Something that was so intimidating to me when we first started homeschooling was teaching math. I thought you had to be an endorsed elementary math education expert to teach math well. That anything I might attempt with my kids would be inferior.
Then, as we started dabbling in the homeschool world, I kept hearing people say their kids hated math or teaching it was the bane of their existence. Yikes! Not exactly a vote of confidence.
It was pretty important to both my husband and I that our kids at least have the chance to like math! And even if a kid didn’t love math, I was determined to figure out how to teach math in an engaging way that laid a really good foundation for incrementally more challenging math studies.
The thing is, I think that sometimes we homeschool moms get frustrated with ourselves when we feel lacking in a particular area. We feel inadequate and think we’re failing our kids and instantly doubt our entire decision to homeschool.
Take a deep breath.
The truth is you are THE LEADING EXPERT in your own children. And the good news is- you can learn to become an awesome teacher of basically anything that you want to teach your children. (Okay, maybe not ancient medieval manuscript creation… but hey, your kid can learn that on Youtube.)
Seriously, though. When it comes to elementary school math – you can learn to teach it well.
I promise. I’ve grown to love teaching elementary school math to my kiddos. (And I was a music major in college who dropped out of AP calculus… because I just didn’t get it. Haha!)
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself time and grace to learn how to teach math well.
Experiment with/ on your oldest kids (they’ll still learn it and be fine). Be patient. You got this!
I wrote this series of articles to help you gain confidence in teaching math at home… and enjoy it!
My goal in writing all these articles has been to answer the nitty gritty how to questions…
- how to teach math efficiently and effectively
- how to present something multiple ways
- which few math manipulatives to buy that you’ll actually use
- how to choose a curriculum
- how to vary math practice and mix things up
- creative resources to utilize for hands-on activities
I think if you can let go of the idea that you need someone to script out every math lesson for you, you’ll enjoy teaching math more.
And no, you don’t need to go to an expensive conference or spend an hour reading your kids’ math curriculum every single night.
Non Negotiables for Teaching Math Well
Over the last 6 years, we’ve had our math ups and downs, but I’ve learned a few non-negotiables when it comes to teaching math well:
- Investing some time in learning how to teach math well will probably be the biggest factor in your homeschool math success.
- The younger the child, the more hands-on the math lessons should be. Most true understanding about math starts in the concrete and gradually moves to the abstract.
- It doesn’t have to be miserable. Math can be fun! Songs & games don’t need to be the basis of math for it to be fun, but they’re a great supplement.
Growing as a Math Teacher
I strongly suggest embracing the idea that your math instruction will actually be easier and more enjoyable if you truly understand what you’re teaching and why. Set aside 10-15 minutes a week to read a math teacher manual or an article on this site or to watch a curriculum video from your kid’s curriculum.
Anything to help you keep learning and growing.
My favorite go-to person for moms who want to get better at teaching homeschool math is Kate Snow!
I can’t remember how I first stumbled on Kate Snow, but she became my go-to math resource for learning how to teach math at home. She’s unique in the homeschool math space because she has a Math degree from Harvard, an elementary teaching certificate, and homeschooled her own kids. So, she gets it.
Her website has a wealth of information, including an awesome free math-teaching email course for parents (which I highly recommend signing up for.) Each email is full of clear & helpful tips for teaching homeschool math. After you’ve worked your way through that, you can start reading all her articles. Maybe just set aside 10-15 minutes a few times a week to start reading her content.
Kate is uniquely gifted at helping non-mathy parents teach math well. She explains all the concepts in a way that both you and your child can easily understand.
Here is the growing list of articles on my website about how to teach math at home and enjoy it! I hope they encourage you.
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How to become a better math teacher
Making math fun with games
Making math concrete with hands on activities