Help! My Child’s Behind in Math

Help! My Child’s Behind in Math

homeschool math, help, struggling

I’ve shared my enthusiasm for Learn Math Fast as a means of learning math facts, but it’s also a great method for kids who are behind grade level in math. I asked the author to guest post on the subject and I was thrilled when she agreed. I have Volume I of Learn Math Fast (a $45 value) to give away by April 1st. Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below and best wishes!

by JK Mergens

Homeschooling your child can be a beautiful journey full of magical moments, but for some, teaching math isn’t one of them.

Many families have told me how they have tried nearly every math curriculum out there.  They’ve tried manipulatives, worksheets,  DVDs, online programs, and nothing has worked for their struggling, older child.  The clock is ticking; high school is only a couple years away.  What are parents to do when they discover their 7th grader is barely passing 3rd grade math?  How can they possibly make up 5 years of math by next year?  How do you convince a 12-year-old boy that he needs to read a first grade math book, adorned with cartoon animals and big, puffy letters?  When you feel your child needs to start over from the beginning and actually learn math, instead of guessing or counting on their fingers, you should try the Learn Math Fast System.

The Learn Math Fast System has a unique approach to explaining math–one that is working for hundreds of homeschooling families across America.

The system consists of four paperback books and one geometry kit.  It is designed to be read from page one, which starts with first grade math, all the way through to the end of book four, getting your child caught up to eighth grade math in about a year.

How is this possible?  The Learn Math Fast System focuses on the most important concepts in math and cuts out all the filler and fluff.  The math facts are taught using a systematic approach to ensure that all gaps are filled in, giving students a solid foundation along with an understanding of higher math.

It doesn’t matter if mom and dad are rusty in math, the Learn Math Fast System assumes the reader is new to each concept.  All answers include full solutions, so you aren’t left wondering how to get the right answer.  And if you need additional help, you can contact the author via email anytime.

If you like the fun, casual math in the Life of Fred books, the high school preparedness of Saxon math, and the success of Singapore Math, then you will love the Learn Math Fast System It can successfully prepare your child for high school math in about a year, with a fun, casual program.

The giveaway is over, but you can save $5 on this system with code DRMEL at the website.


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Help for the Unmotivated Homeschooler

Help for the Unmotivated Homeschooler

Help for the unmotivated homeschooler

I received an email from an unmotivated homeschooler this week and with her permission, I am posting it here in the desire to encourage other home educators who are in the same place and to solicit even more great feedback from you veterans.

I came across your website tonight while doing a google search… yep, I googled, “What if I love the idea of homeschooling, but I’m really not cut out for it?” I’ve been trying to do it for almost 5 school years now. My first son took two years for kindergarten because I got sick (and lazy), my second son is special needs – on the autism spectrum somewhere, and my third school-age child is my first daughter in Kindergarten, and I have a 2 year old.

My point is that I’m at that place where I really think I’m doing an injustice to them by keeping them home. I’m not getting things done, they’re lazy and it’s most likely because they see it in me. There’s a lot that goes into that, but the question remains… how do you DO what you know you need to do? How do you kick yourself in the tuckus so to speak to get the job done? I know what my calling is and what is expected of me, but I’m really struggling in getting it done…thanks for any advice.

An Unmotivated Homeschooler

I had some thoughts, but I took the issue to my Homeschool Homies (HH) and here is what we have to share with her:

  • Check your expectations. One of my HHs suggested that if you took two years to do kindergarten, you might be expecting way too much. Kindergarten should be a gentle introduction to math, reading, and learning in general. There are few reasons to hold your child back in kindergarten, though you can continue to work on skills at his level. In other words, are you really lazy, or do you expect to do more than is reasonable? Unreasonable expectations lead to overwhelm which can in turn lead to feeling unable to start.
  • Do less. When you feel like you aren’t doing much, this seems like crazy advice, but having less to do helps you do more. One HH swears by taking time to train her children to do household chores like laundry and cooking. When my children were younger, I had a housekeeper come in once every two weeks. Both strategies can free you up to spend more time teaching. Next, simplify your schooling. Set aside time-consuming, activity-heavy curriculums and do the essentials (some Bible, math, reading, and some language arts instruction–maybe some handwriting practice). Subjects like history, science, and geography do not have to be done every day and can be simply reading a great book in that subject area.
  • Get accountability. Being a home educator is tough for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest is we have no one overseeing our work and giving us feedback (at least in most states). Ask your husband to hold you accountable, join or start a co-op requiring preparation every week, and/or find an accountability partner. Ask an experienced homeschooler to look over what you hope to accomplish in an average day or week and let her tell you if it’s reasonable. Once you have a reasonable plan, have an accountability check-in each day or week. I use a website called and when I reply to it each evening with a list of accomplishments, I cc my accountability partner. Agree with your partner that if you haven’t met a minimum standard in a certain time period, that you should send your children to school.
  • Get support. My HHs agreed that you have a lot to handle at this stage of your homeschooling. If you don’t get together with other homeschoolers in person or online on a regular basis, may I suggest that you do so ASAP? This is a very difficult calling and we need our HHs to cheer us on. I dont know what I would do without the time to talk, laugh, and cry with my HSing pals. I really like the Hip Homeschool Moms FB page for asking questions and getting support. You may also want to consider programs that can support your homeschooling. From enrollment in online schools where all the teaching and grading are done for you to day programs and classes, you will find that you really don’t have to do it all!

