my room for a week than clean it, then clean it two weeks later in the middle of the night. I couldn't articulate the shyness and embarrassment I felt back then so it made it even more difficult.
As an adult I've mostly outgrown it, but still when I feel pushed into a corner my way of dealing with it is to push back until things are calmer and I feel more in control of the situation. Not healthy, I know, but it's something I've been able to identify and work on.
LilyGrace is offline  
Old 01-28-2008, 04:38 PM
 
3girlmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 132
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Someone just sent me the link to this free game that teaches the multiplcation tables....

http://www.bigbrainz.com/index.php

And I also wanted to add that I agree with you that there is a place to say to your child that the time has come to do something, like learn multiplication, now, and that there will be a consequence for not doing so. I support that 110%. The only thing I might add to that would be that you are eager to do whatever you can to help her be able to go to Disney, and you will be so disappointed and sad if you aren't able to go, so what can you do to help.
3girlmom is offline  
Old 01-28-2008, 05:53 PM
 
beachmouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If she's good at learning songs, try digging up some of the Multiplication Rock songs from Schoolhouse Rock. The entire SR series got its start when one of the musicians/producers got thinking about how his child was having a hard time memorizing times tables, but could sing along to every Beatles song known to man.

So they started writing math songs, and then sold them and the cartoons to ABC, which was looking at ways of complying with education requirements for Saturday morning programming at the time.
beachmouse is offline  
Old 01-29-2008, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Beachmouse - we have those! I should dig them up! D'uh that I didn't think of that before!!! Thanks!

Yeah, I get that she may someday just KNOW these tables, but I seriously feel that SHE needs a ton of practice. I will, I think, go with the big paper multiplication chart - I think that's a great idea! I think she'll like doing it, too. I'm not sure if it'll work, for she seems to need stuff in smaller bites, but I think it's a great way for her to see the patterns, as you said. Thanks for that too!

And yes, I do remind her that there is an end in sight - the start of every math problem is also the beginning of the end to that problem. YAY!

I can't tell you guys how much I appreciate all your input! Thank you! :

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
Old 02-01-2008, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
3girlmom

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

She LOVES that game and is whipping through the times tables!!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!

Can you tell how thrilled I am? She is motivated and is having fun and really learning a LOT. YOU ROCK mama! Can't say it enough. THANK YOU!!!

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
Old 02-03-2008, 11:54 AM
 
Lillianna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 761
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm sorry to say I haven't read through the entire thread
just a couple quick thoughts:
I'm not sure about your experience. At some point (op) posted that in Montessori, she was never expected to write her times table out. Did she ever work with the multiplication board, practice charts or on the bead frames? All of these materials involve writing out multiplication equations. The child is also encouraged to read them out loud to other classmates. These are materials used in the children's house. In elem, there are other materials used to bridge the gap to using multiplication abstractly. There is some concern that her experience was so segmented (with all the different schools and teachers) maybe she never had these presentations.

Many children do not like rote memorization. Similar to pp, I would encourage you to find ways to give her a purpose in memorizing mult. tables. Maybe when she has some reason to know these facts, she will be motivated to do it.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
Lillianna is offline  
Old 02-03-2008, 10:52 PM
 
3girlmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 132
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hey thanks, I'm glad that's useful for her. I hope she enjoys Disney World!
3girlmom is offline  
Old 02-04-2008, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamabeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,085
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh I'm quite sure she will! Thanks again, I've been passing along their website, too. LOTS of people I know will benefit from it (and so will their children lol!).

take care!

andy

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
mamabeca is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off