My daughter, Kit Kat, is slightly irritated at me right now. You would think that I have told her that she can never have birthday cake on her birthday ever again. The horrors! But no, I have merely told her that she must back up 15 lessons in her Algebra. Again, with the looks I am getting. No birthday cake. Ever.

Kit Kat is in Saxon Algebra 1. It can be a tough book. Algebra is not always easy. It requires significant attention to detail. It can be quite frustrating. I don’t blame her, and I don’t blame the curriculum. We just need to back up a little and do it again.

 I know there are many people who hate Saxon math. It seems to be the one curriculum that is not Ok to use if you are any kind of real homeschooler. I am not sure where these feelings come from, but I think Saxon is a fine curriculum. My oldest hasn’t had any trouble with the Algebra problems on the PSAT or on the SAT questions of the day. So either the SAT takes questions from the Saxon textbooks, which I find unlikely, or Saxon translates (regardless of what some may say) into other math problems not written by John Saxon. Yes, it could be that my son is brilliant. I do like to think that, but I am just going to say that Saxon is a fine program.

Now that I have typed out my little rant, I just wanted to talk about backing up. Sometimes in the course of our school work, we have to back up. I am not sure why it always pains me to do so. It isn’t like Algebra is the only thing in the world that we have had to back up. I back up all the time in everything that I do. Sometimes when I am reading a book, I come across a character that I don’t remember. What do I do? I back up and find him. Or when I am cross-stitching and I realize that I missed an entire row. What do I do? Well, first I mumble a few bad words under my breath, and then I back up and do it again.  Even when I am getting directions. Sometimes I need the person to back up and explain that intersection to me again. I am sure that you can think of a hundred more examples where sometimes we back up.

So you see, backing up is not a big deal. I am not sure why it pains so many of us homeschoolers to back their kids up a bit and do it again. We don’t always have to switch the curriculum. Maybe it is our public school backgrounds that make us think this. In school, they don’t back up. They just keep trudging ahead whether you get it or not. We don’t have to do that! We can back up. We can read it again. We can work the problems one more time. This isn’t a bad thing! This is a wonderful tool that we have. Backing Kit Kat up does not mean that she isn’t good at math. (In truth, she is.)  It doesn’t mean that she will never understand Algebra. (I know that she will.) It just means that it will take another go around.

How does that saying go? If at first you don’t suceed, try and try again? I think that just means to back up.

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