Last night was open house at the kids' school...got to meet Mackenzie and Michael's math teachers (which, for some odd reason, seems to be the subject posing the biggest problem for each of them). Felt much better after talking to them.
Michael's biggest problem, I believe, is just that he's easily distracted -- and never before has he had the slightest problem with math. Distraction didn't use to prevent him from nailing A's; now (maybe) they do. Still, he's gotten mucho betterer in the last week, and his teacher didn't seem too concerned (although, admittedly, last night was Open House, not Parent/Teacher Conference).
Mackenzie's math teacher seems very nice too, and she didn't seem too worried about Mackenzie's occasional inability to grasp things. Neither am I, frankly. What does
concern me is the way she will sometimes (like, um, the last two nights (more on that in a bit)) just shut down her brain when she doesn't quite get something. She knows she isn't getting point D, but when you try to back her up to point A and walk her through the steps to D, she simply cries "I don't get it", and has a hard time getting through the steps.
Last night (and the night before), she was having trouble with circle graphs. So, I tried to make sure she understood the basic concept of percentages....but she claimed to be lost by them. So, I backed up and tried to make sure she understood basic fractions -- you know, "what is one fourth of eight?". She claimed not to know....and proceeded to throw another homework tantrum.
I let her do it for about 15 minutes, then I made
her sit down next to me and do each step....translating "one fourth of eight" into 1/4 X 8 into 1/4 X 8/1....after a few of those, we translated those into .25 X 8....then we translated .25 into "25 percent"....then translated "25 percent" into .25....and finally, translated a circle graph statement of "68 percent" = .68 X 360 to calculate the degrees of angle.
She did each step no problem (and, obviously, she knew (most of) the steps already)...but I was just trying to find a way to make her break through that give-up-mentality. Remains to be seen if it'll help tonight, but at least last night got her through.