Thanks for the e-mail. Even though I'm a few years away from high school yet I know it will come before I know it. I don't know if you can offer any help but I thought I'd ask any way. My oldest is 11 and technically will be entering 6th grade next year which is middle school as you know, my concern is that I'm at a point where I no longer am comfortable or competent to teach him and was considering enrolling him in public school for math only. I can't afford a tutor and I really don't want him to suffer because of my lack of knowledge in this area. I was never a math wiz and it's been a tough year for me helping him get through this year. My husband does two days a week and he grew up in a foreign country where they learned quite differently then here, so any tips you can offer would be helpful. Thanks,Sharyn
You need to know that EVERYONE loses it in math. I had calculus in college and *I* lost it in math after geometry. You're not usual, and your not putting your child at a disadvantage. He will not suffer!
You need to know that our goal is to help our children learn how to learn. That means that in high school, you really want your kids to learn math (more or less) by themselves. You can still provide a quality education in math even though you don't know the content yourself. My son is very mathematical, and he learned algebra 2, pre-calculus AND calculus without any help from me at all! After a while, I didn't even know what the symbols meant anymore! So really, no matter what level your child is at, it's possible learn math independently.
It can help if you buy curriculum designed for homeschoolers. It will assume that the parents know nothing, and it's usually written to the student. For upper math, you can choose a video curriculum like Saxon with DIVE CDs, or Teaching Textbooks, or VideoText. These will allow your student to continue learning at home, and learn exactly at their level, while still being instructed from someone who understands the concepts.
In general, it can really help to invest your financial resources in your weak areas. If you identify that math is your weak area, then I would focus your money there. Strength areas will usually take care of themselves, and can usually be supplemented in the library or through other family activities. Weak areas are different - we don't naturally find the opportunities in our weak areas the way that we do in our strength areas. So I would advise that you spend money on math curriculum first. I think Saxon with DIVE is the most reasonably priced of the options I listed above.
In some states and counties, part time enrollment is an option for upper math classes (as well as other subjects.) These classes aren't always a panacea, and you need to think the issues through when you are considering them. The biggest issue that I see with public school classes is the "conveyor belt" mentality. In other words, once your student starts in the class, it moves along at the same rate as the bulk of the students. Your student may be faster or slower than average and end up either bored or frustrated and lost. It's an important issue to consider. Thankfully, as the parent you will know what is best for your child.
I hope that thoroughly answers your question. Let me know if you need more help!
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