Young Jack, age 14, a sweet boy who has very significant learning disabilities, couldn’t tell you how much a quarter, dime and a nickel totaled. Yet his mother brought in worksheets showing me that he was being asked to multiply negative numbers such as the following, which were taken from a recent homework assignment:

5 x -2 x -4 = ?

-3 x 3 x -2 = ?


Isn’t there a disconnect here?

Jack also did not know the days of the week in sequence or the names of the months. Wouldn’t it be better to help Jack learn what day came after Tuesday, rather than worry about negative numbers!!!!!

Jack reads (at best) on a second to low third grade level.  On another worksheet he was being asked to handle words on a vocabulary worksheet, such as:  heredity, prioritize, and personality.


Jack could no sooner read or understand those words, than I can do calculus at this point (or ever).

I am at a loss when I look at worksheets that show a significant mismatch between the child’s skill level and the demand of the task. Jack was in way over his head with the material that the mother showed me.  Yet, this is what he faces every day.
Why give kids stuff they can’t handle?  What’s the gain?  What’s the point?

Somebody help me out.  What am I missing?

Copyright, 2018
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