• Teaching Your Child Math ~ When Math is Challenging!

    screenshot-2019-04-30-8-34-22-pm-png There are 2 ways to look at math. Either “Math sucks” or “Math is fun”! I myself am a “math sucks” person. I have a Math block (as it was called in the 70’s and 80’s). Basic math is fine. I can add, subtract, multiply, figure out how much paint we need, balance my checkbook, etc. You start adding letters and symbols to it and my brain becomes scrambled eggs. I made it fine through pre-Algebra. It made sense. It wasn’t easy but I got it. Algebra…. Algebra hates me. I hate it. I know hate is a strong word but that is the only feeling I have for Algebra, HATE. I took it every semester for my sophomore, junior and senior year in high school. I graduated with A’s in every class except math. Math is my nemesis. It was even the word “mathematics” that knocked me out of getting 1st place in my 6th grade spelling bee. Math hated me even then….

    Fast-forward to 2008, my oldest is in 6th grade and we have issues with public schooling and suddenly we are homeschoolers! GREAT! WAHOO! But wait, what about math? Can I do it? Can I teach him? Will he suffer? And unfortunately this child, has the same math block that his Mom does.

    Guess what? I could and did! I taught him AND his brother AND they can do more than use their fingers and toes to count! Not that there is a problem using fingers and toes to count, I still do it! LOL

    We used an online curriculum as our main choice. It worked for us and my boys thrived on it. The fact that we could repeat anything we did not understand until it clicked was the key. The idea that we could adjust our math grade level to better practice math skills rocked. And fortunately for us, my younger son is a math prodigy. If we really needed a better explanation, he would help his brother (and Mom) understand it.

    We didn’t just rely on our online curriculum though. After several goes at Algebra, I knew he was like me, trying to get past that block and understand Algebra was just not going to happen. We focused on basic skills instead. Life skills. The math that kids SHOULD be taught, whether in public school or homeschooled. Whether math challenged or math prodigies, these are skills that are important.

    • Balancing your checkbook
    • Writing a check(you never know)
    • Taxes
    • Filling out forms and adding columns
    • Measuring a room for paint, carpet or tile
    • Planning a trip; figuring out mileage
    • Understanding how to figure percentages for loans
    • Doubling a recipe.

    Math life skills.

    We used free resources like Khan Academy and printable worksheets. I searched both online and in our local teacher store for workbook resources. I would give them the challenge of planning our family vacation. Figure route, miles, mileage to estimate gas needed, budget for food, gas, extras. I showed them bills, how I pay bills, how bills are figured. Taxes. We did basic tax sheets, estimated taxes when we went shopped on trips in other States (we live in Oregon, no sales tax!).

    Suddenly, being math challenged and teaching my math challenged child wasn’t so scary. I had help, I had resources. I am proud to say, he is a young adult and, while still math challenged, he can do basic skills and do them well. He balances his checkbook, he keeps track of his expenses, he helps do his taxes, he adds up the grocery cart as we go along. He has no vision of ever being a rocket scientist and that is OK. He battled math and WE won! Don’t fear the math.
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