21 answers

2Nd Grader Struggling with Math

My 7 year old daughter is struggling with math. She seems to join zone out when it comes time for math homework. She is doing well in all of her other subjects. I feel bad for her, but it is very frustrating because it seems like she is not even trying. I suggested a tutor but my husband does not think she needs one as these are simple concepts, i.e., addition, subtraction, patterns, etc. Has anyone ever experienced this with their child, and if so what did you do?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

There are great math games that are fun on the internet. Also practice with flash cards. Good luck.

HI, M..
I had some math strugglers, too. I made games for them to play. We used posterboard and drew a baseball field. Each base and part of the field had numbers on them. Then we rolled two dice, and the numbers rolled placed them somewhere on the field. Well, we did a soccer and football game, and they just loved it. I forgot all about those...I will have to go dig them out! I did send my oldest daughter to Sylvan, which was okay but SO costly I could not do it long!
I think when they think it is fun, it is not so bad! I have a game called Light 'N Strike Math which my second daughter loves...you hit the correct numbers to the question with a mallot thing. She gets all excited about it.
Either way, have fun!

More Answers


A common trick home-schoolers use is to take the child's interest and tailor the math problems around that. If she is interested in horses add and subtract her toy horses, put them in patterns (big-small, by colors), pretend a horse ran away and teach subtraction, a mare had a baby - this teaches addition.

If she loves music find some songs on-line, learn the songs and then play the instruments with the songs.

Remember math is a language and it can be very difficult for children to learn the language. Any help you can give her will benefit her farther down the road.

Just remember to keep it fun!


Here is a site with math songs:

Here is a site with more advanced songs for the future:

Here you can search for songs of different categories:

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
I agree with the game and home school ideas. You or your husband, or even older children, sit down with her and do some hands on learning. We've used cheerios, legos, stuffed animals, just about anything that can be counted. My 8 yr old daughter will zone out if I'm not there to "bring her back", especially if there's a concept she's struggling with.

I wouldn't do the tutoring just yet. I think at this stage that mom and dad can be the best ones to help.

Your husband is right oabut 1 thing, that a 7 year old shouldn't b struggling in math. If she is, there is a problem, and that problem needs to be addressed. One thing for sure, if she doesn't get it now, the rest is going to be worse. 1st step, talk to her teacher, have her eyes checked, all of the groundwork. What kind fo a math program are they using in school? There are so many different ones, not everyone learns the same, and she may need a different program. Don't do her homework for her, let her get the bad grades if she can't do it, so the teacher knows for sure there is a problem. It is hard to see your child struggle, but math is one of those things that may need many different approaches until the right fit is found. Maybe Dad should tutor her during this time, and if it doesn't work, then move onto a different tutor, like a teacher that knows how to teach different learners.


I too have a son who struggles in school. Something that seems to help-especially in math is playing math games. Somthing about being tutored but in the format of playing a game makes it fun, and easier to grasp. There are lots of math games out there. My personal favorite is called 4-WAY COUNTDOWN it is made by Cadaco.

Basically they have 10 pegs numbered 1-10 and 2 dice and you roll the dice and the object is to flip all the pegs over. You roll the dice and you can either add the numbers or subtract the numbers to equal either 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 or 10 for instance lets say you roll the dice and get a 3 and a 5 you can either add them and flip the 8 over or subtract them and flip the 2 over. You keep going until all the pegs are flipped. The game has 4 sides so up to 4 people can play. My sons all really liked this game.

I showed it to one of the 3rd grade teachers at school and she flipped over it and went out and bought a couple of her own for her classroom.

Something else I really like about this game is you can use it also to multiply and divide to flip the pegs later when they start learning those skills, so you can use it for a long time. I hope this was helpful- good luck to you both I know it can be stressful.

Get a tutor NOW. The longer your child goes without understanding the basic concepts, the harder math will be. My son had a learning disability with math, and could not understand the most basic on concepts the way they were explained in school. His father and I couldn't understand what it was that he did not understand..... and so his Dad thought he was lazy and tried the " I was never good at math approach". The right tutor made a world of difference. He needed a different way of explanation. After the tutor, my son went from a D- average, to a B+, with an occasional A. He is now a college graduate, working as a college lab tutor.
The longer you wait, letting her think of herself that she is stupid, the more trouble you will have later. Please act now. Your school can recommend a tutor. Do not go with a friend or sibling who is "good at math"..... If it is understanding of concepts, you need a professional tutor. Otherwise, you risk the same problem again: the school explanation doesn't make sense, and it needs to be reframed and presented in a different way. Repeating the same explanation again will not help. It will be money very well spent. Also, an eye exam to rule out difficulty seeing would be a good idea, if she had not had one recently. Sometimes, they just can't see the board when the teacher gives examples.
Good luck. L.

