A Different Perspective on Homeschooling Algebra

 

Algebra - A different Perspective

Tears.

That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of the word algebra. My past experience with algebra wasn’t great. I struggled to understand the concepts, spent hours studying, and got help with my homework from friends and family. I just didn’t get it.

When we decided to homeschool eleven years ago, I knew I’d have to face my fear one day in the far off future. I think algebra is one of the subjects that causes many homeschool parents to think they cannot continue through high school. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that far off future day arrived at my house this year, and yes, we are still homeschooling!

I still don’t get algebra, but we have discovered that trying something different and changing our perspective has helped make it a reachable goal. My son has the tendency to want to focus on reading and writing like his mama, so he isn’t too enthusiastic about algebra either. I realized that I needed to check my attitude and not let it reflect onto him.

Whether it’s algebra, chemistry, phonics, or spelling that make you break out in hives, trying a new perspective just might help you make it through your homeschool day and year.

Try a Different Perspective

Find a tutor, or at least find another family member or friend who can explain the material in a different way. A group of friends and I have formed a teen literature discussion group, which I am teaching. My background is in English, so this is right up my alley. I found a former math teacher who meets with my son once a week to review and explain things that are muddy.

Search online. My son and I have discovered many free resources for algebra online, and he is especially responding to the videos on Khan Academy’s website. These give my son a visual explanation and a different “take” on the concepts in his book.

If you’ve given a curriculum your all, and it still isn’t clicking, don’t be afraid to try something else. Our first algebra curriculum just didn’t have enough explanations, so we called it a wash and found a substitute. You can always save the other one for a different child, sell it at a used book sale, or pass it along to a family who could use it.

Break things down into manageable pieces. Instead of trying to complete an entire lesson in one sitting, spread it out and spend twenty minutes on it, then move on to something else and come back to it.

Stick with it every day. Because algebra is so challenging for us, we do it EVERY DAY. That keeps everything in our brains. Even if it just means watching a short video or working a few problems, daily exposure really helps us not have to go back and re-learn past material.

Don’t move ahead until you’ve mastered a concept. Even if it takes a few days to complete a lesson, it is important not to move ahead “lost.” One of the luxuries of homeschooling!

Sit down with your child, no matter what his age. Even a teen benefits from your undivided attention and should not be expected to work independently all the time. Just being there beside them to guide them through the lesson and offer support makes a world of difference in their attitudes.

Don’t cry. It’s only algebra (or phonics, or chemistry, or…)!

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne on Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Working & Homeschooling

Juggling Mom

Juggling Mom

 

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as it has been a continuous struggle for me, my husband and my family. It is hard to do things that are against what you believe the Lord would have for your family – however – the Scriptures DO say it is okay for women to work (Proverbs 31), just that the husband should be the main provider while the wife is the main one at home raising the children. I know it is not a struggle that just my family has, as it is something I see asked A LOT on different homeschool forums.

Can one successfully homeschool while working?

It is a normal concern to wonder if one can do both as both take a lot of time and energy, however, there are a surprising number of homeschooling moms who are also working. The majority that I know work part-time and many of them from home. Shockingly, there are even those who work FULL-TIME and homeschool.  Now, that I am intrigued about! So, the answer is “YES! but…”

This day and age it is extremely difficult to live on just one income, even if you don’t have a lot of debt. Because each family and each home are so different, it is difficult to give specific help to those who may be facing this situation, but it is possible to encourage you that not only is it possible, but it is possible to THRIVE while doing it!  Personally, I have had to work part-time since I quit my full-time job and we started homeschooling five years ago. Keep in mind that many different factors will make this easier or more difficult.

  • Having a husband who is supportive and helpful will be a HUGE factor as to how it goes.
  • The number of hours you work will affect how it works.
  • The time of day can be a factor as well. [As a side note, I have known homeschool moms who didn’t NEED to work but simply WANTED to work. I would *SERIOUSLY CAUTION* you to reconsider, if this is you. Although it is possible and many do it, it definitely has an affect on the family. It takes a lot of freedom of time as well as causing additional stress on ALL family members.]

I have worked from home; worked inside and outside the home at the same time; and just worked outside the home. In the beginning it was fairly easy for me to work from home, but as our youngest got older (and louder LOL) working from home became more difficult. I then went to inside and outside the home, followed by just outside the home. We have been working toward me being able to stay home and not work at all since the beginning, but that is not a reality yet.

