Math troubles

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    • #100158

      Hey guys, I’m 15 and in sophomore year. Im pretty sure I have the combined type ADHD, I’m having a great deal of trouble learning math. I didn’t know lines and letters would be so hard. Yes, I’m doing geometry right now and I already have a D in my math class and it’s only been like 3 weeks since the school year started. Everytime I try to learn math I can never learn the concepts. I always forget. I do the homework with alot of struggle and I finally understand how to do it and then the next day, I completely forget and I’m back at square one again. There are more concepts and more and I’m falling behind. Practically drowning. Also whenever I do math I always feel sick and get headaches. Is that apart of ADHD?? I also have a quiz this week and I’m literally gonna be failing this class by Friday. So yeah, any help or feedback would be great!

    • #100162

      You are very smart to be reaching out so early for help–it is the best way to be successful in life–to realize there is a problem and seek assistance. Geometry is different in that it is a visual/practical use of math from the numbering/calculating type. It is less a matter of memory than of application of those concepts to solve problems. However, this forum is not for math. Your expert is your teacher–it is their job to teach you the concepts. See him/her after class privately and tell them you are having a lot of difficulty. They have lots of different ways to teach, using tools that may make better sense to different students. I have a feeling a different approach will make you have an epiphany-type moment, and you will suddenly understand what the concepts are saying. When you get to college, there are actual posted “office hours” by teachers who encourage students to come in when they are having difficulties. This is because the focus is (and should be) on learning the concepts of what is being taught, not just passing a test or getting a good grade. It sometimes helps teachers too, to realize where they may not be making things clear enough, especially if many students aren’t doing well. That being said, when you are in high school, it can be seen as weak (by other kids) to not be understanding what “everyone else” seems to understand (this is NOT necessarily true!). Also, some teachers are more receptive to students than others. If your teacher makes fun of students, shames them, or embarrasses them in front of the class, going to them may not be helpful. In that case, you may want to involve your guidance counselor or student dean. And parents, maybe, depending how supportive they are. Believe it or not, they are all supposed to be there for you when things aren’t going well-they want to help.
      Another thought I had is: why do you “think” you have ADHD? If you are noticing things that lead you to that conclusion, have you ever told your parents, doctor, or teachers/guidance staff? There are tricks, treatments, and supportive reassurances available to you now (some of our forum ideas are very helpful, as you have obviously seen because you have been prompted to write about this). Also, physical ailments (sick/headaches) can be a host of things, especially around the anxieties of being successful in school, friends, future career planning, etc, for anyone at your age. Feeling “different” and alone is practically a rite of passage for high school. (And personally, sophomore year was by far the HARDEST year I have had in my life!) Headaches and “sick” sounds more like anxiety. Thinking you might have a diagnosis that is working against you will only make it worse. Ask for an evaluation and tell someone what is going on. You will feel less alone.
      Again, taking the courage to open up about this to us is a great thing, and I hope you get lots of good ideas. High school will seem like forever, but hang in there, it gets better and there is a whole world out there that will accept you if you build and develop the tools to function to the best of your ability. Good luck and keep checking in with us!

    • #100203

      The way math is taught these days is not direct or straight-forward, making it extremely difficult for ADHD kids to see the big ideas and become fluent in procedures. Currently, math is taught in group settings where you and your classmates “discover!” for yourselves the equation for a line and somehow, how to do two-column geometric proofs with a worthless textbook absent of any examples. There is simply not enough practice in math classes from the last 5-6 years to automate procedures. This is important for the reasons you describe: no topic in math these days is taught and practiced to mastery. The cognitive load and memory (both maxed out when ADHD kids are doing math) are taxed, not allowing you to learn new concepts before your eyes.

      Please find a competent math tutor, someone taught in the older, traditional math procedures. Is there a parent, grandparent, Aunt, neighbor that has a science or engineering degree to help you? Pick up a cheap, used Geometry book on Amazon from the mid-1980’s (I recommend Dolciani). Stick with it! It’s not you, it’s the crazy curriculum. Don’t give up – math is power and will open doors for you later.

    • #100249
      Penny Williams

      This could be a learning disability called Dyscalculia. It’s common to co-exist with ADHD.

      When Math Just Doesn’t Add Up: Understanding Dyscalculia

      Find someone at school you can confide in about this — the math teacher or a guidance counselor. Let them know that you’re trying super hard and struggling. Because you go to someone and ask for help, they’ll know you actually are really trying.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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