HI, M..
I had some math strugglers, too. I made games for them to play. We used posterboard and drew a baseball field. Each base and part of the field had numbers on them. Then we rolled two dice, and the numbers rolled placed them somewhere on the field. Well, we did a soccer and football game, and they just loved it. I forgot all about those...I will have to go dig them out! I did send my oldest daughter to Sylvan, which was okay but SO costly I could not do it long!
I think when they think it is fun, it is not so bad! I have a game called Light 'N Strike Math which my second daughter loves...you hit the correct numbers to the question with a mallot thing. She gets all excited about it.
Either way, have fun!


Your request really hit home with me as we went through this with our son when he was a little older than your daughter. Having been there I know you need to address the problem right away before she falls behind or becomes very discouraged. Since they are basic concepts you might try tutoring her yourself. When our son fell behind in math we had him tutored at Sylvan's (which was very good but very expensive). We learned that his difficulty with math was actually caused by problems with reading when he was younger. I am not suggesting that this is your daughter's problem. Only that one learning concept can affect others and it is important to stay on top of them all. These may be simple concepts to adults but to a child who has never tried them before it may seem like Greek. Talk to her teacher first and see what she recommends, she may offer to spend a little one on one time with her to help her along, most teachers will do that. There may be in-school tutors that will work with her during the school day, find out what your options are and go from there. The worst you can do is to ignore it, which I am sure you won't. Good luck to you and your daughter.


I have to admit that I am a pusher of academics from a very early age and have pushed my son far beyond his grade level academically. I do songs and change the words to suit the concept...have you ever heard "InchWorm"? I learned it on Sesame Street when I was growing up - 2 and 2 are 4, 4 and 4 are 8, etc. Then I start with other numbers - 1 and 4 are ??, 3 and 6 are ?? to get him thinking of other numbers.
My son's school is using "EveryDay Math" where they learn to count change, find patterns, add and subtract and do story problems. They find things around the house to count (how many toes are in your family, estimate the number of items in the grocery bag and then count them, make a pattern out of cereal, buttons or whatnot and draw it) which makes a good association. Just remember- numbers and counting are everywhere and make a great activity when doing errands, waiting in line, in the car, etc.
My son's teacher told me that she was trying to get a few of her advanced students to "mentor" others who weren't getting it and having them try to explain the concepts to their peers. That way, the students are getting it explained by someone near their own brain level. Could your 9 yr. old tutor her? She may feel more comfortable with someone closer to her own age explaining it (this also strengthens your 9 yr old as a mentor - a win win situation).
Your daughter is smart.....she just needs a little fun nudge to master the concepts. I believe everybody has some mental blocks against learning specific things....that's why no one is an expert at everything. We all have to try harder at some things that don't come easy, so it'll come and your daughter will be so proud of herself when it does.

My daughter is highly intelligent but hates math and always has. She's more of a reader. She could read chapter books in kindergarten which told me that she is not slow. She just has no interest in mathematics. I always helped her with her homework and tried to show her little tricks and/or shortcuts for making the work a little easier. The way we were taught math is much different than the way these kids are being taught. I feel our way was much more simple. Try showing her a few little tricks that you learned as a child. This may help. :)

You need to speak to her teacher and chances are, that the teacher already knows that your daughter is struggling. She does need extra help because if she doesn't understand these concepts, she is not going to understand anything else in math in the future. See if there is help she can have at school (in a lot of cases, children are not allowed to be pulled out during class unless they have an approved IEP from the parents and school). Maybe there is an after school help program. Do not let her struggle anymore. Go to a teacher store and get her games that focus on these concepts and although flashcards are great for memorizing, they do not help if she doesn't understand math...example...she doesn't understand that the number 5 represents five things and if you take away 3 you are left with two. Good luck!

There are great math games that are fun on the internet. Also practice with flash cards. Good luck.

There are a ton of websites that have math games, my daughter loves to play them, just google math games for 2nd graders and you should find some. As a child I HATED math and flash cards were boring I still have problems. Our school has a math program called math wizards and they send packets home with games like math bingo and of course the flash cards :( One of the games that I can think of off hand is to use two dice and each person takes turns rolling both dice and what ever #'s come up you add or subtract (6+5) the one with the highest sum wins that round. Yatzhee (sp) is also a good one to help out. If she is having trouble with money play store with real money and have her make change. You just have to be more creative when they don't like what they are doing. My oldest is terrible at math and if I would've known all these tricks before it was too late maybe it would have been easier on him. He is in 6th now and finally it is starting to click. Good thing because they are doing algerbra this year:) One more thing my daughter loves to play school and teach me. She writes problems on the board and then she figures them out by herself and then I have a whole paper to answer in two minutes. Even if she does cheat sometimes and use a calculator for the big ones she is seeing the problem and it is fun for her. She just printed a whole page of problems from a site called www.abcteach.com she thought it was cool!