Both working inside the home and outside the home have their pros and cons.

  • Working inside the home means you will not need to purchase new clothes to wear – you can work in your pjs if you want! (Well, unless you Skype, then you will want to at least change your shirt. *grin*)
  • Most often you can pick your own hours that you work. Things that often don’t go with working from home are noise (young children and pets) which are the two reasons I finally went to working outside the home. One thing I have been completely impressed with is the talent of MANY homeschool moms! I know those who decorate cakes (beautifully!), make homeschool curriculum (that sells!), publish books (that sell!), quilt, sew, bake and MANY other things.  There is SO MUCH talent in the homeschool community!
  • Working outside the home provides the quiet necessary to run a business as well as it can give you some “adult conversation” time. *grin*
  • Depending on the job, it may also provide some form of benefits (insurance, vacation, etc. – which none of mine ever have but there may be some that do).

One question I hear a lot is “How do you get it all done?”

Simply put – YOU DON’T. *grin* It’s pretty much like “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”. It is possible you will need to make changes to the way your family works. For instance, eating. I know many homeschool families like to eat as homemade as possible. This may not be something you will be able to continue as it is much more time consuming than not. However, if it is something of EXTREME importance to your family, IT CAN BE DONE but something else will not get done unless you have help from someone (husband / kids).

So, can working and homeschooling be done? ABSOLUTELY! Can you homeschool, work AND do everything else? NO! If you do end up working, I pray your husband will be a blessing to you and your family and help you with the house, the cooking and with the kids (even homeschooling!).

I pray this has been an encouragement to those who are currently working and homeschooling as well as those who may be facing doing both. I want to encourage you that YOU CAN DO BOTH! as long as you realize your time will be split and your need to accomplish more in a smaller amount of time. You will need to NOT expect perfection from yourself (or your family). And accept that some things you may want to do will have to wait.

 

Dawn WintersDawn is a woman of God who is married to the love of her life. She works part-time, homeschools their two boys (since 2008) and loves animals. She enjoys learning what the Lord will provide for each day. You can find her over at Guiding Light Homeschool.
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Early on in our homeschooling journey, I began using the Bible as the foundation of our curriculum. Outside of the usual Bible stories, we use it to memorize scripture, and practice handwriting, print and cursive. It’s simple to use the Word (or our weekly verses) to pull out spelling, vocabulary and learn punctuation.

We use it as the foundation of our Science – as we believe that all of Creation points toward the Master Creator. We love exploring God’s creation, and using His Word to give him the glory as we do.

Psalm 104: 24-25

“How many are your works, Oh Lord!

In wisdom you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.”

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It’s the foundation in our history studies as it’s an incredible record of both ancient history as well as a guide to understanding today’s current events. Whether we are learning about faraway lands, or reading about the founding of our Nation, there are verses to use which add inspiration to our lessons, and which teach our boys that God’s hand is on them.

Job 12: 10

“In His hand is the life of every creature

and the breath of all mankind.”

 

Reading and studying the Word in our homeschool provides opportunity to bond in our families on a spiritual level as well as intellectually. I will read a portion of Scripture out loud, and then ask questions to find out whether or not the boys understand what they are hearing. It is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit grows them without my input at all. I love hearing their opinions about what they believe God is telling them. You can indeed have philosophical discussions with 6, 7, and 8 year olds. The bible is a terrific source for philosophy, and critical thinking.

No matter what you seek to study in your family homeschool, you can find creative ways to use God’s Word as the most reliable source available. You will not regret pointing your children towards the Scripture time and again as a standard of which to measure all else. Most of all, you can have great peace knowing that, as it says in Isaiah 55: 11,

” . . . it will not return void.”

 

Kelli Becton2Kelli Becton – Homeschooling Adventurez (division of AdventurezinChildRearing)

Is a Jesus loving, homeschooling mama of 3 boys (biological and adoption).  They are an outdoor family, living and learning on the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida. Kelli was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis over 11 years ago, and although there is pain, there is also great joy. She and her husband, Mark, have always loved the outdoors and they spend as much time as possible adventuring with their boys. Exploring God’s creation is their favorite pass-time. Jesus is their passion, and homeschooling their boys is a blessing. Kelli loves to write and speak to other homeschool families, sharing life’s lessons and what God has laid on her heart, through their adventures.