When fractions make you want to pull your hair out and scream

"Why do fractions have to be so hard?" 

She's asked this question multiple times since we started learning more in-depth work with fractions.

It's been a few hard weeks in school. We have both been struggling. Fractions have about killed us. Each day as it builds on the next, we were met with frustration.

It was such a happy day yesterday because we finally finished fractions! For now.

The past few weeks of this fraction work have taught me a few things:

1. Some topics are going to be harder than others.

This seems like a simple lesson, but yet I had to re-learn it in this process. We had gotten into a good rhythm with math and we were soaring through this semester's work. Then we were met with fractions. It simply didn't come as naturally. And that's okay. Not everything is going to be a breeze.  

2. It doesn't have to be fun, it just has to get done.

Surely I should have remembered this. Math isn't always going to be fun. Just as learning parts of speech. Or the periodic table. Or fill in the blank. And what's fun for one kid to learn might not be fun for the next. You simply don't know until you are there doing the work. This is a good mantra, though, for the difficult subjects that simply aren't fun.

3. It's okay to take breaks and allow room for the content to settle.

We took a week off of math. It needed to be done. The frustration from fractions was infiltrating her other subjects and stealing the joy out of learning. So we put it away for a few days. And that's okay! This is where there is freedom to do what's best for your child. Need a break from a subject? Feel free to follow that child's lead.

4. Life is a great teacher.

It there a way to teach a difficult subject in real life situations? For fractions, cooking is a great way to bring school to life. And it just so happens, that my fraction-despising daughter loves to cook. So spending more time in the kitchen can hopefully help her grow in understanding.

5. My relationship is more important than math.

Above all, our connection is more important than fractions. I had to keep reminding myself of this truth. When we were faced with hard days, it was helpful to speak life into my daughter, validating her experience, "Fractions are really hard to learn, but you are doing a great job." This kind of encouragement went a long way.

So fractions were hard. But we did it. We made it through. Despite the struggles, we made it through together

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