What's the problem with math? - Part 2

Curriculum , Encouragement , Home School , Homeschool , Homeschooling , Math Add comments

by Penny Ross
AHEAD Partner Blogger

Read Part 1

What’s the problem with math? Is it driving you or your children (or both) to tears? Daily? Hourly?

My last post covered some of the causes of the math problem? Are there any solutions—other than buying tissue by the case?

Actually, there are enough math resources available today to totally bury your house. Listed below are a few that I am familiar with. To begin searching for more, check out the Rainbow Resource Center catalog with more than 100 pages devoted to math textbooks, workbooks, manipulatives, DVDs, and computer software, or look at other homeschool suppliers.

Explanation

Do you and/or your student need more explanation than your teacher guide provides? Or do either of you need it explained in several different ways? Or do you want to watch it on a whiteboard? Or listen to it? Or hear it over and over and over again?

Khan Academy Over 4,000 free video tutorials, micro lectures, and practice problems covering all aspects of mathematics from 1+1 to calculus with simple, easy-to-understand explanations. I wish this resource had been available when I was a student and stumped on my own math homework (it would have been quicker and easier than asking my engineer Dad!)

YouTube There are currently over 4 million math-related videos posted. By searching for a specific math topic (like subtracting 2 digit numbers with borrowing) you’ll probably find many useful ones even though you may have to wade through a few that are of inferior quality or useless. Be sure to preview them first before incorporating them into your teaching plans.

Additional practice

Practice makes perfect so if your student hasn’t mastered a concept by the end of the unit well enough to do it easily and accurately, then you would do well to keep him or her practicing it.

Homeschool Math This website by the author ofMath Mammoth includes free customizable math worksheets, reviews of math curriculum, online math games, and more.

Math Drills This website contains thousands of free math worksheets ready to be downloaded and printed.

Math Facts

Multi-digit subtraction, long division, and solving quadratic equations are examples of math problems, which require multiple steps to complete. If your student doesn’t have his math facts memorized and ready for instant recall, then each step of the problem takes him even longer to solve. Efficiency, accuracy, and speed increase when the basic math facts are memorized.

Our family used Mad Minute, a 30-40 day sequence of timed math drills published by Addison-Wesley, which is now out-of print. However, it may still be found online. Mad Dog Math is a similar type program.

We also supplemented with Math Blaster, a computer game developed by Knowledge Adventure. It is now available for Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, as an App for your mobile device, and as a online game at www.mathblaster.com.

Quarter Mile Math is math practice software that has been used and recommended by many homeschoolers I know. You can also search the Internet for “math facts practice” to discover many other ways to memorize those basic facts. And don’t forget old-fashioned flash cards; they still work really well.

Another great idea for mastering the basic facts is an accountability group. Several families in our homeschool group this year are practicing the facts individually at home and then meeting together once per month to play math games, have contests, and reward accomplishments in memorization and mastery with prizes.

Outside Help

Sometimes you just need assistance from someone else. Many homeschoolers now use a math tutor or group class for higher math. However, you will need to keep pace with your student so that you can help him or her in between tutoring or class sessions (see my post on Group Classes).

Take heart. The problem with math is not limited to homeschoolers. An array of international tests consistently shows American students scoring lower in math than students in many other countries. However, this does not mean that homeschool families should become complacent about our math struggles. Let’s work diligently to solve the problem, one student at a time. 

Copyright 2014. Used by pemission of the author. Originally published at the Penny Rose blog.


A former career woman who never planned on being a stay-at-home mom, Penny Ross quit her job when when she was eight months pregnant with baby number one. God blessed her and her husband Greg with three children whom they homeschooled from kindergarten through high school graduation. She served in a variety of leadership positions with Hope Chapel Academy, a homeschooling program in Hermosa Beach, California, and is now encouraging and supporting homeschool families through her own business, Tools for the Home Educator

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