Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mentally Anguished Over Math………Again!




Twenty-five years later and I’m pulling my hair out, again, over……MATH!  The last time I had to suffer through the experience of math lessons was College Algebra.  And yes, that was 25 years ago.  Once I got through that I swore I would NEVER darken Math’s door again.  EVER.  I’ve been able to keep that promise to myself all this time.  Of course, I had no way of knowing I’d have a child 25 years later (since I didn’t want children at the time) and even less way of knowing I would be homeschooling that child one day. 
 

Exasperation sums it all up rather nicely, I think.  I’m exasperated, Punky is exasperated….and my hubby….well, we hide this from him.  See, he’s one of those that believes since we homeschool, Punky should already be doing Pre-Algebra level math which is a far cry from where she is.  I would say, if we are really honest about this, she is around Grade 3…..possibly 4th with her math skills.  That would be a very unconfident, shaky Grade 3….(possible 4th).


I suck at math.  I am the absolute WORST at math.  I hated it then and I hate it today.  The only math I find worthy of my time is the kind that involves money.  Yet, I hate accounting too….so go figure.  I can add (even in my head if the numbers aren’t too  big), subtract, multiply, and divide as long as we are talking about positive, whole numbers.  I understand the basic operations of life, for example I can calculate percentages – that’s helpful when calculating my savings for sale items (see?  That involves money).  I can do basic fractions (recipes helped me there) and decimals.  I understand time and length measurements.  Perimeter and Area I can do….usually.  I guess I’m decent at what I refer to as living skills math.  That’s it.  Don’t ask me to perform any greater math function that that.  I can’t do it and it’s partially why I married my husband – he’s the math whiz with his Calculus 17 and Physics 12 level college classes. 

Now, despite the fact that I’m horribly wretched at math, I like to solve puzzles.  As long as there isn’t some set formula required to do so.  I like word problems.  Not crazy ass ones like one train leaves at a certain time heading North at xx speed and another train leaves at a certain time heading South at xx speed and you are asked when will they collide in Kansas City, type questions.  Word problems that require more critical thinking skills to decide on a strategy for solution and then basic math operations are used to arrive at a solution are what I like.  I taught myself, by the way, to solve these.  Nary a  math teacher ever got jack-shit through to me in all my years in ‘public education’.  My grandmother taught me the math skills I have and she was a money-oriented miser (God bless her).

So *I*, of course, having sucked at math in school and remember the horrid feeling I had when asked to perform the most basic of math skills on tests, felt that *I* would be the best person to teach Punky who clearly inherited that portion of my DNA known as the “Missing Math chromosome”. 

Sigh.  I believe it’s just about time I admit defeat.  I may need to find a tutor.  I can’t seem to discover the key to unlock Punky’s brain so that Math makes sense!

 
If there are any veteran homeschooler’s out there that have a story about how their child finally got math much later than ‘normal’, I would LOVE to hear from you!  Punky was a ‘late’ reader, she didn’t really start reading until she was 7 and I was fine with that because I believed she would in her own time.  I’m just having a very difficult time accepting that she can’t grasp, on a continual basis, basic math operations.  I don’t know if she’ll ever just ‘get it’, if I were to leave her alone and wait.

So for now I’ll sign off as………Mentally Anguished Over Math (Again)!

~Mari B.

5 comments:

  1. Have you looked at Christian Light Education? While Caleb still doesn't "get" it and may never, he's doing better with this than with any other program. It's a no frills, no color, basic skills math. There's review built in daily, too, which is so needed with him. Heck, he still forgets stuff, but you know what, I make him do the work. Then, I check it, and we go over any wrong answers. He can usually figure out what he did wrong, so that's progress. Since I LOVE math and am decent at it, it boggles me that he doesn't "get" it. But -- we keep on trekking...slowly as it may be (we're finishing up 3rd grade math). :) Hang in there, and trust that if she can figure out the basics, she should be okay in this world unless her future involves a career centered around math. :)

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  2. You know what? If Punky isn't getting 4th grade (or even 3rd grade) math, go back to whatever level she DOES get, and start from there. I found (after a few disasters) that bringing the child back to what is known and very slowly introducing new concepts (and changing the curriculum might help?) will do wonders for the child. And it really matters little what grade of math, it is the basic concepts that MUST be master before going on. Remember much of the math curriculum each year is the same with just a new twist added - ya know, repetition being the best teacher, thing. I had to recently restart Algebra 1/2 with my daughter (she had reached lesson 100 and just was in tears every day), and NOW she comes to me and says, "NOW it makes more sense why I was struggling with "..." because I never got THIS PART the last time!" and this makes me very happy. BTW, I have the same reaction from my husband about Math (that they should be doing upper levels just because they are homeschooled), and it has taken me years to figure out that this is just another load of guilt I don't need to hear. Each child is unique, and just because one is homeschooling does NOT give them special abilities...even if one's father is a math whiz (my husband is)!!! Find where your daughter's gifts and likes are and use them to increase her math skills....perhaps find a math supplement or something that incorporates music and theatre arts? It is always best to build up your child's strengths to compensate for their weak areas.

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    1. Thank you for this advice Cherie - it really does help!

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  3. Cherie gave good advice! Also, which curriculum do you use? I am a former Special Ed teacher and I had a class with like 5 different grade levels so I had to find something that would let me start them all in the same place and move on when necessary. I reallt like Saxon and Singapore. Also, whichever skill is being taught try finding some videos at the library!

    Dont,stress or beat yourself up because she will pick that up too. If yoy need specifuc skill help or strategies, let me know!

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    1. Thank you Monise! We started out with just the guide for what skills to teach from Home Learning and then Learn at Home. I thought for sure I could handle teaching her! lol When that didn't work we moved on to Math U See. That didn't work for long. Next we tried Math Mammoth and then when that failed we moved on to and still have Teaching Textbooks. Right now I'm back to just teaching her myself from sources I have or find in the attempt to just get her to grasp the basic operation skills. When we were on subjects like geometry, time, measurement, Roman Numerals, etc she does fine! It's basic operations that doesn't really click for her! I play math games with her extensively and we work on a word problem a day from Daily Word Problems workbook I got from Evan Moor. I've now ordered Math in Focus for Grade 3 (because I believe she needs to go that far back for the basic operation skills and fractions.

      Anything you know of that I should try, I'm very open to your suggestions!

      Thanks again!

      ~Mari B.

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