For the past year my husband has been teaching my oldest daughter, Lela, math. She would wake up at 5:30 a.m. and head downstairs to have her lesson before her father went to work. This arrangement was a blessing to me. I struggled teaching 5th grade math and the thought of having to deal with 6th grade math left me anxious and overwhelmed.
The schedule worked, most of the time. But I saw how hard it was for them to keep consistent with it. When we had late nights, it was cruel to have her up so early. And when he travelled, (sometimes he was gone weeks at a time) well, math didn’t happen for her at all.
I was a quiet observer to what was happening – neither of them could gain momentum and it left my daughter feeling behind and unsure in her studies. I knew I didn’t want that for her, neither of us did. When I evaluated the situation honestly, I saw that we were between a rock and a hard place. I didnt want to teach her math and she wasn’t able to get consistent instruction from her dad.
After many hours of trying to come up with a solution to the problem, I realized (or rather accepted) that I had to be the answer for her right now. Boy did that scare me, because I believe in my core I didn’t have the stuff it would take to teach her correctly.
But I was the answer.
After I put the girls to bed one night, I went and got her text book, found her next lesson and was immediately confronted with a wall. Oh great, fractions, I murmured. My worst mathematical nightmare.
But I had to be the answer.
Immediately, I knew I had to somehow learn the material before teaching her. I went to YouTube, hoping I could find help there. I typed in Saxon Math 6th grade lesson 43 and low and behold a ton of videos popped up (thank you YouTubers!). I got out pen and paper, told myself “you can learn this” and pushed play.
The next morning when Lela woke up, she apologized for missing her 5:30 a.m. math call. I told her I was going to teach so she didn’t have to wake up so early anymore. She gave me a politely puzzled look. After a deep breath I went on to teach the lesson.
That was about two months ago. My process for teaching her hasn’t changed. I sit at my computer, most times in the evening, and I become the student and then I give it to her.
Being a student, especially in a subject that so intimidated me, has humbled me. Sometimes I think I forget what it is like for my girls as the student. It also affirmed a belief I tell my girls, that they can learn anything. This saying is no longer mere words in our family, it is living truth because they are a front row witness to my 6th grade math education.
With math, she knows we are learning side-by-side. There is something wonderful about this that is shared between the two of us. Her unexpected learning companion helps make math fun. It is now my favorite subject to teach (wow, I can’t believe I just typed those words but it is true).
One of the scariest things about this homeschooling journey is trying to figure out exactly how to teach subjects that you simply don’t know, or even worst, subjects you have a healthy fear of.
What I am learning is the power of humbling myself to be the student alongside my children. There are so many rewards – for you and for them!
What subjects give you the mot pains? What do you enjoy avoiding? How have you handled it in your homeschool? Please share in the comments section below.
Stay encouraged & Be Blessed