*Author: Julie Norman, reading curriculum writer and website designer for Gourmet Learning*

Growing up, math was not my strongest skill. I've discovered now that it's not that I didn't understand the concepts, it's because I don't pay attention to detail. I'd forget to "carry" a 1, or I'd add instead of subtract, I'd forget the negative sign or I'd put the decimal in the wrong spot. Still, I took both Calculus and Physics my senior year of high school, so I must've understood the concepts...I just didn't understand that with math, everything is about the details!

In elementary school, the one skill that really alluded me was figuring out number lines. I don't know what it was that I didn't get, but somehow using a number line just never worked out very well for me. Fortunately for today's math students, there are many math lessons available to reinforce number line skills. Even our sample of 2nd grade math lessons provides a game that uses number lines to teach addition.

I'm sure back in 2nd grade my teacher, Ms. Moody, did reinforce number line skills, but for whatever reason, this is the concept that sticks out in my head as the hardest to grasp. I realize it should be one of the easiest!

In the spirit of looking back, what with it being the end of the year and all, here is a list of math skills and exercises that stick out in my mind from my years in school:

3rd grade multiplication - our teacher would cover one set a week (2s, 3s, etc) and on Friday we'd have a test over that set. Either it was timed or we all felt the need to be the first one done, because I remember us racing through these every week for 12 weeks!

4th grade fractions - this was the year my teacher and my mom disagreed on math homework. My teacher gave me a 100 just for doing it; my mom want to make sure I got the answers right.

8th grade - we were the "pilot" class for computerized Algebra I. For me, this was a great concept. I could move at my own pace and take quizzes over again.

10th and 11th grade - Algebra II and Trigonometry - I had the same teacher for these classes. The two moments that stick out in my mind are 1. Having to take my semester exam with the flu and 2. Having my teacher say to me, "How can your sister be so good at math and you be so bad at it?"

College: I had to take ONE math class in college and it was called "Finite Math." Our teacher was a funny professor named Dr. Vlach and he liked to entertain us. When he introduced the concept of using polynomials inside a matrix, he had two of us act out the old Reeses Peanut Butter commercial ("You got chocolate on my peanut butter! No you got peanut butter on my chocolate!) using these terms. It was effective, since 20 years later I still remember it.

No matter the concepts or the current methods for teaching math, we hope you utilize our supplementary math lessons to help concepts stick with students over time.