Dear M.,

If your daughter's school offers any extra tutoring I would inquire about it, as outside tutoring can be expensive. You may want to try going to a teacher's store and getting some games that can help teach fundamentals in a fun way or inquire at a local college about students in the teaching program that may be interested in doing a little tutoring too. I was a 2nd grade teacher and with some children it does take longer to master basic concepts, but it will only get more in depth each year. It's important that you encourage her and find ways to help her that are fun (using games, cooking, everyday toys etc...) so it won't feel as much like she's getting extra ditto work or homework. You may also consider trying teacher websites like lessonplanspage.com or coolmath-games.com or even if you type something like "elementary math games" into google, it'll give you sites to search to come up with ideas to help. Anything, even shopping can be made into a math game. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you all!

Math has never been my best subject either. In third grade, it was called Column Addition. I didn't get the concept at all. Get past division these days and I'm lost. I'm 54.

Go with your instincts and find a tutor. The school might be able to recommend someone. I don't think it will be dad, however. Beyond that, Sylvan tutoring has high success rates. Or a high schooler with high math marks that your child will look up to and therefore glean from. You'd be doing the high schooler a favor too in being able to help and teach someone with their gift of math success. It's a two way street.
Look if dad isn't going to prove his point, sit down, and do the job, then he doesn't have a basis to his remark. It could be denial.

My daughter also struggled in math while excelling in all other subjects, only it was in 3rd grade (last year) and very frustrating. We got her a tutor and spent alot of money, but ultimately the best thing that you can do (and the tutor recommended this)is flash cards because multiplication, subtraction and addition come down to memorization. Good luck.

Greetings M.,

I know you said your husband thinks she does not need a tutor, but it sounds to me like she does. It's better to get help sooner than later. Check with the school to see if they have tutors, or maybe a friend or a sibling could help your daughter with her math.
If all five children are living in the same house and are all present with her in the room where she is doing her home work, have her either work alone or with a helper.

Much success to you.

Good morning mama friend,

My beautiful 18 year old daughter was just home from college this weekend and I was reminded of her math struggles in 2nd grade. My little one had such problems in math and I overcompensated by pushing her too hard and drilling her too much. Give your little girl time. She may have some attention issues or there just may be other things more interesting to think about. Some people are great at math and some are not as good- but she will be probably be able to master the facts and the procedures when she's developmentally ready. (By the way, my daughter graduated from H.S. with a 4.0 avg. and finishing pre-calculus to boot. She reports that she's thinking about trying physics next semester.)

Simple to him...not so simple to somebody who is just learning it. I would be really cautious of letting her hear him calling her work 'simple'...if she is having trouble with it, it just may be internalized as daddy thinking she isn't smart. Trouble with these basics, though, will only get worse if she doesn't get it now, so I say what does it hut to consult a tutor? Whatever it takes to get her in the swing of things!


PS...out of curiosity...what is Uppercase Living?

Our school offers tutoring for free during school hours. Our daughter was a young kindergartner (today is her 5th birthday), and they are actually doing tutoring with her in both letter recognition/phonics and math (addition, subtraction & sequencing) as well as number recognition. The theory is - that if they don't get the basic information now, they'll have a hard time getting the harder stuff later on (if they get it at all). If your daughter is struggling that bad, I would talk to the teacher and see if there is anything you can do at home or if the school offers any tutoring. Ours is paid for through some state programs, so anything is possible.

Check out programs like MathUSee for home. Or Touch Math. There are all sorts of resources, web sites, yahoo groups, with math games you can play at home.

Hi M.,
My daughter had the same trouble. It seems like you are describing my child. She would totally zone out when it came time for math and it seemed like she was not even trying. Yes, the concepts are easy but if she doesn't tackle them now, she will have even more difficulties in the future. Talk to her teacher and see if the school has a tutoring program. Often times all it takes is a little encouragement and praise from someone else to help develop their confidence.
My daughter is 9 now and has been in the school tutoring program since the second grade. She just got her report card and she got all A's & B's.
And, don't forget, lots and lots of flash cards.
Good Luck,

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.