Homeschool frustration

My husband does the bulk of homeschooling and just became upset that he doesn’t have a manual to teach our dd 1st grade math (odd and even numbers). I’m the math wiz of the house and it seems he wouldn’t hear me when I said “teach her everything else, I’ll teach her the math when I get home since I don’t need a manual”. He was upset and felt I wasn’t listening to him, even though I offered a solution that would work without costing money (he wasn’t very good at math, same with his siblings, so I think math anxiety plays a role in this and I don’t want that to be passed along to dd). Just venting.

To be honest, math is a key part of an elementary school day. Unless it’s insanely expensive why can’t you just get a teacher’s manual? Yes, free is better and you’re a math whiz but you hubby is dealing with DD day in and day out. If you were staying home and teaching and an at-work DH said to you “no, don’t worry I’ll just come home from work and teach her” you’d probably feel jipped, as if your job of homeschooling wasn’t enough to merit an extra book.

Math is important!

Why not get a manual? I really like Miquon math. You can just buy the manual, you don’t “have” to buy the workbooks. The pages are really easy to reproduce with a pencil and a plain piece of paper. Plus the manual is good for 3 years worth of math classes, the manual is called “Lab sheet annotations”.

Its a great program, all my kids excel at math. One’s off to become an engineer.:smiley:

Thank you for the suggestions. I should clarify a little better, I work only 4 days per week and will be bringing dd with me to work sometimes once or twice per week due to dh’s schedule with his diaconate formation and the few weekday gigs he has. For example, in the month of September he’ll be out of town or at class for almost 2 1/2 weeks, so I will be the only one homeschooling at that time. I also do the homeschooling on Fridays (and the Saturdays dd wants to do some work in her books). He’s teaching her plenty that 15 - 20 minutes 3 - 4 days per week of my just teaching her math I don’t think will interfere much. That was one of the reasons we decided to homeschool, he’s the literature and creative guy, I’m the math and science girl. We never looked at it as if he was going to be the sole teacher.

You may be the math whiz, but I feel confident that your husband has a firm grasp of the concept of even and odd numbers.

It isn’t the math that is the problem. He is capable of doing 1st grade math. It is deciding how to explain the math. Those are two very different things. The truth is, great mathematicians very often do not make great math teachers, and vice versa. It probably took you all of two minutes to grasp the concept of even and odd when you were your daughter’s age. Your husband may have had a harder time. Because he has had the experience of struggling to learn math, you may have less luck in teaching elementary-level math to your daughter than he will.

Besides, when I tell someone that I feel frustrated because I lack the tools I need to do that job, what I don’t want is for the person to do the job for me. I am not incompetent, I can do the job, I just want the &$#% tool! I think this issue with your husband may fall into that category.

Here’s a hint, though. If you have a local teacher’s college, see if you and/or your husband can sneak away to their library once in awhile to thumb through the professional teaching journals. That’s where clever teachers teach their clever tricks to other teachers, where common student difficulties and possible solutions are discussed, and so on…at least, that is what the Journal of Chemical Education is, which is the one I’m familiar with. If you find the right journal, it could be a great resource.

Any elementary school teachers know a journal like that for elementary-level math and science tips?

What an awesome idea! We actually live a few miles from a college that, of course, offers degrees in education. I will definitely look into that (I completely would have never thought of that). :thumbsup:

Be very careful about the self-identifying “I’m the math gal” or “He’s the lit guy.”

Your child must not hit a subject that requires a lot of work for her to learn and conclude, “maybe I’m not a math gal”. If she does, that could cut a lot of careers out of her future which she could have pursued.

My husband was told that because of his poor reading ability he would probably not succeed in college. If he had worked like college students normally do, that might have been true. He is a very slow reader. As it was, he was the number one student in his graduating class for the entire college, and he majored in chemistry and biology. He went on to get graduate degrees, as well. In his family, the attitude was, “if it takes more work for me to learn it than other people, then I will just do more work.” That’s a good attitude.

Teach your child that a person of reasonable intelligence can learn things that don’t come easily, if they are willing to work harder when it takes more work to learn the subject. That is an attitude that will make her very useful to Heaven when she grows up. I daresay, it is even more important than math facts. There are calculators that will calculate for you, but there is nothing that can hang in there and do it for you.

Ask a teacher, though. I know enough teachers to know that there are a lot of articles written on the subject of education that are not worth the paper they’re printed on! Finding a guide to steer you towards what you need (if it exists) will be well worth your time.

Also check out

“Here’s a looking at Elucid” SOOO WONDERFUL!!!

Good advice. That’s why we’re really trying to educate her, so that we can remind her that she CAN do it (whatever the subject matter).

On a side note, my husband and his family are very, VERY dominantly creative (all are musicians, artists, writers, or literature teachers). I eventually overcame some of my weaknesses (history, definitely not literature nor vocabulary) but I am strong in the maths (GRE score high enough to meet the MIT graduate program requirements, though I had no desire to pursue graduate school). Many are amused to see us together and how our brains work.

Honestly, I don’t see why a math manual for 1st grade math is required. It’s pretty much 1+1 or 5-3; things of that nature. I’m not a math whiz myself, but I’ve manage to teach my children 1st-3rd grade math without the add of the manual. All I had was the children’s book. The mini instruction on the children’s page was enough for me to know what the concept were and I was able to teach of that. Now that I have a 4th grader I did break down and bought the $30 teacher manual for the 4th grade and plan on having manuals for 4th grade and up.

I know you feel that your husband is not a math whiz, but I’m certain that he can do FIRST grade math; without the aide of a manual. Most people, even when they are not strong in math, can.

