Homeschool Math Confessions
I am not a good math teacher. There I said it.
I’ve thought long and hard about why I’m not a good math teacher. I know how to work the problems. I understand that math is really just another language. I even find myself at times fascinated by math (gasp! Don’t tell the other English teachers.).
But my real problem is a character flaw: I lack patience.
I can at times teach a math lesson with some enthusiasm that borders on excitement. But I can only do it once.
I quickly degenerate from cheerful encouraging teacher to irritated mom snapping, “What do you mean, you can’t remember how to divide?”
And that’s where Teaching Textbooks has been a real blessing in my house.
When my oldest daughter was struggling terribly in math, and after I had tried far too many different math programs, in desperation I asked my daughter to work a sample math lesson on the Teaching Textbook’s website. I will never forget her response.
Me: What do you think?
Her: Oh, I really like it.
Me: What did you like? The clear explanations? The sample problems? The visuals?
Her (uncomfortably): yeah, those were good.
Me: Well, what did you like?
Her (hesitatingly): Well… the teacher had a happy, soothing voice. And no matter how many times I had him explain the lesson, he always had a happy, soothing voice.
Ouch! Consider me convicted!
My daughter is in her third year with the happy, soothing voice, and he has never lost his cool once.
And my daughter (and now my son who started using Teaching Textbooks last year) is actually excelling in math. The explanations are clear, the lessons are short and incremental, and there is lots and lots of practice. And did I mention that the teacher is supernaturally patient!
And from a technical standpoint, the interactive nature of the lessons is very cool. She works the lesson right on the computer, gets immediate feedback, and if the answer is wrong, she can try again or watch the problem worked out for her by the happy, soothing voice. Then the program generates a grade report for me, complete with the number correct, the number of tries, and whether or not she viewed the solution.
It really is amazing. It does all the work for me. It teaches the lesson, grades the work, reviews missed problems with my student, and records it in an automated grade book. What else could I want? It’s like enrolling my child in a math class for less than 200 bucks. (Less than that when I consider that younger siblings will be reusing the program.)
The money I’ve spent on Teaching Textbooks math has been some of the best money I’ve spent in my homeschool. My children are learning math and they are enjoying it. And I don’t have to grade any math work! That’s priceless.