NANA’s Meltdown & Order of Operations

Did you ever have one of those moments when you feel overwhelmed and ready to blow? Today and every day at 2 pm, I am at the end of my ropes. I am not sure if it is virtual school, new math, or just the idea I am teaching, and the teacher is just sending recordings.

Other schools have real programming. Our school has 1 hour of teacher-child interactions. So, the way this works is at noon, my grandson gets online and has a great and meet. At 12:30, he goes to the email with the recordings to listen to the teacher and find today’s work. Now we figure out the work for the day. Homeschooling would be more comfortable and less stressful!


We have entered my stressful time of day, which leads to my total frustration by 2.30 pm. I have my work to do because someone employs me. Starting by 1 pm, I am teaching him math and English language. We also tackle his writing. Because all his work is typed (we can’t send in handwritten work) and his typing is very slow! I have his speak with words while I type. He also becomes excited when he tells stories and speaks fast so that typing can be a challenge. By 2 pm, I have been juggling work and teaching, so I become tired and stressed.


Today I wanted to scream. Math was taking forever! He would not do his order of operations because he knew a better, faster way- wrong! Math is not objective, and he has a problem thinking he can make things work the way his mind works. He is creative and explosive. He is original and hyper. His sensory disorder has a way of raising its ugly head when he is tired of learning something new. This year math is all new and much more challenging. The order of operations is simple to me but horrible to him. By 2 pm, I was ready to scream and leave the room. He was in tears as I walked out on him. He is only ten, and in the 5th grade, some walking off was horrific to him.
He typically has a SPED class to help with these issues and his learning struggles, but he only has me during virtual learning. He has learned some destructive behaviors and adaptations for anxiety, fear, and disappointment in school. These behaviors are unacceptable. He is relearning new acceptable behaviors and actions when frustrated, confused, anxious is necessary for growth and learning.


While introducing new information, present it in a way, he can process it easily and quickly. Processing further information for a child with a learning disability can take time and patients. They need to find a way to connect the new information to long term memory. Making a new neuropathway or tapping into what is already there can make the additional information a quick hop into their long-term memory. Working memory needs something to link to for new information to connect. I understand by his IEP, these adaptations and should increase his productivity and knowledge.


This bit of knowledge is easy to roll off my tongue but hard to put into action when I am at my patients’ end. I may need a nap or time of prayer to continue with the school assignments. What should be easy is very difficult. Learning the order of operations is like learning biochemistry. or for me statistics.


I finally made a game of it- who do we read? Do we read from the middle of the page? A simple question that has a lot of thought, and connecting it to math problems gives understanding. Order of operations: open the package first, look for the multiplication or division next, finally read the situation and work it out. The package is a hidden gem to figure out. You will want to make that gem as big as possible or share it with others before you finish the problem.


My ideas may not work for everyone, but it worked for us- learning and means add, give away, or lost means subtract was a big help with word problems. We were both exhausted and did not get the ELA finished. Breaking down when speaking about art classes in school brought a flood of emotions. Why? I have no idea, but I will tackle that another day.

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