### Mathematics and Homeschooling

Seems to me that every math textbook has an interminably long "review" period.  I would understand where a teacher, new to a class of 26 or so students, would need to go through a time of review to ensure that all the children are up to speed before proceeding with the year's work.  I also imagine that most textbooks are written with the public schooler or new homeschooler (who might need a review period before embarking on new material) in mind.

But I'm noticing especially now that Emperor is getting close to beginning pre-algebra that the seventh grade textbook is following a pattern of 1) long review period, 2) regular work, normal pace, 3) crazy-paced advanced "additional topics" section.

Right now, we're in the crazy-paced advanced "additional topics" section.  It's nuts.  Within a week, the kid learned exponential notation, Pythagorean theorem, working with inequalities and using negative numbers in basic algebraic equations.  It just seems an odd sideways jump from probabilities and tax rate calculation, though I'm sure the textbook makers know what they are doing.

Much of Emperor's trouble, I'm discovering, is his difficulty in SLOWING DOWN long enough to write some basic information down.  He still can't seem to take a minute to line up his numbers before multiplying.  He was ok doing much of this in his head, but now we're at the point where (with decimals and whatnot) we really, really need to write our numbers down.  Apparently copying the problem onto another sheet of paper (lined, turned sideways so we can have "columns") is too much work.  It's better just to type answers into the computer without checking anything!  I guess "just knowing" the answer has worked for him up until now, but he had a period there where he would totally bomb grade-wise.  About three lessons have grades of 62-75.

I cannot IMAGINE setting this boy off on a multiple-choice test.  I know him.  He would fill in circles just because.  I made him back away from the computer (and hence, the permanent gradebook) and fill his answers into the notebook.  Then I checked them.  I was expecting a huge number of errors... but I didn't find them.  I guess getting away from the keyboard made him slow down?

I'd be interested to hear what other teachers (homeschool or classroom) think and how they've worked to solve similar problems.

1. I've never used the computer to
teach math with, but I can speak
to the kid who would rather not
show their work.

Daniel was this kid. He did not understand why showing his work
was important if he could do it
all in his head. It was not
logical, you understand. ;)

I pointed out that I could not
help him if I could not see where
he'd gone wrong. That did help.
I also pointed out that Algebra
the process. Kind of like
creating a piece of art. Being
Daniel, he got that.

If I had a problem with a kid
who was in a rush to do his work and it was causing him to make
mistakes, I'd stop giving him
all his work at once. Probably
just three to five problems at
at a time. If they complain, I'd
tell them that this method saves
us both some unnecessary work-
me grading an entire page with
sloppy errors on it and them from
having to go back and correct
said errors.

2. My eldest daughter has the same problem, though she's quickly seeing the light as we enter more difficult math situations. I think what REALLY helped, however, was a problem we both did last week. While she did her math to figure out the answer to my obscure question, I scratched out some math of my own while also trying to teach the younger daughter's questions and make dinner. Of course, we came up with different answers.

We went through her math, first, to look for errors. (After all, she's 8 and new to the day's concepts, right?) We DID find one, but while it changed her ultimate answer, ours still didn't match. Next up, going through my work, shown clearly on the page. Er...there's a problem. Oh, and look, another one. Mom royally messed up, but we were able to find it all without having to retool the ENTIRE solution ALL BECAUSE WE SHOWED OUR WORK. This may have cured her...time will tell. :) GOOD LUCK!

### Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK.

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series.

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

### Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

### Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap!

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D!

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: