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Gabriela
12-02-2011, 08:10 AM
This question is especially for hs dads, but also to any moms who've been through this...

When we first started homeschooling, it was very much the plan that my husband would be participating. Because he doesn't have as much time, we made our first schedule with him teaching three classes a week - music, an extra science class, and the main math lesson.

I can find my way through science alright. And though I can't play the flute, we could just sing songs and call it music. But MATH! That was the main thing. That's the thing I have most trouble with. And my husband is brilliant at it. He would do the main math lesson, and I would supervise the daily reviews. It was perfect. But it wasn't.

Five minutes into the class and they were fighting. My son questioned dh's every move. "Mom doesn't want me to use my notebooks like that" "Mom wouldn't make me erase sloppy handwriting"... Dh would get frustrated with son's lack of focus. Son would get frustrated at dh's insistence for neatness. It would turn into a yelling match every time.

I talked to them together and individually, several times. In the end, dh said he thought he just didn't have the patience to teach a third grader, maybe when he's older... Which was okay, because we don't want this to negatively affect their relationship.

So we took him off the schedule and I'm teaching math. This was fine for the last six months, even good for me (to try to get my head around math). But son's really good at math, and is now doing Khan Academy, and I feel like I can't keep up.

I need dh to try again. Do you have any advice for him?
I guess I should probably add that I'm the main decision maker. Dh is very home-oriented, grew up around strong women, and supports matriarchy. He's not an authoritarian at all, but when he's in the teaching role he becomes very strict with things like drawing straight lines and showing work neatly. Since he's not a strict father, I think this confuses son and he rebels.

Shoe
12-02-2011, 08:36 AM
Five minutes into the class and they were fighting. My son questioned dh's every move. "Mom doesn't want me to use my notebooks like that" "Mom wouldn't make me erase sloppy handwriting"... Dh would get frustrated with son's lack of focus. Son would get frustrated at dh's insistence for neatness. It would turn into a yelling match every time.This is how it is with my wife and my daughter, but change the word "Mom" to dad, since I'm the primary teacher.

I sometimes get very frustrated with my kids (and occasionally get grumpy with them) and I also struggle with my strong willed child. It has improved over time-I've tried to relax a little (literally, actually-I took up meditation and progressive relaxation), and accept that if the kids are putting effort into it, that is enough. It helps me to walk away for a few minutes if I find myself getting too frustrated, as well. I'm quite strict with school, not so much with other things, too. I'm also an obsessive completist and perfectionist, so I have to work hard at recognizing when I'm going overboard, and consciously make an effort to back off a bit.

I know you have talked to them both previously. What kinds of strategies did they come up with to deal with this problem? Why didn't those strategies work? Another problem solving session might be in order-identify the problem and see if all of you see it in the same way, discuss the strategies that have been tried and failed and assess why those failed, brainstorm for some new solutions, and set some ground rules (agreed on by all) for your son and your husband to follow that would help alleviate things when the tension gets too much. Concrete thinking and problem solving can be helpful when dealing with guys.

Good luck.

dbmamaz
12-02-2011, 08:45 AM
My husband helped Orion with math some when he wasn't working, and I had mixed feelings about it. I think the going back and forth between styles is hard. I wonder if you could define a more narrow role for your husband? Like, if you get stuck, he could step in to help. Oh, or for a while I got various math readers and had my husband read them to him as bedtime stories. I think dh really liked the . . ..ack, can't remember, a cat in a hotel w infinite rooms, was that the cat in number land? But didn't like others as much. If you can get them to have fun math interactions and you can just enforce that he does his daily work?

Pilgrim
12-02-2011, 09:54 AM
As with Shoe, it is the other way around here, with DW struggling initially with patience and strictness. The key with us is lots of communication. We discuss schooling and techniques daily, and now we are on the same page. Every day is different with activities starting and ending and DW's work being flexible/unpredictable, but we constantly talk. In the beginning she was like your DH: wanting to throw in the towel, claiming she just didn't have the patience. I told her that was a cop-out. Sure enough, with persistence, we all know the expectations and are comfortable now with switching teaching responsibilities. I don't like the activities, and she doesn't like the workbooks, but we approach it all with the same set of ideals.

camaro
12-02-2011, 10:08 AM
If I'm understanding correctly, the problem is with the "small stuff" and not the actual math instruction. If that's the case, perhaps define a common set of expectations for how work is presented across subjects. A couple of years ago we attended a HS convention where Andrew Pudewa from the Center for Excellence in Writing suggested that (for boys anyway) it's sometimes better to not worry about neatness so that it's easier for the child to let the ideas and creativity come out. Now, would this translate into math? I don't know, but it might be worth a try if he excels at math otherwise. With our oldest sometimes his lack of "style" caused errors in his calculations, so there has to be some neatness of course.

I guess we were fortunate in that there wasn't too much trouble with how my wife and I worked with our children, but I must admit we've moved more into unschooling so it's not really an issue anymore. Good luck!

