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As a homeschooler you have taken on a huge responsibility for the education of your child. Basically, you have accepted to get directly involved in all aspects of a school- everything from curriculum selection to grade management. (more…)
Despite what you may think math teachers are not perfect in math. Actually, all teachers have to work for years to develop their knowledge and skills. Math teachers in particular not only have to learn math they have to be able to teach it in a logical step by step manner so students can understand how to find solutions to problems. One of the best things a math teacher does (more…)
So how do you take good notes? Just write down everything the teacher writes. Well sort of but good note taking takes work. Note taking is a skill and the better your homeschooler gets at taking notes the better your academic performance they will have. Let’s take a look at what a great set of notes looks like. Although we are focused on math the concepts I’m taking about in this article apply to any course.
Experience is the best teacher. As such I want to share with you lessons that I have learned over the years when it comes to teaching young people mathematics. Knowing what to look for in your child’s math work can help you encourage good habits and correct common problems. (more…)
So is your child gifted in math? The question is difficult to answer because all students are smart in their own ways. Moreover so many “average” math students have the potential to be more advance in math but never get into the “gifted” category for various reasons.
We all had those days that nothing goes right. When your bad day comes from homeschooling your child in math you want to reflect on what happened so the next day will be great. Let me give you hope when you have a bad day in math- it’s ONE DAY not 1 year. Of course (more…)
Many homeschooling parents have children with ADD/ADHD. Homeschooling a child is challenging enough so homeschooling a child with ADD/ADHD will likely be even more difficult. When I taught middle and high school math in schools so many of my students had attention deficit 504s and IEPS. As such I would have to modify their instruction to support their challenges of dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder.
What a crazy question “how to ask a math question?” – of course you just ask it! Well yes you could just fire away and ask math questions to quiz or test your child’s understanding but you want to make this most of the exercise of asking questions. What I have learned over many, many years of teaching math that “teaching” is part art and part science. (more…)
Before I became a math teacher I managed chemical production plant operations. Moreover before I worked in chemical plants I was a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy managing naval power plants and other complex engineering/technical systems. I say this only to gain your trust that I have a pretty good sense of the math involved in many technical vocations. (more…)
On multiple choice questions the best place to start is by looking at the answers. Often times you can eliminate answers or pick up clues on how to select the correct answer by looking at your choices before reading the question. Moreover, there may be times when you can use the multiple choice answers to get a question right even (more…)
Ok, I must confess the title of this post should be, “things to avoid to ace your math class!” but I purposely titled the post to grab your attention as what I’m going to talk about is important! Students can fail a math course for a variety of reasons however too many students sabotage their grade by not doing the basics in class. I can tell you from years and years of teaching that most (if not all) teachers would totally agree with my list- it’s just common sense.. (more…)
One of the best things you can do to help you with your busy day is to set deadlines. There is a key time management principal that states our tasks take as long as the time we assign. For example, let’s say you give yourself 4 hours to clean your house…guess what, you will use the entire 4 hours to complete the task. However, let’s say that someone bet you $10,000 that you could not clean your house with the same quality in 2 hours. I can guarantee you that you will find a way to finish (more…)
How much do you know about the new common core curriculum standards? Well if you don’t know that much you need to get informed ASAP because it is changing everything in education. So in an effort to help you sort out CC (common core) I’m starting this series of posts on common core and its impact on higher level math mainly Pre-Algebra and above. (more…)
So, what is better homeschool or public school? Well the answer depends on you and your child. As a former public school teacher I had the privilege of educating many bright and talented students that went on to great colleges to chase their goals. However,
Recently I was working with a student and once again saw one of the most common mistakes made in algebra. Actually it’s a mistake that has its roots when a student’s learns about basic fractions and specifically how to reduce or simplify them. (more…)
Want a real life activity for your young kid to practice math? Well get out that Sunday newspaper and open up the coupon section. As you scan through the paper you will see deals upon deals. So how good are the deals and how much can you save? (more…)
After your homeschooler finishes Pre-Algebra they will be taking Algebra 1. Most students will notice that Algebra 1 goes over many of the topics that they learned in Pre-Algebra. As such there might be a perception that Algebra 1 is just a little harder repeat of Pre-Algebra. (more…)
