Math learning disabilities? Is that the same, as say, mountain climbing disabilities? If you have a hard time learning math this is no joking matter. And I don't mean to make light of it. But learning math takes equipment like any activity you would like to learn. Unlike walking and talking, it's not an every moment activity. You have to make time to learn mathematics. Also unlike walking and talking, math is a project you will, most of the time, be alone when your learning. There may be people all around you, but they are not talking mathematics. Try learning a new language all alone. It can be done, but with great difficulty, you'll need a lot of equipment like, recording tapes, so you can hear how the words are pronounced and how sentences are formed to develop conversational speaking.
The question is, do you really have a disability when it comes to learning mathematics or are you exceptionally good at learning math but the way you are trying to learn is exceptionally difficult. To learn to shoot hoops you first need a basket ball, a court, and a hoop, then you need to make time to practice. Then to become good at basket ball you are going to need a team to practice with. The same holds true for mathematics.
First, schools are a hard place to learn anything, schools do a great job of hiding this fact. The educational system schools use is, what I like to call, a race. First one over the finish line get an A. Last one over the finish line get a D. If you don't run at all you get an F. They do need to run the race so that most do cross the finish line. So there is no real standard.
There is a problem with this system, if most students are unprepared or just don't care, it's going to be a fairly easy race. Another problem is that if some one comes from a class that was running an easy race, and he enters into a class where a more difficult race if being run, he will find himself unprepared and failing.
Don't get me wrong, Educational Institutions are need to add structure to learning, and standards that can be evaluated to judge a person's proficiency in a particular discipline. But you as the student may need more to run a good race.
When we talk about learning math, we are talking about the human mind. The truth is, some of us have minds that work really well when it comes to learning. Some of us have minds that, well, we got cheated.
Along with the mind we were given at birth and how much we our selves may have damaged our mind with drugs, alcohol, and violence, there are many other factors that will negatively effect how we learn. Being young will magnify all of these factor because a young person also has to deal with learning to safely navigate in an ever increasingly dangerous world.
The good news is, mathematics are just incredibly easy to learn once you know what you need, and what you need to do to learn mathematics.
First, that book from school is just not going to do it for you. You need to have an arsenal of books on any subject you are attempting to learn. We all learn differently, having a variety of books gives you the chance that one or another book will present the subject matter in a manner best suited to the way you learn.
Second, you need quiet. Turn the boom box off along with the cell phone. Tell the people around you that you need to study. The mind needs to filter out all the distractions, this takes energy, energy that could be used on learning . That's why when you go to the library there is usually a big sign that says QUIET.
Third, buy a pack of computer paper from the store. You will need to work all problems out on scratch paper. Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half. That will give you four side of scratch paper per sheet. When you work the problem out make clean, clear notes so when the problem doesn't work out you can back track your notes and see where you went wrong. If you are not a math wiz this is a must do, and most math wizes became math wizes by taking good notes when working out their math problems.
Fourth, Get the TI-89 Titanium Calculator. You can't learn math if you have to wait until the next day to see if you have done a problem correctly or not. The TI-89 will do the problem for you. Feed the equation into the calculator along with the x's and y's and see how it's done. You learned how to walk and talk by watching and listening how it's done. With the TI-89 graphic Calculator that has "computer algebra system" or CAS built in, allows you to do symbolic manipulation. That means any mathematics problem can be fed into the calculator and it will show you the work and answer. Not all the work but enough to get you on track again.
Note to Teachers and Parents: This calculator is very powerful. It will be as if he has a mathematics professor standing next to him giving him the answers. This is good and bad because he may rely too much on the calculator and less on learning. But in either case it's better then sitting there totally lost and just wasting time. What I've done concerning my children is have them use two calculators, the TI-89 and an off the shelf 10 dollar scientific calculator. This way, they use the regular calculator for working problems and when they get stuck they pull out the big guns(the TI-89) and work past the difficulty.
The cost of extra books, paper, and calculators can add up. But still it won't compare to the cost of the newest sneakers on the market or the latest craze in jackets. That cell phone cost about as much as the TI-89 calculator. Whats more important a cool pair of sneakers or your childs education.
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