Some kids are creative, while others work along a line of logic. Creative kids tend to be really good at creative things such as writing and science, but not very good with math. Math can be a very tough subject for creative children because it means following very stringent rules, and these kids are looking for various ways to solve the problem, and sometimes various solutions to the same problem. At times, they do not understand how only one answer is possible. Other kids have problems with math because they are slower thinkers than others and just need more time. Here are some basics to teaching math in your homeschool classroom.
This is the age to start learning about certainty. There are certainties all around such as bedtime, meal time, playtime (unless they have been bad, of course), and worktime. These are all events that are certain to happen in daily life. Learning this basic concept will help when addition and subtraction are introduced later. At this age learning count is a great head start. To make it fun, use objects that are fun – beans, candy, toys, etc. allow little ones to help fill measuring cups when cooking and baking. Hands on activities can be a wonderful and easy way for little ones to learn basic fractions and math early.
Early Elementary (Kindergarten – 3rd grade)
There are a few different ways to approach math during these early years of hardcore learning. The first is to stick with what the majority of teachers and homeschool parents do: Teach couting, writing, spelling of numbers, basic addition and subtraction, and small fractions into first grade. Second grade entails review of what was learned previously, and adding and subtracting larger numbers, learning to carry over and borrow, and splitting fractions down even more. Third grade usually complicates these, and adds multiplication basics to the mix. However, there has been another idea emerging and it is working on local homeschool children. Kindergarten is used for teacher number lines, base ten cubes, counting by 2’s, 5’s, and beyond. First grade is all about addition, second grade is subtraction, and third grade is multiplication. You can see the basic idea here. And it does make sense, given when you were in high school there was no mixing of geometry with algebra because you had to take algebra to fully understand some basic equations in geometry. Just something to think about.
Late Elementary (4th – 5th/6th grade)
This is where math begins becoming complicated. Multiplication includes large numbers, geometry usually plays a larger role, and fractions are looking more like something kids do not want to even look at. The same idea from the previous paragraph resides here as well. Make it fun and try to tackle one subject per year for those who need more focus. Math should be taken seriously even if the parent is not good at it or even hates it. If the parent is inept to teach this subject, then he/she should find someone in their life who can and is willing to help their child. This may cost money, but it is worth it. Math is as essential as reading in our daily lives. It must be taught and learned correctly.
Middle School/Junior High
Algebra is very high on the learning for these three years. It is like a puzzle where a letter represents the missing number. It can be very fun, but very difficult. Be very, very patient as your child tries to grasp the concepts involved in algebra. Study up on this subject yourself so you can be a help to your child. Even though some kids are trying to pull away from being like their parents, they still look up to them. Therefore, be prepared and at least act as though you enjoy the subject. This behavior will pay off for your children in the end.
High School and Beyond
There is nothing left to type here that will be new or fresh. Math does not need to be fun anymore because the idea of hard work and focus should be grasped by this point in a child’s education. Subjects in math may include, but are certainly not limited to geometry, advanced algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and more. Use your summer to become prepared to teach these subjects.
As always, for more information and support in teacher math, Google “San Antonio, TX Homeschool Co-ops”, and visit the FEAST bookstore. Happy Homeschooling!