The topic of our blog carnival this week is “the subject you struggle with teaching most”. There’s an easy answer for that for me: MATH! Specifically, upper level math. The elementary stuff is pretty easy, but beyond that, I am truly at a loss. It’s funny, because in high school I took honors classes, but for some reason TEACHING this stuff to my kids is hard!! Trying multiple curriculums in the hopes of finding one that works? Guilty! Stressing out night after night about whether or not my child is going to succeed? Guilty!
We managed to get through pre-algebra and algebra without me pulling all of my hair out, but this year, my oldest son has begun the subject that I consider my nemesis! Geometry.
It doesn’t help that my son is just like me, preferring a good book to equations any day of the week. I knew that when he got into high school, math was going to give us both headaches. So, I started researching curriculum well before hand. I found a lot of DVD and online curriculums that looked great (Hey, a teacher that can teach the both of us!!), the problem is, most of them are way out of my budget.
This year, I was fortunate to have a good friend lend me her copy of Chalkdust Geometry for the year. I saw Dana Mosely at a homeschool conference a few years ago, and I was really impressed with how he presents concepts. This was one of the programs I had my eye on but could not afford. The geometry she gave me is an older one, but the DVDs are great, and the book comes with a full solutions manual which makes it easy to see how each problem is solved, step by step.
So far, we’ve managed to do okay with angles, measurements, etc. The one thing that still brings both of us almost to tears is theorems. I hated them in high school, and honestly, I hate them more now! I just can’t wrap my brain around how to do them, and of course, that makes it impossible to help my son with them!! Really, I have NEVER in my life used a theorem outside of school, and if it weren’t for the fact that I am worried about college entrance exams, I would skip them altogether.
Mr. Mosely does a fine job explaining them, but for some reason, when I have to do them on my own, I just can’t figure them out!! I am considering adding Life of Fred Geometry to the mix to see if that helps. We have done some of the Fred books before and the author does a good job of breaking things down into easy to understand steps.
Sigh…when it comes to math, there are days when I worry I am letting this boy down. His test scores have been fine so far, but I don’t want him to fall behind because of me. I am thankful that there are so many resources available to me as a homeschooler, but I wish I could just download a program into my brain that would help me know how to do this. My next step would be to look for a tutor, but we are going to try Fred first.
I would like to find a program that works because my younger son is only three years behind his brother, and I know I am going to have to do this all over again soon. Fortunately, math comes easier to him, so I’m thinking it won’t be as hard the next time around.
Do you struggle with upper level math too? Have any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments. And check out what other Crew members had to say about the subjects they struggle with teaching here: