Ana asked below in my other math post how to go about teaching math. I started a reply in the comment box and realized that I was making a comment too long for the comment box. I thought I would just make a post on it. I am not a math teacher. I don’t have a degree in math. I  do like math. I have taught every level of math from grade K-10 and that is my only qualification for what I am going to go on and on about below. ( I am about to go on and on. Please bear with me.)

I started teaching my son with Saxon Math in Kindergarten . I had done a little research on the different math programs out there, but one day I walked into a homeschool store and my husband said, “Do this one.” Because I didn’t want to think about it anymore, I did. That was how I made my big math decision. It ended up being a good decision for us. I like Saxon math because it teaches math the way I was taught. There is A LOT of drill which is why many homeschoolers call it the “drill and kill” method. Many despise Saxon math. Unfairly, I think. It has worked for us, and we have had good results with it.

However, the truth is that I think almost all of the math programs that you find in the homeschool catalogs are fine programs. The trick is to stick with one program all the way through. When people jump from method to method things get left out or lost. Each method has its own way  to teach topics and introduces things at different times. When you hop around things get lost in the shuffle.

In the early grades, the teachers manuals are heavily scripted. They will tell you want to do. The Saxon teachers guides in Grades 1-3 actually tell you what to say. Literally.  As the kids get older, there is more for you teach on your own, but everything is in the textbook. I think you will be surprised at just how easy it can be to teach the elementary math even if it wasn’t your favorite subject. It is amazing how much more sense fractions make the second time around. 🙂

My main advice would be to find a program that YOU like. I know that people try to find a program that fits with their child, but if it doesn’t resonate with you, it is going to be hard for you to teach. There is a program out there called Math-U-See. I looked at when I first started homeschooling. It is a program that works a lot with manipulatives. I am a visual learner and there is no way that I could have taught my kids with that math program. My Freckle Face would probably love to play with the blocks and cubes that go with that program, but if I can’t think that way, I know I would not be able to teach it. It would make me crazy to have all that stuff lying on my table. Instead, I use the very “visual learning friendly” (my term, not theirs) Saxon and adapt it a little with some manipulatives. I stay sane, and he is happy playing with counting dinosaurs and plastic fraction pieces.

I know this goes against so much of the advice out there on homeschooling. Homeschooling is beautiful in that you can cater to the individual learning style of your child. But, the bottom line is that I have to be the teacher when they are young. Whether or not they learn is on me. I am going to use the material that makes sense to me.

I probably talked about much more than you needed. My short answer is to start looking around. Find some samples online. Almost all the math programs have placement tests online and you can see the problems and the style. I think that you will be surprised to find out how doable it really can be.

Hope this helps!

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