Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Mathlete: An Update

Thanks so much to everyone who expressed their concern, well-wishes, advice and commiseration after I wrote about Marissa's struggles with math.

I can give you a couple of updates.

I learned a whole lot about the resources available at our school, or the lack thereof. While we could never afford private schools, I was encouraged to try to open enroll her to Edina or St. Louis Park school districts, both of which seem to have no issue finding resources to give a little extra help to students who need it. Still on the table, but not thrilled with a school change for her, away from friends, and the extra complexity that having kids in two different school systems would bring to our family.

We learned that Marissa is not a terribly attentive student. Her math teacher this year has let us know that her number one goal for Marissa is to pay attention in class. When we talked to Marissa about focusing and listening to the teacher, she said that her friends would get upset with her for not talking with them. We told her that she should tell her friends that her parents will be even MORE upset if she doesn't pay attention, and that they should probably be listening, too. I can only imagine the amount of chatter that happens in the classroom.

Because of this, we know that changing teachers mid-year this year probably won't help. It's not the teacher, it's her lack of focus. We considered whether or not she had ADD. After reviewing the questionnaire for the disorder and talking to her teachers, we decided not to put her through the testing because the chances are so slim that this was the case. Bottom line, she's a social, lovable, happy little girl who would rather spend time with her friends than listen in class.

Mathnasium rocks and is an incredible resource. Marissa loves to go there, loves to work with the various tutors and enjoys the little rewards they get along the way. They started her with 1st grade math, which she has nearly completed after 2 months. She'll be starting on the 2nd grade math curriculum probably mid-winter, and if she continues with Mathnasium through the summer, she'll be ready to start the 3rd grade curriculum next fall...just as she enters 4th grade.

We are incredibly frustrated that she has fallen this far behind and it was on no one's radar but our own.

But she is plugging along. We have noticed considerable improvement in her math skills, and less resistance to doing homework in general, though she still has her moments. She likes to show off her math skills now by writing word problems in her math notebook, which you will find in her hands nearly every evening, making up problems like...

If Daddy had 3,546 jelly beans and he gave 1,252 to Marissa and none to Mommy or Lindsey, how many jelly beans would he have left?

The answer: 2,294, until Mommy stole and bunch and then he had none. (She knows me pretty well.)

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