Yesterday, a friend asked me if I was good at math. This was in response to me telling her that my oldest daughter is beginning middle school. Since I home school, it is a fair question. But, it made me laugh because the truth is not only am I not good at math, I am actually an abysmal math person in general. In fact, I have made a vow never to speak in public when it comes to remembering numbers, counting change, or calculating percentages. Trust me, it is a wise vow.
But with the question, comes the misnomer that to be a home school parent you must need to ‘know’ everything, and be ‘smarter than a 5th grader’ so to speak. Well, in an effort to set the record straight, I wasn’t smarter than a 5th grader when I was in the 6th grade nor in my freshman year of college. If you don’t believe me, here are two “did you know’s?” I went around asking people after our second grade school year studying American History…..because frankly, I had no idea.
“Did you know that the Underground Railroad wasn’t really ‘underground!?’
and my other favorite……
“Did you know that the French and Indian War was NOT between the French and the Indians!?” well…it wasn’t. They were on the same team for petessakes. It’s all very misleading.
I guess I had a small problem with literal translations growing up.
So, what’s a mom to do? Well, outsource, of course.
This year we are doing My Father’s World: Early Exploration to the 1850’s.
I love this curriculum. Love it. It comes with a teacher’s guide and maps out daily what our reading and activities are in the areas of Bible, History, Geography, Science, Art, Root Word Study, Read Aloud Books for the time period we are studying, and Composer’s Study. Then I fill in what I want to do in regards to their math, language lessons, and vocabulary study.
I came across this curriculum three years ago through the recommendation of a friend. Years prior, I was more or less piecing it together on my own, and doing a horrible job. I had come to accept that I was just not that kind of person, as I am someone who becomes easily overwhelmed and has a low capacity for stress and chaos. This ‘muscle’ is getting stronger in me as I age, and grow, but I need not pretend I have Herculean strength when I much prefer hiding under my bed in the fetal position sucking my thumb.
One of the most challenging things about home schooling I feel is that ‘life’ does not cease to flow when our school year begins. In fact, our first year doing My Father’s World, I lost two grandmother’s, one of which was more a kin to a parent. I also had a sweet friend lose her younger brother in a car accident that winter. And of course there was…. this. I was very compromised with grieving and barely getting by every day. But, we had a fabulous school year in spite of all of the hard ship, because I could just open my planner, look at what was needed that day, and press on.
As for the original question about math. The answer is most assuredly no. I am not good at math, but that is ok….because I do not have to be thanks to a couple of fellas from Harvard who created a fabulous math program for people like myself called Teaching Textbooks. ***pssst….it’s all on the computer for my kids. The lesson lectures, practice problems, and daily assignments. It even grades their work and keeps a record in a grade book on my computer. be still my heart.
There are a lot of different approaches to home educating your children if you choose to do so. For me it has been more of a journey of simply learning about myself as a mother and as a woman. It has helped me recognize my strengths and accept my weaknesses. I know it’s not for everyone. It’s really not. Every child and family is different. I do not know how long we will choose this as an option for educating our children, but for now, I feel that we are in good hands. Because they are not my own.