WOW! that gave me a breath of fresh air...I haven't been teaching math for a long time and was letting them "learn" it on their own....They have always tested well. Now as two of my children are in High School the pressure is ON! And this little blog helped me to breath easy...
This post was written almost a year ago, and I'm SO glad that it helped you today! My husband and I were talking about this topic just this weekend, at the convention. One "expert" was saying that you should never show your children the answer key. Huh??? That's how my kids learned physics, Latin, calculus - and went on to engineering school! We simply could NOT have done it without that strategy!
Do what works, Michelle! Do what works!
Thank you for that message. I needed that today. Sometimes I do get frustrated, lost, and intimidated by all the things on the list for a homeschooling mom of kids of many ages. I just need to step back and remember to be consistent with my prayer and personal preparation time, and all things will fall into place. I need to nurture my faith! Thanks for reminding me of that.
I appreciate your messages of wisdom and encouragement.
I agree that students need to be able to digest the material from the textbooks to some extent on their own, but college profs actually explain a lot of what is in the textbook. The best methodology for college is: read ahead, then you are better prepared to understand the lecture, then review your notes and read ahead for the next lecture.
I think the sciences are particularly important in this way. Having a "teaching" format for them means that the students get a better chance to discuss and get a deeper understanding of the material. When I don't "teach" it to them myself, I don't have the context to have that kind of intelligent discussion that they need.
Great points! Reading ahead is a real key for success in college.
In many university courses, the professor will lecture on some concepts but other concepts are learned from reading the textbook. At the college level, professors rarely repeat anything in the book. It's important for students to learn from watching someone speak (in a lecture) and learn from books (like a textbook.) At large colleges, freshman classes will have hundreds of students will little possibility of discussion. I think it's good to be prepared either way. But like everything, take what will work for your family.
Your advice here is priceless for moms considering homeschooling high school students. Parents seem to think that they need to be brilliant at every subject that their kids need to learn.
I have always thought that we just need to be good at keeping them motivated and pray a lot!
Thanks for the great advice, as always!
I'm just new to your wedsite. As an Australian mum homeschooling 2 highschoolers (sitting down for breakfast while you're probably all asleep over there!), I can feel a little isolated sometimes. Geographically, people are further apart here.
But thanks for reminding me that the
issues are the same anywhere. When I stick to facilitating a good work/study environment for my 2 teens, they are much more self disciplined in their approah to study. Im a much nicer person to be around too!
Blessings from Aussie Land
This idea of NOT teaching your homeschool child brought my 8th grader's interest back into math. We were having a continual struggle with trying to teach him math, and he hated it. Finally, I told him about your idea - he was to teach himself. We bought a math book he picked out, and we help when needed. But now he's learning algebra easily with no struggles and no fights with mom. It feels like a ground breaking concept to me.
I also realized that most of what my husband and I currently do for our careers hadn't been around when we were in school -- such as the entire web, most of the programming languages, shopping carts, online business, etc. So we learned it on our own. Our kids are going to have to be able to teach themselves just to stay up with the current technologies.
I'm so glad I read your post today! I have stated the very same things, numerous times, to my family. For a few years now, my teens have been teaching themselves. As you said, I have no clue what those math symbols are, but I can see if the answers match those of my students. I allow my students access to the teacher's manual as well - it's been the best way for them to learn.
Also, I feel like my whole day is "out'a whack" when I don't get my quiet prayer and devotional reading in for the morning. I believe my time with the Lord each morning is what keeps me going, keeps the attitude straight, and just gives me strength.
Your article is extra confirmation that I'm doing O.K. as a home school Mom. Sometimes it's nice to hear that it's O.K. not to force 'school at home' - and just have fun with it and let the kids pursue their own interests - learning all the while.
Thanks again for your encouragement.
I've been reading the blogs about 'not' teaching your children. We have the opposite problem. My son is starting the 9th grade and has had problems in Math, teaching himself. After a year or so of bumping heads in the subject, we had him do Math online last year so he could be more in control. It went okay, but he wasn't doing the equations on paper (much)like I told him he should (therefore he wasn't learning the formulas/patterns). He mostly could do them in his head. So when the problems got a bit harder, he didn't do so well and got stumped. I think turning them loose to teach themselves is a process. I thought he was ready.. but he wasn't as ready to go solo as I'd thought. Now, we're starting again with me helping explain the lesson, making sure he writes the problems out and understands the process. Letting him explain the lessons to me and then showing me how they are done will be my goal for this coming year. I don't want to 'teach' him Math this year, I long for him to be more independent, but what option do I have? If he isn't naturally self motivated in Math, he has to be taught. I know he has self discipline because he's an accomplished violinist. He says Math just isn't his thing. Any suggestions?
Try having your son choose his own curriculum. Sometimes the one mom chooses just isn't the right fit. Here is a blog post on some ideas for math:
I am glad you suggested that, because HE chose to go with Jacob's Elem. Algebra this year, from several options. The conversational style and the interesting way the lessons are introduced will (I am hoping) hold his attention better than just dry instructions and a page of problems. I want him to see Math as applicable to his life and think this is just what the 'doctor ordered'!
Amen! Thank you for this. My sons taught themselves Physical Science, Physics and Biology this past year and did great. What a blessing. Once in a while that feeling creeps in that I should be teaching this material. It's nice to hear the confirmation. You are right they must learn to learn. Thank God they are.
I totally agree with everything you have said about children teaching themselves at the high school level. Something that hasn't been brought out yet (but you have addressed it in other blogs)is the fact that you need to choose a curriculum that is "self-teaching." A lot of popular home school curriculum are actually created for a classroom setting. I used one for a while for all my subjects and just about totally burned out because of the load on me, and the fact that my child and I butted heads constantly. Luckily, it was in the junior high years and not in high school. When I found that there was curriculum such as Apologia Science that speaks directly to the student so that they can teach themselves from the textbook, I was elated! My child learns best by teaching anyway, so why not have her teach herself? She will do much better that way. I think it is wiser to spend your time as a homeschooling mom doing research into what curriculum you should use rather than trying to learn a subject and teach it to your child. I have had a burden lifted from me by doing this, and my child is pretty much a totally independent learner. I just keep her on task and tell her what she can get by with and what she can't...because that's what a mom does! Thank you so much for all your wisdom that you share with us about being a homeschooling mom.
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