Sometimes teaching can be frustrating. Kids can seem to be actively trying not to learn what we are trying to teach them. Handwriting, for instance, is a very frustrating thing for me to teach. I gave up on trying to teach it, because I became such a grumpy bear when I tried. I started buying Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting workbooks, and I tell the kids to follow the directions and make their writing look like what is on the page.
It works out pretty well. All of my older kids write well enough that people can read their writing. And some of them actually have beautiful handwriting. They can if they want to. Some of them don’t care much about it. And that’s ok, too. I always say, “As long as it’s legible, that’s good enough.”
Now another subject that I find difficult to teach is Math. I don’t lose patience as much as I used to when explaining concepts that they have difficulty with, but I kind of do the same thing with Math as I do with Handwriting. I let somebody else teach it. I’ve been using CTC Math for the last year. It is working well for 3 or 4 of my kids. They don’t do it as consistently as they should, so that’s why I’m not sure about the 4th one.
The reason I’m writing about this is that I saw a mom on a Facebook forum who was complaining about her child not understanding “borrowing” in Math. She was extremely frustrated with this child and thinking about sending him/her to public school. I could tell from the language she used that she didn’t really understand the concept of “borrowing” herself. I can see how this would lead to a lot of frustration on her part and on the part of her child.
I think a mother in this situation should learn how to teach this concept by gaining an understanding of the concept of 10’s and 1’s herself. She should learn about manipulatives that she can use in teaching Math. In short, she needs to educate herself.
If you, as a homeschool mom, find a topic that is difficult for your child, and you really don’t understand it yourself or can’t get across to your child the meaning or how to do it, then you should find someone else who can.
Repeating the same words over and over or making the child do the same problem over and over or sit there until they have come up with the right answer is not profitable to either one of you.
Don’t be proud or ashamed or anything else!
Just find some videos online that explain it or ask your husband or friends or look for Math websites. Do something to get a different explanation of how to do it. For the sake of your child and your relationship, try something different.
Math is one of those subjects that has been very difficult for me to find the right curriculum for each child. You may have to try different ones for each child. Really pray about it, check out reviews of curriculum, observe your child and see how they learn easiest and best, and ask other homeschoolers about the curriculum they use.
But, please, whatever you do, don’t let your relationship with your child be destroyed or harmed by the inability of your child to understand a Math concept or to remember a process.
They may not even be able to do it your way. They may have to figure out their own way to do it. Let them do it. This is not a test! This is not public school. It’s not one size fits all.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
Your relationship with your child will always be more important than their Math progress. Or any other academic accomplishment.