Pain Free Math for Homeschool Highschoolers

curriculum directoryYes, I know you are wondering… homeschooling highschoolers(wow! lots of syllables in that!)? Sure, not many homeschoolers think that they can do it… but in reality it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. There are some tricks to helping your highschooler make the most of their college years. Though many enjoy science and history- math can be the real hold. Although, not every homeschool parent is cut out to teach their high school student high school math, there are websites and online tutorials that can really make the job a simple one.

For example, at Let’s Homeschool HighSchool they have a  homeschool highschool curriculum that contains all of the required subject areas for highschool. From this web page there are links to all kinds of great curriculum options. We use this curriculum directory religiously!

One of my all time favorite websites for helping me teach my children math and science is Khan Academy. This site covers almost all math topics for the high school level and some of the topics for Chemistry and Physics. Your student can simply search for a topic at their website, and a few videos will pop up. You then choose which one looks to fit your needs and a very concise reteaching of that concept is presented within the video. Most often it is enough to bring about true comprehension of the topic. Sometimes it is just the fact that someone else words the concept in a slightly different way. Whatever it is, it works.

Another great tool for high school math learning without a headache is the new Time4Learning High School component. They have all of the needed maths for highschool level learning, and each is presented with a video and interactive learning. These are high quality and fun! These are useful for the main core curriculum of your homeschool math.

Finally, I love using ALEKS math as a high school course if the student is wanting to take it for dual credit. You see, you can register and take an ALEKS course such as College Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Trigonometry, PreCalculus, and Statistics and when you finish you can transfer the course to ACE (American Council on Education) which will hold the credit until which time you are ready to transfer it to the college you student will attend. You just need to be sure to transfer the course and get confirmation from ACE before starting a new course with ALEKS. ALEKS does not keep records!

Which Middle School Math is right for Us?

middle school mathYour child just finished up sixth grade and now you are faced with decisions of how to prepare them for what they need to take in high school and beyond. It can be a daunting task, and let me tell you… it’s just the beginning.  Before you know it, you’ll be making high school decisions, and then college decisions. It goes too fast… but I digress…

How do you decide what to teach your Middle School students? From simple machines to art curriculum… it’s hard to know what they should be taking! Well, as I always say… refer to their strengths. Determine which areas they do awesome in and which areas they just “cover.” Those “strong” areas are where you should be putting your attention. For some reason, many people think our children should be masters of everything. I don’t… challenge their strengths for those are the areas that they will more than likely develop and follow in their pursuit of a career.

With that in mind, determine if your student is strong in math or not. From there you can decide if you want to go basic math all the way through high school. If you child is gifted in language abilities, there isn’t anything wrong with just covering what they need in the math area. On the flip side, you should be challenging the stew out of them in their “strong” areas!

1) Slower math learners should stick with the basic seventh grade math, eighth grade math and then basic high school algebra.

2) Typical math students could do either seventh or eighth grade math in their seventh grade year, pre algebra in their eighth grade year, and then Algbebra I in high school.

3) Faster math learners should definitely be challenged, and we as parents should help them in this! They can easily take eighth or pre algebra in seventh grade, and algebra I in eighth grade, thus allowing them to take more advanced maths throughout high school.

If you have experienced this with your own children, please comment and share with us!

Homeschool Math – Manic Mania or Amazing?

Homeschooling math can be fun or frenzy. There are always topics that even the most gifted math students have trouble with. What do you do when your homeschool students have trouble with something?

My first response is to reteach the whole lesson. This is usually my go to method. I’ll reteach the lesson in a different manner than the first time I taught it in order to make sure that I cover everything in a comprehensive manner.

Another approach is to go through the lesson again with the use of manipulatives. Using manipulatives to make connections to real world applications can make all the difference.

A third option is to actually take the math to the real world. Find some way that you can immerse the child into a project based method of learning. This is a great way to make the math “real.”

Finally, learning math facts as part of a foundation of understanding can be very beneficial in building upon those foundational math facts. Make sure that kids know their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts and math will be a bit more easy to build upon.

