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One of the biggest struggles we’ve ever had in our homeschool was the dreaded “M” word. Between trying to find time to teach it and keeping the toddler from scribbling on his sister’s paper, it was a nightmare. Not to mention, I was trying to teach the subject when I’m not math-orientated.
I knew what I needed: an hour a day of uninterrupted time. I needed to sit with my oldest and teach her the lesson, then have the house silent as she struggled through problem after problem. Instead, I had a kindergartener and a toddler who demaded attention, couldn’t get along for 5 seconds and wanted to “do school, too!”
During that first year of homeschooling, I learned several lessons about math. The biggest one being that it could easily break our homeschool. If I didn’t do something (and quick!) I knew my kids would all end up back in public schoool.
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5 Tips To Make Math Less Stressful for the Whole Family
When I start to get overwhelmed, there are a handful of things I remember to do. Small as they may be, they make a huge difference.
Change Your Attitude:
It didn’t take me long to realize I was teaching math just like i had learned it in school: with a grudge. I didn’t want to learn Algebra in high school and I didn’t want to be teaching fractions now. I don’t even like the subject so I was coming into each lesson with a “chip on my shoulder” and a negative attitude. Once I realized that, I was able to come at it from a place of love. If there’s one thing I don’t want, it’s my kids having the same negative feelings towards math as I do.
So, instead of acting like math is a huge burden that I despise, I started saying things like “Oh, I can see how this could come in handy when you’re grocery shopping!” or “Hey, this would’ve been helpful when I was trying to figure our mortgage payments.” Seeing a shift in my attitude, my kids followed suit and changed their outlook on learning math.
Sometimes you just need a break. Instead of yelling or getting upset about a math problem, choose to slam those books shut and step away from math for a while. My daughter took an entire semester off of math and when we started it back again, she had no problems at all with it! Kids learn at different speeds, so it’s okay to take a few months off while you kiddo gets up to pace with it. Come back in a few weeks or months and see how much they’ve matured and are able to process math so much easier.
Pass the Responsibility:
The hardest year in our homeschool was when my daughter was in 6th grade. We were new to homeschooling, had a wild toddler and a kindergartner. Getting quiet time to allow her to focus on math was nearly impossible. We opted for a math curriculum on CDs that year and I swear it saved our homeschool. Sometimes, it’s easier to just pass the responsibility along to someone else, whether it be a computer program, another family member or even a hired tutor. Trust me, your sanity will thank you!
Make it Fun:
There are so many ways to make math fun! Whether you want to play educational board games, card games or online games, there’s always a way to take the stress out of teaching math. My kindergartener has started using Splash Math for Homeschoolers and there’s no looking back for us! I plan to keep using it until 5th grade to help instill important concepts.
Splash Math is simple to use and it’s so much fun, he doesn’t even realize he’s learning. Each week, I set a goal of 45 minutes of playing games. But that boy would play all day long if I’d let him. Each problem he gets correct earns him coins that he can use to buy fun things in the Splash Math shop. Just yesterday, he purchased a giraffe that does silly dance moves. He laughed and laughed at that one. Best of all, when I’m using Splash Math, I’m both making it fun for him and passing the responsibility. All I need to do is check in to the Parent Dashboard and see h,ow he’s doing. I also get a weekly progress summary emailed right to my inbox! Seriously, Splash Math for Homeschoolers is the easiest way I’ve ever taught math to my little guy!
Reward them for Hard Work:
One thing I’ve noticed helps motivate my kiddos is being recongnized for thier hard work. Sometimes they feel like they are just slowly chugging along, so they get excited when we notice the progress they’ve made. For our family, when you complete a workbook or finish a section on Splash Math, you get to choose whatever you want for dinner. The kids love this and I don’t mind having the help to figure out what’s for dinner. 😉 Having their favorite meal doesn’t sound like that great of a reward but they sure do love it!
Math doesn’t have to be a huge headache. Instead, figure out a way to make math work for you and your family. Sometimes that might mean switching curriculums and sometimes you might have to ask for help. Whatever you choose, make sure you aren’t raising kids who hate math because of the struggles they face with it.
I’d love to hear your tips and ideas to help make math less stressful in your homeschool!
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