Teaching subtraction to young learners can be difficult. Unlike addition, where items/time accumulates, subtraction can represent taking something away, as well as the difference between two numbers. This can conceptually be difficult for young children to understand. Then, when you get into subtraction problems with borrowing, such as 45 – 27, you have to borrow a ten to do subtraction in the ones column, and children can be equally confused!

Most parents of public school students have felt the frustration of trying to help a child with homework when the teacher insists they use “new math” or Common Core Math. But with quarantine, now parents across the country are feeling the pressure of picking up where school left off!

In this post, I’m not going to cover all the different aspects of subtraction, such as when you’re borrowing and you encounter a 0 in the tens place. Oh no! But I’ve included 2 simple videos that may help your child get started on borrowing. If you don’t have tens sticks to represent the tens, you can use pens or pencils. You can use little blocks or erasers (or really anything tiny) to represent ones. Get creative and have fun!