This week marks 5 Days of Homeschool… hosted by The Schoolhouse Review blog. Once a year each of us takes an in depth look at a homeschooling concept. Last week I introduced the topic of helping your child in Elementary Math (primarily from a homeschooling standpoint).
Today’s topic is Mom (or Dad) and Math.
I’m coming at this from a personal standpoint. What has happened and is happening in our own little homeschool home.
Since about 3rd grade (my daughter is in 6th grade now) we have hit several hiccups in learning math. We use BJU Press Homeschool pretty exclusively and I supplement with occasional review items from our stint with The Homeschool Review Crew.
Things like Long Division, Multiplying Decimals, Subtracting Fractions, Multiplying Fractions, and Multiplying Decimals have given my poor sweet daughter a few sleepless nights (yes she agonizes over math).
Today is about what I have done with me (work with me if you can understand that sentence) to help my daughter.
To start helping my daughter with her math I first had to have a heart to heart with me!
- My attitude. Even though I may understand and think something is easy, I need to be patient with my daughter as she learns and grows. Her brain and understanding are still growing and what she may not understand today she may master tomorrow. Patience.
- How much hands on was I actually doing to help her. The time I take today will mean progress tomorrow. We can have math talks at any time of the day. One time she caught me watching the next day’s math lesson at 9pm at night, when she was supposed to be going to bed. Her brain had clicked and she was understanding better so right then and there she wanted to do this lesson. I chose to go with the moment and we did that math lesson at 9 at night. She did great!
- Progress, not perfection. I come from one of those math families where everyone has a degree in some kind of math sciency subject. Engineer here (dad, sister, brother in law), doctor there (cousin, brother in law), computer database genius (another cousin) and too much more. Ugh! By the way that’s not me. But being part of this kind of family I grew up feeling I had to have perfect grades in math. I don’t want that same pressure on my daughter. I want her to understand and then progress will come. So she missed 3 on the math test. Progress not perfection.
- Don’t overdo it. Hanging head in shame. Yes in the beginning I thought if we kept at it she would eventually get it and understand math. I’m not talking about every day. I’m talking about all day long. Just hammering at the subject! Ugh! Not! What I did come to realize was that the opposite was actually true. Sometimes the Sweet Peanut just needed a break. Mostly I’ve come to discover that during summer break my baby’s brain grows and expands and she comes back to homeschool with new understanding on formerly difficult subjects. So now we go through our lessons. If I see that light go out of her eyes we stop and it’s time for a break.
That’s right. Calm down and relax momma.
Many times our child’s anxiety about math can be related to how they think their parents will react if they don’t get perfect grades.
I’m a mom too. I know how much our wish for our child to succeed can blind us to what our children really need from us. They need warm understanding mom to tell them it will be okay. That while math may not get easier they will come to a point where they understand it better.
I know this was true in our own home. My dear daughter is surrounded by people for whom math came easy. She feared that I would be mad if she didn’t get a perfect A on her math tests. Luckily this was early on and I caught on right away that she feared disappointing me. I knew I had to respond differently than chastising her for the problems she got wrong. Instead I praise her for the ones she gets right.
Visit all the other great 5 Days of Homeschool… posts this happy Monday…