Okay — today is sort of “true confessions”. Twenty years homeschooling and I have all the answers…right? Not so much. Every one of our kids has been so different, as have their learning styles. Pair those learning styles with my “no-nonsense, why can’t you see that” teaching style and once in awhile, some of us butt heads. No nonsense is a great method for an “all my ducks in a row” learner . After you show them the “hows”, “all my ducks in a row learners” just plug away at the assignment list until it’s done . But when “no nonsense” teachers meet, “but, why?” students, it can be a legendary fireworks show.
To some degree, I have mellowed, (or just gotten really tired – lol), over the years, and I have found answers or at least workable ways around the “but why’s”. But, when it comes to Math, I still falter. Math (with the exception of Geometry which I argue is not really math. – lol) is, and always was, not as hard for me. I can see the numbers and equations in my head. I work problems in my head faster than the calculator sometimes, which always annoys my husband just a little bit. But, I don’t think that I have done a good job in passing that skill on to my kids. With two of them, I missed a huge chunk of opportunity when I was so involved in running our business and caring for David’s parents. Everything, even homeschool, took a back burner to those two things for several years. By God’s grace, the two in the middle are catching up to what they missed in my “pop in and out” teaching style back then, but math is still a struggle. I have been thinking about what I did to learn it. What was it that made it easier? Why can I see it in my head? And how did it get there?
Tear-streaked, pencil smudged faces with eraser shavings thick in the air would, sadly, often be used to describe our math sessions; and Algebra is particularly problematic. I see the problem and show how to get the answer, but my “but why” is still back at the first step, “but whying”. She has many questions for the universe and, “if God created mathematics as a system of order, why is it so inconsistent?”
“I don’t see anything inconsistent about it, now go back to …do you understand how I did…?”
” Why did you do it like that?”
“Aaaaaggggghhhhh!” Is it ok to say “Because I said so”, when teaching math? – lol
Well, to give you hope, and help you not to fear for my children, I want to share that today, I am doing a little, bitty Algebra victory dance. Small as it might be to some, we had a sort of breakthrough – that infamous lightbulb moment. We haven’t necessarily won the war, but that one small battle victory is very sweet. I made brownies. “But why?”
“So we can celebrate.”
“But I want cheesecake.”
What’s your toughest obstacle with homeschooling? Do you have great tips, tricks or curriculum suggestions for Math? Inquiring minds want to know. What’s the fastest, easiest way to memorize the times tables? What hands-on methods worked really great for you? Share your experience and wisdom and we all will benefit. Looking forward to hearing from you all. Have an awesomely blessed evening!