Just Don’t Push It!

homeschool math, homeschooling, math, math learningOk, I confess… I love math. I love teaching math, doing math, and even learning new math! I get excited when I see how things always work together in a methodical manner. Math presents me with puzzles that are just waiting to be solved. I love it so much, I want to show others how great it is… and I want them to love it too!

Transfer that to our homeschool… I have been teaching my kids math concepts since they were still sitting in my lap. We play math puzzles, we do tangrams, we make pictures by solving math problems. It’s so much fun… at least that’s what I thought. Can you imagine how horrified I was when my oldest two children informed me that they did not like math! They are saying terrible things like, “I hate math” and “Math really stinks.” Words that almost bring me to tears.

Well, how do we handle this obvious disapointment in our homeschooling endeavors? I know what the correct answer is, but it still doesn’t lesson the sadness of not passing on my love of math to my children. I know that if I push math too hard – and trust me I have tried not to by majorly restraining the natural passion I have for the subject – I can cause math anxiety in my children. I really have tried to make homeschool math fun over the years for my kids without pressuring them into doing math constantly. (Ok… don’t believe me… but I really did try!) So, now I am trying to rethink what I should do for my 4 younger children.  I think I am definitely adopting the manta, “Don’t Push It.”

I have always tried to foster and encourage the strengths that I see arising in my children. Over the years we’ve taken photography classes and music lessons, but when their weaknesses rise to my attention I don’t want to focus on them. I try to address them, and educate them through the weakness. I also try to help them overcome and difficulties, but I don’t want to focus on the weakness. So, at this stage of the game… the “I hate Math” highschoolers are still taking their state required high school math courses, but we just aren’t pushing for math lovers! (Though I’m still holding out hope for the last 4… )

Homeschool Math Doesn’t Have to be a Headache!

Homeschool math drill and practiceAh… the infamous math class… a bit disturbing even for the veteran homeschool parent! But don’t despair there are some awesome homeschool helps out there that really make learning/teaching math a cinch.

First of all… keep a good attitude about math. Your child imitates everything you do… even your attitudes. So, if we have a bad attitude about math that can easily be transferred to our children. When in reality math hatred isn’t genetic… your child could be a physicist even if you hate math! 🙂

When you set out to plan your math instruction, you first need to be aware of how your child learns. Designing your math study around this can make all the difference in the world. If your child does well with abstract thinking, you may be able to use an independent study math program. However, if your child needs a little more interest led learning using a hands on program such as Math-U-See may help. Finally, if your student just gets bored and easily distracted with learning math a curriculum that is highly motivating, engaging and fun might be the answer… and Time4Learning has you covered with homeschool math.

When I teach math, and I teach it in many ways and using several different curriculums… I usually want to include some drill and practice. Just writing down math facts or answering questions with a pen and pencil isn’t fun. Yet, doing some computer math drill and practice can make a big difference. For some reason, when a child is playing a game… they really don’t feel like they are learning or working. This is my favorite way to teach… be sneaky! Sneak in that learning while they are having fun and it is all relatively painless… even enjoyable!

Mathematics Tips for Elementary Students

Many people use developed or prepackaged materials for math study. This is often beneficial when the parent really has no inclination towards math. Yet, is using just a math curriculum enough? Math is the subject that teaches us to reason logically. It is what gives way to abstract thought. So, a basic curriculum might not have all the application your child needs. Here are a few tips to bring it all together.

Use manipulatives to give your children concrete representations of mathematical concepts. They can be purchased or made (wooden stick, beans, counting charts, etc.).
Children should be able to quickly rattle off basic math facts. These facts are the foundation of higher mathematical thinking.
Make mathematical charts and games. Conduct surveys and compile the data.
Use the various tools that mathmaticians use such as calculators, weights, measures graphs, and spreadsheets.
Give them real life practice handling money. Don’t just give your child money, give them opportunities to earn money.
Practice estimating answers to math problems when you’re out at the store, restaurants, yard sales, etc.
Study an instrument. Music is essentially mathematical.
Play strategy games such as cards, dominoes, hink pink games, checkers, and chess. Logical reasoning and math skills will greatly benefit.