Yeah, but some people feel more comfortable with the TM, just because they don’t have a lot of ideas in that subject. I say, if he wants the TM, get it. I homeschooled for years on a tight budget and being able to get TMs and the like would have made it a lot easier.

He was just venting too. And he’s right–you were not listening. He told you he wanted a math manual. He did not ask you teach math. Encourage him to get a first grade math manual if that’s what he wants.

As a homeschooling mom, I vent to my husband all the time. (Too much probably.:o) On tough days, I am looking for re-assurance that I can do the job. I want to hear from him that he thinks I am doing a fine job teaching our children. (And I want that to be true!) Sometimes I am looking for permission to spend more money on materials that may be costly but that I believe I need to do the job properly.

Your response did not re-assure him that he’s doing a good job. Your response suggested that you do not think he’s doing okay teaching first grade math and instead of getting the materials he wants, you suggest that he should get out of the math-teaching business. If you reallly want to support your husband in homeschooling your children, please apologize to him.

does not sound like a HS problem, but a communication problem and probably shows up elsewhere also, time to deal. buy a 1st grade math book to answer the present issue, or suggest he choose one that looks good to him, then take time to learn basic communication skills, something we all tend to forget as the marriage proceeds.

I only say this because “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” starts to show up in education fairly early. Students who are seen and who see themselves as gifted in a subject actually tend to work harder and put in more time in that subject than students who don’t! A student who considers herself “good at math” will kill herself trying to solve a difficult problem, because it drives her nuts that she isn’t succeeding where she thinks she “should” succeed. Meanwhile, a student who considers herself less gifted will give up on a problem that presents a similar difficulty for her after far less struggle. As you know, that struggle has a great deal to do with developing our thinking and problem-solving skills.

That’s why I’d say that it is good for any child, but especially a home-schoolled child, to see her parent say, “this is difficult for me, but I can figure it out. It may take a struggle, if I’m utterly stuck, I may have to ask for a few hints, but I can get there.”

I don’t mean that everyone is cut out to do math for a living. I mean that the challenge itself is good for us, and the attitude that we can succeed where it takes a lot of effort to do so will take us far. Besides, it isn’t at all unusual for someone who “isn’t good at this” to have a eureka moment and just take off. As a teacher, seeing that moment is a lot of fun!

Besides, your daughter is related to both sides of the family. You’d better assume that you’re raising a “thoroughbred”, until proven otherwise. (I’m told that in theatre, the term “thoroughbred” describes someone of broad talent and training, who can sing, dance, AND act well.)

It depends so much on the teacher and student you have. I can see going without the manual if you’re doing fine without it. If you feel you want some help in how to present the concepts, though, the math manual is reasonable.

If one of you decided that you had tried doing without and still thought you needed a $30 piece of equipment to do your paid job, I think you’d break down and buy it. At any rate, I think that if getting your spouse a book that he feels he needs to do his job well, it is penny-wise and pound-foolish not to get it. It isn’t just an investment in your child’s education. It could turn out to be an investment in your marriage. Unless he’s got a track record of buying stuff he never uses, I’d let him have the manual, no questions asked.

Issue 1 = the communication. OP tells dh she will teach math. Dh wants to teach math. Seems as though you and dh are talking at each other and haven’t agreed which way you’re going to go. Either is fine, but you just need to agree on which way you’re going to do it, even if it’s just for a one month trial.

Issue 2 = the value of a manual.
—When I was using MCP math in K and 1, you didn’t really NEED the manual (although it had one handy feature of having mental math exercises for the kids). You just used the workbook. Some people can teach math without even using a workbook - they just make up the problems by themselves, but with all the repetition that the child needs to do, your work can be much easier if you just buy someone else’s workbook.
—In general, 1st grade math can be reduced to very basic operations, learning to add and subtract, mostly. OR you could look at 1st grade math as the foundation for what comes next. When I switched to Singapore Math, I found myself doing all sorts of activities that most people wouldn’t think of as useful for a 1st grader. We focused heavily on number bonds - a concept that is extremely handy in the grades following, but a concept that I had never heard of before using Singapore. The methods used to present the topics are not just meant to teach simple addition. Rather they are meant to start making connections in the brain about how numbers relate to each other, so that in the later grades, you already have that understanding. So anyone can show you how to figure out what 3+2 equals. But not every method can use 3+2=5 to help you become better prepared to understand more complex math. That is where a manual can be handy. The good math programs are not created with each year of work in isolation. They are meant to build upon each other. The person creating the 1st grade books had the 4th grade objectives in mind when they wrote the manual for 1st grade. If you have a background in math education, you may already be familiar with these building blocks. But if you don’t, even if you are a math genius, you may not know the best way to lay the foundation for the best long term success. A math whiz without the training in educational methods may not have the expertise to use 1st grade to go beyond just meeting 1st grade criteria but to ready the brain for the future concepts. Because that is more of an educational methods issue, than a math ability issue.

Everyone, thank you for the advice. Hubby and I talked it over. He got nervous because he couldn’t figure out a way to teach evens and odds. I reminded him that we’ve taught her that in a game we play (that I learned from Sesame Street when I was young) but have not labeled it as even and odds. When I gave him that tip on how the game is just that, evens and odds, he had no problem teaching her and when I got home, she had no problem telling me what was an even number and what was an odd number (though she didn’t like that her age, 5, is “odd” :smiley: ). My husband gets nervous when it comes to numbers. I work with him trying to remind him that he knows more than he realizes and he’s much better with them than he realizes. He continued to look through the book and realized that he doesn’t need a teachers manual right now, that our dd really knows most of the first grade math at the basic level. His whole family is this way with numbers, so I really try to be patient with him, knowing that it’s something they all have instilled in themselves from childhood.

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