As we are getting into that back-to-school time, I wanted to talk about one subject that can be challenging for many children, but can be particularly tricky for a lot of differently wired kids. Yes that’s right … I’m talking about math. If you are a long time listener of the podcast, you may recall that a few years ago, the order of operations and Asher’s refusal to respect it due to its arbitrariness nearly shut down our homeschool for several weeks, so complications surrounding math and differently wired kids is a conversation that is near to my heart. If your child struggles in any way with math—whether with perfectionism, making sloppy mistakes, struggling to memorize math facts, getting stressed out to timed math exercises and more—you will definitely get a lot out of this episode.
To break it all down for us, I brought on the show Adrianne Meldrum, founder of Math for Middles, a virtual tutoring business whose coaches have training in multisensory math techniques and special training that helps them work confidently with middle school math students who have diagnosed and undiagnosed learning differences. Adrianne has experience working with students who struggle with executive functioning, ADD, dyslexia, poor working memory problems, and autism, and in our conversation, she’ll explain why certain math concepts can be challenging for these kids and give us strategies for where to start to support the kind of learner our child is.
About Adrianne:Adrianne Meldrum is the owner of Made for Math, an all online math tutorial center specializing in helping Differently Wired middle schoolers do better in math and possibly even joy! She is a certified teacher with over a decade of experience tutoring middle and high school students in math, and she received training from ASDEC.org in Multisensory Math 1 & 2.
Adrianne has seen up close how using multisensory math techniques with her students leads to more confidence, higher grades, but also a rooted understanding of how math works. Her goal is to bring multisensory math to as many struggling students as possible.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Why the middle school years can be so tricky when it comes to math for many kids who learn differently
- The challenges in the current system surrounding ensuring kids are on track with math
- The connection between some ways of being differently wired and specific math skills
- What multisensory math is
- What kinds of common challenges differently wired kids may experience that impact math, including anxiety, executive functioning challenges, perfectionism, and more
- Adrianne’s thoughts on our kids using support items and resources like calculators, math facts, graphic organizers, etc.
- What should our goals be for our kids’ math skills?
- How to help a child shift mindset around math beliefs (such as “I should do all my math in my head)
- The value respecting a child’s own way of solving certain math problems
- What kinds of things parents can push for when working with the school to design an IEP or 504
- What Adrianne thinks about worksheets and math drills in the form of homework (hint: fewer math problems is better overall)
- How to prevent our own intensity from interfering with our child’s stuckness regarding math
- Strategies for helping our kids shift into “math mode”
- Made for Math (Adrianne’s website)
- Math Class Needs a Makeover (TEDx talk by Dan Myers)
- Joan Boaler (Stanford University)
- Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years by Michelle Icard
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