The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather.
I’m a musician at heart. I love literature and history. Science excites me. I derive much joy from teaching these subjects to my children.
Math? Not so much.
When my children were little I found a lot of ways to make learning math fun and engaging. As my oldest approached middle school, I found that the math she was learning was math I could do. Explaining it effectively, however, was another matter.
We had tears, arguments, and many hard days all because of math.
This homeschool mom likes ACADEMIC CONTROL. I like to know what my children are learning and I like to be the one teaching it to them.
It felt like admitting failure if I couldn’t teach this subject to my child. I’m supposed to be a homeschool mom. We can do everything, right?
What about all those people that said, “How are you going to teach her math?”
Many times homeschooling has necessitated I swallow my pride, get on my knees, and do what is best for my child. (I love this about homeschooling – how much I am growing as a person in the process!)
I knew that if I could remove this one element from our homeschool day (for my oldest child in particular), our home would be a happier place and our relationship would be better as well. The goal is for my child to learn math well.
I started investigating options, and before I tell you what we’ve decided to do for this school year, I’ll share the different options with you.
- Online Math Instruction – There are several math programs out there that you can pay a fee for and your child receives their instruction online, from a computer. I had reviewed one of these last year and found that my child needed a physical teacher for interaction. Yes, I was there, but since I wasn’t working through the program with her it made answering questions difficult.
- CD-Rom Math Instruction - Perhaps the most popular program out there now is Teaching Textbooks. I know many homeschool families that use this program and rave about it. If you have a child who loves the computer and you want the instruction done for you, this may be for you. Once again, however, my own child really needs the personal relationship to make a subject come alive.
- Personal Tutoring – I called a couple of math tutors, but in the end it was cost prohibitive. My child doesn’t struggle with math, she just needs motivation (which she isn’t getting from me). I have a hard time paying big money for something if I can’t justify the expense.
- Homeschool Math Class – This is a very viable option in our community. We have a middle school and high school “academy” that meets once a week. The math class offered is a Saxon Math class. The teacher is really a tutor that guides my child with assignments, instruction, and grades. The responsibility still lies with the parents, but there is another adult to help guide us. Best of all, it is affordable and located in the same place (and on the same day) as our co-op.
Do you know which option I chose? Of course you do – the last one.
My daughter will be attending a homeschool math class this fall. I am excited about the possibilities for her, and I have to admit I’m breathing a sigh of relief knowing that I can outsource this one area.
Have you “outsourced” any areas of your child’s education? Was it hard for you? Was it a relief? What was your child’s reaction?
Mary is a former public school music educator and piano teacher with a masters degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. She is now a homeschooling mom of two. She seeks to learn and share about all things education! Visit her at Homegrown Learners.