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
12-02-2011, 10:51 AM
I'm not a dad, obviously, but I think it's an issue of inexperience on your husband's part. Learning how to teach effectively, with creativity, patience, and flexibility, takes practice and time. Those of us who have been doing the majority of the teaching could probably look back at the early days of homeschooling and see the mistakes we made and the frustration we felt. Gabriela, you may have learned to pick your battles and not sweat over every detail, but your husband may not have put in enough teaching hours to have learned that "his way" may not be the best.

My husband teaches our son Latin, and he too is finding that the way he envisions teaching it (basically going slowly through a high school textbook) may not be enjoyable for our son. I keep nudging my husband to find some way to make it more fun because I'm afraid my son is losing interest.

hockeymom
12-02-2011, 11:46 AM
I think those are great points, AMM. I'll definitely be watching this thread, because although currently DH doesn't do much of the teaching (seeing as he's the breadwinner and all and has to spend his day at work) the day will be coming soon enough that he'll have to take over for math. As it is, he's trying to take on a more active role for chemistry (which basically my son teaches to ME) and gentle guy-approved ((:) )pointers might help those sessions become less stressful for him.

We have such helpful men amongst us here!

Airen
12-02-2011, 12:10 PM
What Camaro said :D

My husband works crazy hours, but on the days he's not he enjoys doing DS's school with him. I spend the whole time biting my tongue and being in another room.

When it gets to the point that somone is about through a writing utensil and walk away, I step in. School is the only time DH and I agree that it's okay to gently countermand the other (read: I correct DH) in front of DS. I strictly tell DS that this is dad's time, and therefore it is dad's rules. There will be no backtalk. Then I gentlly remind DH that he is only 6, and his writing won't be up to par if he is concentrating so hard on thinking.

Good luck!! I don't think your DH realized "older" would only be six months. Silly smart kids :_laugh:

dragonfly
12-02-2011, 01:08 PM
I wonder if it would help if you "attended" math class along with your son? It might help to have someone "suffering" alongside him, and you could perhaps model a better way to react to dh's teaching methods. It might even change how dh teaches, having you there learning, too. Plus, you might get better at math yourself! :)

Gabriela
12-02-2011, 01:13 PM
I wonder if it would help if you "attended" math class along with your son? It might help to have someone "suffering" alongside him, and you could perhaps model a better way to react to dh's teaching methods. It might even change how dh teaches, having you there learning, too. Plus, you might get better at math yourself! :)

I hadn't thought of that.
It probably would make a huge difference. Ugh! and I wanted to have free time...
But yes, it's definitely worth a try.

Thanks everybody! I'll have dh read through these. All very helpful.

MarkInMD
12-02-2011, 10:10 PM
Lots of "ditto" from me on several things here. I agree that there should probably be a more standardized way of instruction between the two of you, so try to get him on board with what you're doing as far as structure, etc. However, I always appreciate it when I feel like I'm part of the process rather than just having an immovable edict delivered to me. You two are likely to have differing styles in some ways, obviously, so finding a happy medium that fits with all the other subjects should help. Guys like to have a say in things. :)

He also probably just needs some more practice with it, although I have to say that I can relate to the difficulty in relating to a certain age. I have no problem with Hurricane's level, but down on the kindergarten/first grade level with Tornado? It's a bit harder for me. But if he's willing to adjust to the difference in learning style, then hopefully it'll all work out.

And good for him for wanting to take an active role. Many dads of homeschooled kids choose not to, which I find unfathomable.

StephSchiff
12-09-2011, 08:06 PM
I know it doesn't help with the parenting angle, but printing out some large rule graph paper helps immensely with messy math. My son does the same thing and it drives me crazy, so I focused on place value using graph paper for a bit and it helped with neatness. When we were doing multi-digit addition and subtraction with carrying, it helped drive home the need for keeping things orderly. My husband CAN'T do much school related with my son, they would kill each other.

Jeni
12-12-2011, 05:44 PM
My dh gets really frustrated with dd too. We made it clear that she does what daddy says, we are two different people and sometimes we'll do things differently. She can't get an attitude over it. It's part of life, go with the flow.

She also does worse when I am around. She will start slacking off and playing around. Last week she busted out into tears two different days. So I try my hardest to just avoid them when they do lessons.

I don't find myself needing to correct dh much anymore. We are pretty much on the same page. If I do say something, it's not critical, it's more "Hey last week, I found that this worked really well" or something like that.

ponygirl
12-20-2011, 05:10 AM
My DH does none of the teaching as he finds teaching our children a struggle even though he is brilliant at teaching.
Math is not my strong suit so late in the evenings if I'm stuck like when I had to teach ds long division "Agh!" (my arch nemisis) He spent many hours teaching me or I should say reteaching me in a way I understood and then I was able to teach ds and I could answer all his questions and know all the answers. Funny he asked all the same questions I did. Although one night dh went in and woke ds to explain as I just didn't get it and even half asleep he got it and carried on the next day.

Graph paper is very helpful for neatening up Maths books. We used a 10mm. ruled book for maths for two years and it worked wonders. This year we ended up doing the work in the text book which didn't work so will be back to the graph paper next year.