Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Math Ramblings

Skittles is learning about common multiples in math. I admit that I never really understood what that was. The curriculum teaches to write out all multiples of each number and the ones that are the same are common multiples. Why didn't anyone ever teach me that? I felt like whenever I asked a question in math, my teachers looked at me like I was joking and they kind of shrugged me off. I always made straight A's in every subject but math. Most of my teachers treated me like I was purposely failing. It took until I was in college for a teacher to take the time to work with me one on one and realize that I had a learning disability in math. 

I think the teachers assumed that because I was a gifted student, I should excel in all my subjects. I think they assumed that I simply was not trying because math did not interest me. The fact is that I would spend maybe a tenth of the time on my other subjects that I spent in math... and that percentage may be off because I am REALLY bad at math. I can't even tell you how many times I stayed up all night trying to complete a single math assignment. I could work a math problem 10 times and get a different answer EVERY time. I don't think I ever really learned the basics when I was in elementary school so when I hit middle school, I just fell farther and farther behind. When I entered college, I aced the language part of my entrance exam but only passed the math part by 1 point. I had to take all the prerequisite math classes. That ended up being one math class every semester until I graduated. I HATED it.  

When I decided to homeschool I was confident that I could teach my kids every subject but one, math. I was terrified that I would not be able to do it. I spent more time in prayer over this one subject than any other aspect of homeschooling. I wanted them to be successful in all their subjects. Even though I knew that I could do a better job teaching them, English, science, writing, etc., I was tempted to just put them in school so that someone who understood math could teach them. But then I was reminded that I went to public school and I was not taught math effectively so maybe they had at least an equal chance of success at home as in school. 

The first 2 years of math were easy to teach. Kindergarten and first grade are basically just patterns, simple addition, shapes, etc. Any dummy could teach that, even this one. Second grade math started to get tricky. By third grade I realized I was in WAY over my head. Most days Skittles and I just sat and cried together. I called in everyone I knew for back up; my parents, grandparents, and in-laws. I HATED math even more watching my son struggling through it too. I prayed and prayed for a solution. 

I had heard of Teaching Textbooks. I knew people who used it. I had Skittles try some sample lessons for free online. He loved it and I actually understood the lesson. So I bought it. It was the best money I ever spent. I sit in the room with my kids while they do the lessons. I am learning right along with them, things that I never knew before. And because I am in the room with them during the lectures, I can help them to work through any problems they are struggling with. Every single answer has an explanation to the solution. So even if we can't figure it out, they show us step by step. I can't say enough good things about Teaching Textbooks. 
I guess I have two points to make with my long, rambling post. 
  1. Don't expect a gifted child to excel in all subjects. Gifted children can have learning disabilities too. 
  2. Don't think that just because you have a learning disability or a subject that you struggle with, that you can't homeschool your children. 
There are millions of resources out there in the homeschool world. You are almost certain to find a curriculum that works for you and your family.

So my positive moments today are........
  1. I learned how to find a common multiple... I mean uh, Skittles learned how to find a common multiple. 
  2. Hershey brought me a bunch of books and he helped me read them by pointing to the pictures and naming things he saw. 
  3. Twizzler finished Owl at Home. He was so proud of himself. We all gave him a high five! 

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