Teach, Teaching Homeschoolers , Struggling Student

When You’re NOT Smart Enough To Teach Your Child

My first job out of college was a second grade math teacher. Second grade, friends… SECOND grade! I emphasize this because when I told my parents what I was hired to do, they laughed and said “Are you sure?” Math is not my forte’. I have had more than a handful of embarrassing situations come up over the years where I have proven this fact to more than just my family. I blame it on being raised as a “military brat” and never having a consistent education, but it doesn’t really matter, the fact is I’m terrible at it.

Oh, and I’m a homeschooling mom.

Homeschool Teaching, Struggling Student

When all my children were younger it didn’t really matter so much that I wasn’t great at math. It doesn’t take much to get through multiplication and division, {even the dreaded, pull your hair out long division.} But now that my oldest is entering high school it just got real around here. You see, she struggles with math as well. Math hurts her brain. She is amazingly creative, a great writer, and the jack of all trades but she didn’t master multiplication until the middle of 8th grade.

The problem: 

All of my children used Math U See from the beginning. I loved the program. It was working for us, until it wasn’t. I don’t believe jumping around to different curriculums is a great idea. My educational upbringing has taught me this, if nothing else. But we got to a point where it just wasn’t working for her. I loved that the lessons were taught on DVD and that concepts were reinforced to mastery, but she just wasn’t getting it. I finally threw my hands up in the air and waved the white Math U See flag. And because we were mid-year I didn’t want to purchase another full curriculum that I wasn’t familiar with, so I put her on Khan Academy and we got her a tutor.

What do you do, when you can’t teach your children? 

We can’t know everything. The best thing that we CAN know as homeschooling parents is our limitations when it comes to teaching our children. I never want my pride to be the reason our children don’t achieve their full potential. It’s okay to throw in the towel and try something different. So if you feel stuck or helpless with a subject that you are having a hard time teaching,  here are a few ideas to get you thinking about solutions.

  1. Put your student in an online class. There are hundreds of classes for every subject that are available.
  2. Check with your local community college. If you have a Junior High or High School student, many of them offer courses to homeschoolers.
  3. Supplement what they are doing with outside sources or books.
  4. Get a Tutor.  Tutors can be expensive, especially on a homeschool budget but you can offer to trade services or do a barter.
  5. Trade teaching with another homeschooling parent. Maybe she is great at writing and you are great at math.
  6. Enroll your student in a university style program where they take core classes at school and do the work at home.
  7. Find someone who is retired that is willing to spend some time working with your student.
  8. Ask your local library, community center, boys and girls club if they have tutoring times.
  9. Enroll your student in a program like Sylvan learning Center to get them caught up.
  10. Move them down a level or grade in that subject area until they are at a place where they understand and then work along side of them to get them caught back up.
  11. Use a program like Reading Kingdom or A plus Adaptive Math Curriculum to get them caught up.
  12. Pray. Pray that the Lord would put just the right resources and people in your path to help you get your child where they need to go. There is nothing harder for a parent then to see their child struggle. You got this. You ARE your child’s best teacher and advocate. Outsourcing a class or two is not a sign of failure, it’s a sign of wisdom.

If there has been a subject that you have struggled with, what have you done to get through it? 

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