Last week I purchased a TI-84 Plus calculator for my son. He is taking both Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics. His AP Stats teacher said it was a requirement to have a TI-84 for the course. So being a good parent I went ahead and purchased the TI-84 ($120) and took his TI-83 back into my inventory. (more…)
One of the most basic abilities we have as humans is our ability to count. We can visualize and see various number of objects in our physical world and some how know how to make sense of what we are seeing. (more…)
A common misunderstanding of students when they start learning how to work with positive and negative numbers is dealing with the negative of a negative number situation (see below for an example). So along with the rules to (more…)
One of the most important skills for high school level math is the ability to factor. Much of the factoring Algebra 1 and 2 students focus on is factoring polynomials. However there are many other non-polynomial expressions that we factor as well in algebra so it’s not only about polynomials like trinomials. By the time your child finishes Algebra 2 they should be able to handle a factoring problem like the one below. (more…)
Oh yes the wonderful world of fractions! Most students hate dealing with them but I have good news for those restless students! (more…)
One of the biggest topics we study in algebra is polynomials. (more…)
Unless you have ever been a teacher you don’t realize how challenging it is. It’s just like trying to explain what it’s like to be a parent with someone with no kids or explaining what combat is like to those that have never experienced it- unless you have done it you can’t truly grasp the experience. Years ago when I started teaching I thought I knew what I was in for before my first day of school. (more…)
Mathematics is a language that is structured by many properties. One property that students need to comprehend is the Transitive Property. Before we go any further let’s review the actual property.
Can you divide a number by zero? Answer: NO. Now it’s easy to make the mistake of trying to divide a number by zero as sometimes we work with expressions that end up with a zero in the denominator. However when this occurs ( zero as the denominator) we have a mathematical problem. Let’s think about a few examples. (more…)
What’s wrong with the fraction 1000/2000? Well nothing technically or mathematically speaking however it’s not a simple number- why not just call it 1 / 2 it would save the extra effort of writing all those zeros. In mathematics we always want to express numbers as simple as possible hence the reason we simplify and reduce fractions. (more…)
Mathematics is a language of many words and symbols. When studying Geometry we come across many new words and one of the most important is “postulate”. As such I thought we can take a quick in-depth look into what a postulate is so your child can be clear about what they are studying in Geometry. (more…)
Finding the slope of a line is a very important skill that all middle and high school students need to master. In order to find the slope students follow a simple formula (see below) and simplify a fraction. Many students can perform this task when the numbers involved are easy, whole numbers. (more…)
Have you or your child used a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel?
If so you have likely organized data into rows and columns like the example spreadsheet below. As you may imagine there is a lot of value of using a spreadsheet program like Excel to manage a lot of information. In mathematics we can use matrices and systems to organize data like that in a spreadsheet. (more…)
After completing my math degree I severed in the US Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. In one of my tours I served as an Engineering Power Plant Officer. (more…)
The mean, median and mode are all part of the basics concepts of statistics. Many students tend to confuse the respective terms so I thought I would speak on it with this post. (more…)
Much of mathematics involves memorizing rules and procedures. Often times these procedures we learn are not very hard but because we have to memorize many steps and rules it’s easy to mix things up. One of the most common places I see students mix up basic rules is working with positive and negative numbers. (more…)
Each year homeschoolers choose a homeschool math curriculum. The challenge can be easy and smooth or difficult and frustrating. Even the most experienced homeschoolers can struggle with math curriculum selection so if you’re new at homeschooling and don’t know what math program is best for your child you are not alone. In my position as the founder of TabletClass Math I speak to many, many homeschoolers about what type of math course is best for their child. (more…)
As a homeschooler you should know how to construct your own basic lesson plans. The format I teach you below is a standard teacher’s lesson plan and the most common way to organize a lesson. Knowing the mechanics behind making a full lesson plan will make you better at understanding the math learning process so every homeschooling parent should try to learn the skill. (more…)
One of the biggest challenge with so many students is retention. The topic is huge in education and there are no perfect solutions to solve all retention problems. However from years of teaching math I have come to believe that there are 3 main things that teachers and parents can do to really help promote retention.
