Been There; Done That

By Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor

Unfortunately, my kids can relate to hating math. In the past, I have been far from encouraging; I have been frustrated every time I had to re-explain a problem. I was a hard taskmaster and made them do every problem on every page, every day, until there were tears in their eyes. My bright math student began to hate math because she got it without doing all the repetitious problems—but I made her do them all anyway. One of my sons was pushed through three books of a curriculum that about killed him and he wasn’t learning a thing. Great homeschooling mom that I am, I nearly ruined my kid’s math education.

I finally began to rethink things. I put my struggler through a block learning set of books (Developmental Math) for the subjects he needed help with and then found a curriculum that he could understand because it used real-life math applications and explained every single problem (Teaching Textbooks). It fit his personality. For the other older ones, I purchased computer CDs to go along with the math books they were using so that they could have a personal tutor every day (Saxon Math with DIVE CDs). On some busy days, I even let them do only the even or odd problems and be done. Can you believe it?

Do they really need more of that same thing, or can they move on now? Be encouraging each time they get to a new level. Celebrate achievements such as mastering their times tables (Times Tales [www.TriggerMemorySystem.com] and Wrap-Ups [learningwrapups.com] have been a great help.) Stay in the basic facts until they really get them before you force them to move on. (I have used CalcuLadders for this in the younger grades.) It only gets harder and more frustrating if they don’t get the basics down really well. Keep exploring new ways of teaching.

If your kids hate any subject, stop, reevaluate your teaching methods and curriculum, then pray and ask God for wisdom and direction. He is faithful to answer our prayers for wisdom.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor for TOS, editor of the Schoolhouse Support E-Newsletter, wife to Richard, and mom to eight gifts from heaven. She loves digging for buried treasure in the Word, reading, writing, homeschooling and dark chocolate!

Copyright 2010. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Spring 2010. Used with permission. Visit them at theoldschoolhouse.com. For all your homeschool curriculum needs visit the Schoolhouse Store.