One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling our children is to tailor and customize their studies according to their abilities. However, another reason we homeschool is to push them and challenge them.
Often times, kids in the school system get left behind. If you’re not in the gifted program, you’re thrown in to a “pool” of kids where you learn at the pace of the status quo. I get it, with so many children in a classroom, you have to have balance.
However, with homeschooling, we can push or pull back as needed. Once my children master reading and basic math skills, we tailor their learning to their needs and go at their pace.
I am a huge advocate that school should be challenging. Of course, there are times we can have a fun day or take a break from the normal, but I do not believe in teaching our children that the status quo is okay.
Now before you start writing me nasty comments and notes, hear me out. Please.
I am not saying you push your child to tears. No amount of learning is worth that. I am, however, saying that sometimes we – me included – take the easy way out and just let our kids slide through. We don’t challenge them or push them to do more.
I am guilty of this, especially when times get tough. I want it easy and done. But, lately that has really been weighing on my heart and I have been convicted.
Math is one of those subjects where you can either push them harder or keep them at status quo. Yes, it is easier to let them skate through, especially if math isn’t your forte. However, I urge you to push them, even if its just a little bit.
My oldest is several grade levels above for his age. He is completing Algebra I this year during his 7th grade year. I don’t say this to brag, but to encourage you. Yes, he is advanced in math and always has been, so we continue to push him to do more in his math lessons. If he grasped the concept, we did more than one lesson a day.
Our oldest daughter is also working a grade level ahead of her age. Why? Because she started doing her older brother’s math at the age of 4, so it was time for her to join us. Unlike her oldest brother though, she pushes herself – at least for now. She begs to math and usually does anywhere from two to four, sometimes more (did I mention, she loves math?), lessons a day.
In our 8 years of homeschooling, we have used three different math curricula. The first one we used was done solely through worksheets. It worked for our oldest, until I needed something that he could use on his own. He had the basics down, so I was comfortable letting him learn on his own, more or less.
However, it became quite clear after he breezed through the first two levels of our second curriculum we used in less than a year, that this program was not quite right for him. It didn’t challenge or push him enough. After doing some research, I found out the program was known for being a little slower than others and was possibly not on-grade level with other programs.
That’s when we discovered CTCMath. I was originally introduced to them when they sponsored my trip to a homeschool convention a couple years ago. I was so excited to meet them in person and sit in a session taught by Patrick, the creator.
That session literally changed my life and more importantly, our homeschool. I realized why my second child was struggling with math, why my oldest could and should do more and how this program was going to revolutionize our entire homeschool!
Since then, we have continued to push our children to do more in math, so long as they grasp the concept. In the lower grade levels, CTCMath gives you the option of doing 10, 20 or 30 problems. This can be tailored to each student and even each lesson.
We choose to do 10 questions to start. They must make an 80% to move on, because mistakes happen. The answers are shown after, so if they miss any we go over them to make sure they know why and how to fix it.
If they do not grasp the concept, or fail to make the 80% minimum, we do another 10 problems to help them improve their grade for that lesson. They can even choose to do up to 10 more problems, if they want to improve their grade even more. My kids are somewhat competitive, so they aim high and always want that “Gold” status on their account.
Challenging them in math has not always been easy. But, after seeing how far they’ve come and the confidence they’ve gained over the last two years, I wouldn’t change a thing.
For In All You Do Readers!
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