[Today’s post “When Math is Too Challenging for the Homeschooling Mom” was written by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
It’s finally happened. I knew this day would arrive, but did it have to come so quickly? My son had math problems today that I was absolutely clueless to help him solve.
We’ve used Math-U-See since he was 5, and a decade later, he’s in MUS Algebra 2. Today he was supposed to do something called “Fractional Exponents and Solving Equations with Rational Expressions.” He showed me the book and I was dumbfounded. It’s not that I don’t remember how to do this from my high school days, it’s that I don’t think I ever learned this math!
So, what does a homeschool mom do when she doesn’t know how to help her son with his math homework? Here are some suggestions for helping you when you get to this point.
Khan Academy is a free online site dedicated to making learning accessible for all people, anywhere. I had heard about it for years, but I only recently used it for the first time. My daughter was struggling with a math concept that I had explained over and over again. The lesson was not getting through, so a friend suggested looking up a video on Khan Academy. Oh yeah, I thought. I remember hearing about that site. So today, when I had no idea how to help my son, and reading the teacher’s manual directions felt like I was reading Chinese (which is something I’ve never done before!), I turned to Khan Academy. I typed “fractional exponents” into the search bar. An introductory video popped up. My son watched the brief video and he understood! We were then able to walk through the remainder of the lesson. I still have no idea how to do what he’s doing (he watched the video, not me), but he is more confident and was able to get the correct answers.
IXL is a paid site which offers practice on concepts through Calculus. This summer my son needed some assistance with his geometry lessons. I turned to IXL to give him further practice. If you join with a group, you can get it at a cheaper rate. Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op often offers a discount. A friend at our homeschool group put one together for all of us as a school, making it very affordable.
Crash Course is an excellent series of videos on YouTube which have been created to explain a myriad of subjects. I have not yet used it for math, but I see that physics is on there. Everyone is always saying that physics is a math class disguised as a science class. (I wouldn’t know; I never took it in high school.) The videos are fun, quick explanations of the topics with graphics to keep the viewer interested.
Homeschool Math Dad
Another resource I recently discovered is a Facebook group called Homeschool Math Dad. He has this page to help everyone with their math problems. The instructions to get help are rather simple: upload a photo of the problem that is giving you trouble. He’ll reply with a solution or a hint. I’ve also heard of apps that do the same thing, but we haven’t tried them yet.
So, when you find yourself in the same position, try some of these things, and try not to think about next year’s math level.
I just wrote a post about how we changed to Teaching Textbooks. It’s been a life-saver for me and my family as we have transitioned into more difficult math. Read why we switched to Teaching Textbooks here.
Michelle Habrych is a homeschool mom to a sophomore who is surpassing her math knowledge and an eighth grader who struggles with math. She plans to continue homeschooling with the help of these resources, as well as encouragement from friends who know the subject better than she does!
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