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Handwriting and Math Difficulties

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    Handwriting and Math Difficulties

    So A is struggling with his handwriting. Overall it is pretty bad, but legible, but writing numbers in his math book is very difficult to read. I've attached a couple pictures. I think it is affecting his ability to get problems correct in triple digit subtraction with borrowing. He's doing R&S 3. He has absolutely no problem with math facts, the issue is writing the numbers legibly both in the top row and the answer row. I think he's having difficulty reading what he has written when he goes back to subtract.

    The steps he is supposed to do are:
    1) Use a colored pencil to circle the greater number in the ones and tens place.
    2) If the greater number is not at the top, borrow back, writing the new number above the number he's crossed off.
    3) Subtract.

    He likes to do a whole row of circling and borrowing and then do all the subtraction, but I'm thinking that this might be contributing to the problem. I also let him do his work in his room, and I'm thinking it may need to be at the elbow again.

    I supposed I need to have him do number writing practice, any suggestions for that? Just use startwrite? Or should I have him try to copy problems from the book to his paper? I worry that would lead to more errors.

    Overall, his handwriting needs more work. I've just started spreading the actual writing in his copybook out over the week and really making him do the best he can on the few words he has to write. I waver between thinking he needs to increase the quantity of written work or just increase the quality and raise expectations.

    I would love thoughts and advice. Thanks.
    Attached Files
    Susan

    2018-2019
    A (10) - Barton, R&S math 3, SC 3
    C (9) - Barton, R&S math 2, SC 3
    G (5) - Simply Classical C

    #2
    Re: Handwriting and Math Difficulties

    One of my sons has papers that look like this when he’s rushing through his work. The “streamlining” trick your son uses makes me think that he’s bothered by the amount of time things take. Couple that with any pencil grip or muscle tone or sensory issues (my son has these) and handwriting will be an uphill battle.

    If you can find out the reason(s) for his rushing, and address those, it may help a lot of his handwriting challenges, or at least get him to a place where your handwriting interventions can be more effective.

    ETA: My 9yo ds gets thrown off by things that ask him to color code while he’s writing (like MP 1’s color-coded spelling words). It’s too many steps for him to process. Maybe your son is getting thrown off by the circling step in math? That would also explain his attempt at streamlining the process — trying to make it so he only has to focus on one step at a time.
    Last edited by jen1134; 11-29-2017, 09:51 PM.
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    DS16
    MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
    MPOA: High School Comp. II
    HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

    DS15
    MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
    MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
    HSC: Modern European History

    DS12
    7M with:
    Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

    DS11
    SC Level 4

    DD9
    3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

    DD7/8
    Still in SC Level 2

    DD 4/5
    SC Level C

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Handwriting and Math Difficulties

      Originally posted by sfhargett View Post
      So A is struggling with his handwriting. Overall it is pretty bad, but legible, but writing numbers in his math book is very difficult to read. I've attached a couple pictures. I think it is affecting his ability to get problems correct in triple digit subtraction with borrowing. He's doing R&S 3. He has absolutely no problem with math facts, the issue is writing the numbers legibly both in the top row and the answer row. I think he's having difficulty reading what he has written when he goes back to subtract.

      The steps he is supposed to do are:
      1) Use a colored pencil to circle the greater number in the ones and tens place.
      2) If the greater number is not at the top, borrow back, writing the new number above the number he's crossed off.
      3) Subtract.

      He likes to do a whole row of circling and borrowing and then do all the subtraction, but I'm thinking that this might be contributing to the problem.

      AHA. Yes. If he works with one problem at a time, he will more readily remember the numbers he has circled.

      I have one like this. He could rake the yard in 1-1/2 hours, but insists, "I have a better way. I know what I'm doing!" Dusk falls, piles remain. Hmmm.

      If you have the patience, explain a time when you thought you had a "better way," but it really caused more problems in the end. Then refer him back to the R&S directions written by those who know.



      I also let him do his work in his room, and I'm thinking it may need to be at the elbow again.

      Yes. Mine was "at the elbow" or at least in the same room well into middle school.

      I supposed I need to have him do number writing practice, any suggestions for that? Just use startwrite?

      Yes. A line a day would be good. If you have startwrite, that would be ideal. You can enlarge the number, so he focuses on form. No need to make him write, write, write. Just 2-3 good examples will do.

      Or should I have him try to copy problems from the book to his paper? I worry that would lead to more errors.

      Agreed. Just asking for problems there. No need to create new issues.


      Overall, his handwriting needs more work. I've just started spreading the actual writing in his copybook out over the week and really making him do the best he can on the few words he has to write.

      Yes again! Quality over quantity.

      I waver between thinking he needs to increase the quantity of written work or just increase the quality and raise expectations.

      The latter, definitely. Think of it as "practicing." We know the effects of practice: whatever we practice becomes more entrenched. If you give him more to do poorly, he is practicing writing poorly. Quality is key. Every week or so, you could have him practice one or two problems on the board (vertical writing), into a slab of clay (greater feedback), or on graph paper (better visual organization). Each of these can "reset" his mind to help him focus more on the detail of writing clearly.

      I would love thoughts and advice. Thanks.
      You made it easy. You answered your own questions!

      Comment

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