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Failing Math in Public School

One mother contacted me because her daughter is failing math in the public school system.   She is considering homeschooling.

I understand that you are very concerned, but it's a complicated thing to talk about by email.  I encourage you to seek as much help as you need, and educate yourself about homeschooling high school.  For more information, consider signing up for my free email newsletter, taking my free mini-course, and getting my video, Preparing to Homeschool High School.

Step one for failing math would be evaluating.  To determine at what grade level your daughter really works, you can print this test to give to her:

Once you know where she SHOULD be in math, then you can look at curriculum that is actually at her level.  Try to find a math program that speaks in a way  that she can understand.  See my blog post on comparing math choices.

If you start homeschooling, she will be learning at her level, using curriculum that she understands.  Public schools are getting worse and worse with math instruction, so I'm not surprised she is lost.  Even people who have a major in math can be confused by some of the curriculum that public schools are using!  She shouldn't feel badly!  But do try to find out what level she is, and teach at her level. Once she is successful, she will probably be able to do algebra 1 to your satisfaction.

State laws vary so much, that I can't really say if algebra is required for you or not. You can Google your state name plus the word "homeschool" to get more information.

In general, for beginning homeschoolers I usually recommend Sonlight Curriculum.  Another consultant has written an article for beginners.  See if it will help you.  I like more concrete examples, but if you need encouragement, I think it's pretty good.

You may also want to look over my previous articles on homeschooling high school.

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Comments 1

Guest - J W on Sunday, 19 October 2008 09:23

Oh, my! There are so many issues with math, this mom really does need some personal one-on-one time. As a quick "band-aid," though, I'll offer a bit of my own advice.

First off, math isn't my passion or gift. However, my husband is brilliant at it and loves it. We share responsibilities. He and I both have come up with fun arithmetic games. Enthusiasm is caught, not taught. I am not enthusiastic about math, unless I am playing a game or using it in real life. My husband is enthusiastic about all of it. He thinks playing with numbers is fun. I rely mostly on him to keep us going. We agree together on learning strategies and curriculae.

Knowing your kid is essential. I have two struggling math learners who would never, ever do well in a classroom setting. We tweak, pull, pinch, and mold their curriculae like clay, so don't bother asking what we use. We don't really use it the way the publishers intended. The best thing to do for math is to be as involved as possible, and to not be afraid to step away from the standards.

I hate boxes and labels, but they're worth looking into when coming up with a teaching strategy. Here are some I've found more or less useful:

right brained audio
right brained visual
right brained kinesthetic

left brained audio
left brained visual
left brained kinesthetic

Good luck to the mom!

Oh, my! There are so many issues with math, this mom really does need some personal one-on-one time. As a quick "band-aid," though, I'll offer a bit of my own advice. First off, math isn't my passion or gift. However, my husband is brilliant at it and loves it. We share responsibilities. He and I both have come up with fun arithmetic games. Enthusiasm is caught, not taught. I am not enthusiastic about math, unless I am playing a game or using it in real life. My husband is enthusiastic about all of it. He thinks playing with numbers is fun. I rely mostly on him to keep us going. We agree together on learning strategies and curriculae. Knowing your kid is essential. I have two struggling math learners who would never, ever do well in a classroom setting. We tweak, pull, pinch, and mold their curriculae like clay, so don't bother asking what we use. We don't really use it the way the publishers intended. The best thing to do for math is to be as involved as possible, and to not be afraid to step away from the standards. I hate boxes and labels, but they're worth looking into when coming up with a teaching strategy. Here are some I've found more or less useful: right brained audio right brained visual right brained kinesthetic left brained audio left brained visual left brained kinesthetic Good luck to the mom!
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