If you homeschool you know is can be expensive. Unlike traditional schools you have to obtain your curriculum for your child making homeschooling much more financially challenging for many families. Of course if you purchase a curriculum only to discover it does not work for your child you will have suffered a big hit to your homeschool budget. To reduce inefficient spending you need to be proactive.
Once upon a time I was a young 18 year old US Marine. That was 28 years ago! Wow I’m getting old. Anyways after surviving boot camp which was indeed as hard as they say it is I became an United States Marine. Becoming a marine has been one of the top achievements in my life. (more…)
One of the latest trends in education is “flipping” a classroom. Before I explain what flipping a classroom is I want you to know that it’s one of many strategies used in education and not a whole sale replacement for a more traditional model of learning. Ok what’s flipping a classroom? (more…)
Course placement for homeschoolers is often a huge and scary task- “what course should my child be taking?”. So if you have stressed this question you should not feel bad- it’s a stressful question! Of course most of the time you follow a normal progression to your child’s development i.e. 6th grade, 7th grade, etc.
So what’s so sad you ask about homeschooling? Well nothing exactly however there is this one “thing” that bugs me and I find it a little sad. Ok so let me explain. For years now homeschoolers across the country have been using my full math courses at TabletClass.com to educate their children.
Sometimes during the education of our children they will need a tutor. I would say that math is the subject where students end up needing a tutor the most. As such you as a parent want to know how to go about finding a great math tutor if the need arises. Let me say up front that math tutoring can be expensive so it’s an investment that you should make with serious consideration- you the parent will know what’s best for your child.
Ok with that said let’s talk about a few ways to find qualified and effective math tutors.
Over the years I have supported countless homeschool families all over the country. It has been a great pleasure to get to know all these families and help them with managing their math education. Of course these families have taught me much as well. I see a homeschool parents as fellow teachers so I love to get their lessons learned as well. I wanted to put together a list of the most important areas homeschoolers want to focus on for a great math education for their high school student- enjoy!
In today’s competitive environment parents should do everything they can to help their child get top SAT/ACT scores. College entrance exams scores are critical for college acceptance and scholarships and the difference of a few hundred points on these exams could be the difference between acceptance or even a full scholarship. The good news is (more…)
Successful homework is about quality not quantity. I’m a big believer in the value of homework but not the “drill and kill” type that makes a student do 100 problems that are basically the same. What I like is homework that develops core math skills without “burning” the student out with too much busy work.
After a tour as an enlisted US Marine I went to college on a NROTC scholarship. (more…)
As a homeschooling parent you take on a wide variety of educational responsibilities. You are much more than a “curriculum” manager you are a teacher, mentor, classmate, tutor and child psychologist. When your child is not doing well in math there could be many factors at play. For example, you may not be using the best curriculum for your child’s learning style or your child is not at the right course level. (more…)
One of my favorite moves is “Apollo 13”. I love this movie for so many reasons but especially for the parts where they show the NASA engineers using their “slide rules” to figure out math problems. Of course if you know what a slide rule is then you might be aging yourself (more…)
So you picked your curriculum and you’re ready to start a new year of homeschooling math. Of course your goal is to start off the year with a lot of excitement and momentum. I think every parent can start off the year with a “bang” but to make the success continue you need to have your educational bearings. Let’s talk about a few things that you want focus on before getting too far into the school year. (more…)
An important decision for homeschoolers is to decide if their child will take algebra 2 or geometry after completing algebra 1. Most schools will teach geometry after algebra 1 however there are curriculum programs that teach algebra 1 and 2 together usually as a two year program before geometry.
Years of teaching high school math and tutoring the SAT/ACT puts my vote strongly for having students take geometry after algebra one.
My conclusion is based on the following three reasons:
* SAT/ACT Exam
* Algebra Burn Out
So how do you grade your homeschoolers math quiz? First make sure that the quiz you are giving your child is on skills that they were taught. This may seem obvious but it’s easy to assume your child was taught the concepts for a specific question so take note on what questions you want to give in your quiz.
Ok now onto the grading part. (more…)
One of the best things you can do for your homeschooler to become a better mathematician is to ensure they show their math work. I will give you some examples(below) to illustrate my point but know this- if your child is showing little to no work in their practice they will not become proficient at math. A BIG part of teaching a student math is getting them to master excellent problem solving habits. (more…)