Saturday, March 02, 2013

Math In Our Home

Valentine's Day crepes made by Bonny-- She used math!
Lately, I have been meaning to share more of our homeschool experiences here on my blog, but life has been really interrupting my writing time.

True confession: So has the time I've been wasting on Facebook. Bleh...

Anyway, as a way to "get back in the saddle again," I thought I'd share my response to an e-mail I received yesterday. A sweet lady in my community was asking about how we do math in our home. Her specific questions were in regards to our use of Khan Academy.

Here's my response:
I tend to only use Khan Academy with my older kids-- mostly because they have to have a Google account to sign into it, and they can't have a Google account until they're 13. I do have one child who uses my Google account to sign in, but if I have more than one child sign in that way, I can't check their progress or what they are each doing in the teacher portion. This is just for the exercises portion-- ANYONE can watch the videos, of course!

I don't like all of the videos-- I want my kids to stick with the math portion. In the other videos, Sal just teaches what public schools teach about subjects that I think need to come from a different perspective. (History and Science, for examples.) My oldest boys do like to learn about programming, and I am fine with those.

For math, we have actually started using Xtra Math for exercises, because kids can be any age to use it. And we only use it to "close the gaps" and keep track of where the kids may still be struggling. It's just for beginner-type math-- Khan Academy is better for the harder maths.

How do these programs tie in with TJEd philosophy? My goal is to keep learning fun, and to inspire my kids to love math. So they do a few exercises on Xtra Math, and we read stories about mathematicians, read some "Life of Fred", and talk through word problems, and cook, and try to help the kids see math in their lives and everything they do.

Personally, math text books give me panic attacks-- and I am not even joking about that! Saxon Math works great for many, but for me, it started me down a spiral of burn-out. Everyone is different, so I think it's important for each of us to follow our own promptings from God. :-)
I have never been a math-lover. In fact, I've been a pretty rabid math-hater for most of my life. Some of my most vivid memories of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated and worthless have to do with learning math.

(Can I get an "Amen"???)

I don't want to perpetuate a "hate of math" among my own children. I want them to see math as the integral part of life that it is! I want them to understand math principles, and not just keep them boxed into the idea that "doing math" means doing page after page of number combinations that mean nothing to them. I want them to love math and recognize it in their everyday lives.

We love learning!

I love sharing what we do with other homeschoolers! All my mistakes and fumbles over the years should be of some use to someone, I hope...

Since this blog is also for the grandparents and other family, I will end this post with another picture of some cute kids.

Ronan and Cowpoke Davy

Mama Rachel


  1. Thanks so much for responding, and for elaborating here. My math teaching usually goes in spurts, like after a grandpa tries to help a nine year old with tithing and the nine year old is a little rusty on the whole money system itself. Math is frustrating for me because it is the only subject so far that I actually have to teach--which clearly I would rather not. I am so much more of a teach them to read and then make sure I put good books in their way. Kind of funny that I homeschool so my kids can teach themselves. Anyway, I know this is incoherent. I have never been prompted/inspired about any math so I research. I appreciate your reviews and the new site to check out. Because in the end I know how important it is and I do take it seriously. At least he is only 9 :) Thanks again fabulous lady.

  2. Khan Academy now has a thing where you can sign up your kids under 13 in your parent account. So they no longer need an email.

  3. Thanks, Flora! I didn't know that! I will definitely look into it...

  4. I've found that I really like teaching math to my kids. I detest saxon math, though. It is just so tedious and boring. We've been buying old text books from the early 90's and they are tough and explain everything so clearly. My algebra 1 homeschool kid has already done everything my public school algebra II kid is doing.

  5. I like seeing how your family "does" math, too! :-)
    We just got the Life of Fred book and this post reminds me to pull it back out and read. It is hard to make the time sometimes in between church, scouts, everyone's hobbies, Dad's schedule, taking care of a baby and toddler, laundry and dishes and cooking, LIFE as usual... I don't know how anyone who has more than 3 kids does the textbook thing regularly. I take my hat off to them!

    With my three boys being the oldest, I can see how online learning, like Khan, can help fill in gaps. We do a lot of cooking, video gaming, board games, lego building, and minor construction around here.



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