Friday, March 27, 2015

Teach, Learn, Reteach, Relearn

Homeschooling can be fun. It can also be tedious and stressful. Most of our days are the latter.

I would really like to be that well put together homeschool mom that can teach 12 subjects involving art and cooking and visits to the museum to six kids and enjoy every minute of it. Unfortunately, that just isn't me.

I homeschool one third grade boy and he drives me absolutely batty. Every day we have to do work he whines about it. He hates writing. He hates reading. He hates math. It's a battle to get him to just sit still and do his work so I can be sure he is learning the things he needs to in order to take a state assessment that is coming up soon. The assessment that will determine whether he is learning enough at home to keep me out of trouble.

It seems that every other day I have to reteach him skills he has already known for months. I have to constantly direct, and redirect, him on the process to take when trying to find an answer. This is especially true for math.

He flew through the numbers and numeration portion of his math workbook. He aced the test for that, too. Then we moved into operations. He flew through the workbook and when we took the test on it, he failed miserably. Even though he knew how to do the work when it came to doing it in the workbook, he couldn't seem to remember any of it for the test. Or he just wasn't thinking it through and reading the directions properly. Questions like, "Joe had a photo album with 4 pages. Each page holds 3 pictures. How many pictures does the photo album hold?" and he knows how to do those kinds of problems, yet he would answer 7. He saw the 4 and the 3 and immediately went to addition for the answer. I made him retake the test, twice! He finally did well enough that I felt we could move on.

We stuck with fast math for awhile. Working on playing card addition, subtraction, and multiplication. We did a lot of fast math online on xtramath, and we did a variety of lessons on Khan Academy. He was doing very well with all of it, so we moved onto the geometry section of his math workbook.

He is flying through that, just like the other sections but now the simplest of tasks he cannot remember. Working on Khan Academy today he read the question is 497+58= but then kept telling me he had to take away numbers because you can't do 7 and 8. Even though he read the question, he was thinking he needed to do subtraction. Then when he was doing a perimeter question, something we have gone over quite often with me telling him "you walk around the outside" in order to find the perimeter of an object but he "didn't remember."

The whole reason I pulled him out of school in the first place was because he was coming home from school "forgetting" everything his teacher taught him so I was having to reteach him in my own way. That seemed to frustrate him more. We would spend hours in the evening stressing each other out because I did not have time to teach him things he should already know.

You all know I am a busy mom. I have 5 kids to take care of, a household to run, soccer practices, soccer games, etc etc etc. It didn't make sense to send him to school just to come home and not know anything. I figured the best option was just teaching him myself. Which I feel like I am doing a good job... about 1/3 of the time. The rest of the time is spent wondering who can teach him better. Does he need to go back to school? Am I doing him any kind of service by keeping him home? Is the stress worth it? Will he eventually catch on? Am I enabling him to not have to remember because I sit and help him each day?

He has to take this state assessment coming up and I am worried that he won't know what to do. We took some practice tests the other day and I have got to say, I hated them. The questions seemed too abstract for third graders. Math shouldn't be that difficult. The reading portion seemed too indepth. The questions used wording that made it confusing to use the text to find the answer. I worry about what the results of the test will say about me as the sole provider of information for him.

Then again, what is the worst that can happen? They tell me he has to go back to school? I hope to send him back next year anyway. But for now, I will teach and reteach and hope that one day he just learns and doesn't have to relearn every couple of days.

No comments: