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Thursday, November 19, 2020

How do I teach High School math...when I failed it in High School


I pretty much got straight A's my whole life, except in Algebra.  It was my academic nemesis, I was only one class away from an Honor Diploma, and it was because of Algebra.  Unfortunately I was told by more than one person that “girls are just better at English than math”.  As an adult with several math-minded female friends, I now see this is utter absurdity, yet I unconsciously believed it for most of my academic career.

 Today my 8th grade twins took their Unit 1 Algebra Test, one son got 100% and the other got 97%.   This is a big deal for many reasons, but one is my abysmal history with math.  In 8th grade, I took Algebra, then had to repeat it in 9th.  In 11th grade I took Algebra 2, and then had to repeat it in 12th.  

 Many moms say they have their husband teach math, and I thought I would have to once we got to Algebra, but we haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting down any moms who have their husband help. I am sure that mine will need to once we get to some higher levels,  mostly because he LOVES math and I very much do not.  If he wants to help in a subject I don’t like, more power to him!  I just don’t want single moms, or moms whose husbands don’t want to teach, to think they can’t teach high school level math.

My husband teaching math also hasn't worked out because he just does not have the time right now to teach math.   The few times we have waited until he got home to help explain a problem, it ends up not happening because:

a.) he is jumping into a scope and sequence without knowing the methods they have learned

b.) we forget in the bustle of the evening

c.) we want family time at night

So how do I teach a subject I don't understand?  I search for people who do.


We have DVD math teacher in Math U See.  It isn’t the perfect curriculum , and we have times were we just don’t get it, but overall we make it work. I watch the DVD alongside them some days, but many times they watch it and get it without any of my help. 


You Tube Videos are a modern homeschool moms’ dream! Last week we watched 3 different You-Tube videos from 3 different teachers on the distributive property in Algebra because the DVD lesson wasn't sinking in when they did their homework. 


I don't give grades homework, only tests.  I will mark what they got wrong on homework, but they have to fix it until they get it right. If they still can't see what they got wrong after they have tried to fix it a few ways, I let them see the teacher's manual to see how they got wrong. We pray through the frustrations, and not pushing them to move on until they master a concept is a key to Math U See. Some days it is HARD, and we all get frustrated, but this approach has built confidence and joy in learning.


If all else fails, I use the photo-math app.  Seriously, if you have a high schooler taking math, get this app for yourself.  I don’t let them use it, unless all of the above has not helped, but when we needed it, it was a life saver. 

There has been plenty of years where we struggled, but learning isn’t learning without the struggle

Homeschool Moms, you can do this.  If I can do it, anyone can. 


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