I also asked my HHs how they get things done that they’re reluctant to do. Here is what they said:

I just do it. If it has to be done…

That might seem unreasonable, but sometimes we obsess over a task ten times longer than it would take to just do it. Just doing it may be setting a timer and doing it for a minimum time and then being allowed to stop. Your children will respond well to this, too.

I give myself a reward. If we get a lot of school done one day, we might go to the park the next.

One of the biggest reasons we homeschool moms get stuck doing things that aren’t school-focused is we don’t give ourselves guilt-free time. Make sure you have some every single day. Whether your older child plays with the younger while you surf the web for half an hour, you pay a sitter to come give you time away once a week, or your husband takes over at scheduled times, you will find yourself refreshed and ready to homeschool once again.

I pray about it.

Love this one. We are doing something great for the glory of God. Why would we expect it to be easy or to do it alone? God is there to help us and will certainly equip us for the work He has called us to do. My Homeschool Homies and I are praying for you!

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

P.S. Treat your homeschooling like a career. Develop habits and a routine (FLYLady is wonderful inspiration) or a schedule (Managers of Their Homes is excellent). Build in break times that coincide with times you’re tired. Give yourself credit for what you DO do, rather than what you don’t.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for plenty of motivating ideas.

Do you have any other suggestions for our Unmotivated Homeschooler? Are you an unmotivated homeschooler who needs advice or prayer? Just ask!

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Can Your School Teach Itself?

Can Your School Teach Itself?

Can Your Homeschool Teach Itself? It will feel like it can with these problem-solving tips to make homeschooling easier.I blogged about the book, The House That Cleans Itself, on Wonder Women and the great impact it had on my housekeeping and filing systems.  Lately I’ve been wondering if the principles of the book can be applied to homeschool motivation. I think it can!

The most powerful idea in Mindy Starns Clark’s book for me was the idea of working with what is rather than what we wish it were (I love alliteration, don’t you?). This concept enabled me to let go of the idea that I would ever be a meticulous filer. Instead I worked with what I am, which is a file digger. By filing everything in broad categories into large Pendaflex files by time (most recent folders in front), I’ve been able to find things but haven’t had the stress of the massive to-file pile. I then used this notion to help me find a solution to the kids’ bathroom disaster.

My homeschool isn’t teaching itself yet, but I definitely have some ideas that could move it in that direction.

What I Wish

  • We were early morning homeschoolers
  • We could get all our school done before lunch
  • The kids would do more work independently
  • I had more energy at certain times than I do

Working With What Is

  • We start school later now to accommodate later bedtimes. The bonus is I get more morning time alone which is my optimal work time.
  • We do the fun stuff after lunch. The kids bug me to do it which motivates me to keep working into the afternoon.
  • I work with the kids on stuff they would otherwise resist on their own (that’s the joy of homeschooling, right?).
  • I quit scheduling anything for those times when I know I’ll be too tired and got rid of guilt.

Stop Fighting and Start Flourishing!

Making it Work for You

Start by making a list of the aspects of your school that have been very resistant to change. Next, imagine that those things won’t change (depressing, I know). Finally, decide what you can do to make your homeschool run more smoothly, despite those less-than-optimal students and teacher(s).

It may take a while for you to find satisfactory solutions, but the process will be much easier when you let go of those wishes and start working with what is.

P.S. This process works with personal goals, too! Give it a try and let me know what happens.

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