How Do You Teach Long Division?

Updated on March 14, 2008
S. asks from Joliet, IL
4 answers

Hi moms...i have asked many questions in the past and you all haven't failed me yet!! Here is my newest dilema. My 4th grade daughter is learning long division at school and is STRUGGLING!! We do problems over and over and over and she just doesn't get it. I am at my wits end and don't know what else to do. If I sit with her and "hold her hand" and tell her what to do next every time, she doesn't learn. She just looks at me and says "what's next?" Any suggestions from you brilliant moms??

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answers from Chicago on

Hi S..

If you haven't already, find out the methodology being used in her classroom for teaching long division. Ensure you're mimicking the classroom method.

Online resources:

Consider a summer school class that will reinforce long division for next fall so she will be confident at the start of next year.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

ok-- I will try to explain this as best as I can. I am a 5th grade teacher, and long division always came @ Halloween time for us. What I'd do is teach that division is like a house. The divisor is the kid trick or treating & the dividend is how much candy is inside. We'd ring the doorbell & shout "trick or treat" as a class & I'd say -- ok if there are 5 kids at the door, and 135 pieces of candy inside, how many do they each get. So then you start & say, can 1 be divided by 5, no (so we'd place an x over the 1(hundreds column). What about 13? Can 5 divide into 13?- yes 2 times, so write the 2 over the 3 (tens column) so subtract 10 & 3 is left over. Are we done? No bring down the 5 so how many times does 5 divide into 35? 7-- great! So write the 7 over the 5 (ones column)So each kid will get 27 pieces of candy.
Now, if you are talking 2 digit divisors, it's trickier & I don't know if I can explain that via my computer keyboard:)
This year, our school adopted a series called everyday math & I know they teach a "lattice" version of how to do division-- maybe you could google it to find out, b/c I do not teach math anymore. Hope you could understand this & it helped!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on


I'd find out from the teacher how it is actually being taught (as another poster mentioned). Then, I would try and have your daughter try to teach YOU. Have her be the one showing and it may help her figure it out better.

Just a thought.



answers from Decatur on

Oh, i love the other response about Halloween and candy! I will say, though, my only tip is to step back. Have someone else do it with her. Some kids and adults just need a certain explanation to get it. It probably has nothing to do with you not explaining it right it is probably needing a different explanation. My dh is an engineer and he can explain things three or four ways. Just take your time, and try the candy analogy!

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