As a homeschooling parent, earning a college degree is not a prerequisite for teaching math. All you need is dedication, a big heart, and the willingness to put your children’s needs before your own while investing time and energy into developing instructional behaviors (such as explaining, demonstrating, direction-giving, questioning) and boosting your knowledge of math concepts.
But what if you still don’t feel qualified and need some guidance? Furthering your education by taking online refresher courses at a city college is impressive but not necessary, especially with the plethora of other math resources available. And supercharging your teaching abilities by finding grade-level workbooks is great for testing your knowledge, as long as the directions aren’t too confusing. Also watching instructional videos on YouTube can be helpful at times, although finding skilled presenters is hit and miss.
If you feel nervous or unsure about explaining arithmetic, fractions, decimals, percentages, geometry, algebra, or more advanced math—which is not uncommon for homeschool parents—then consider enrolling your children in GSN’s courses, which offer a variety of curricula and teaching support. As both parent and teacher, you can view what lies ahead in the course outline, confidently managing lesson plans without feeling unprepared. Having a well-thought-out program provides peace of mind and gives you the freedom to focus on your children’s needs.
Familiarize yourself with each child’s individual learning style, and find different ways to communicate effectively using multi-sensory techniques. Some are visual learners, who prefer videos, images, and graphics; others may be kinesthetic-tactile learners, who need a physical, hands-on approach, like counting money using dollar bills and coins; and then there are the auditory learners, who respond best to verbal presentations or musical accompaniment. Since each student has unique learning styles, cater to their interests; otherwise, your efforts may not be well received.
When children see you taking an interest in practicing different techniques—such as regrouping numbers using colorful, interlocking cubes (Unifix Cubes)—your curious, over-the-shoulder observers will want to join you. Using interactive manipulatives for those kinesthetic fingers will show them that adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with colorful rods equates to fun-and-fascinating brain exercises. And when they realize learning puts a smile on your face, they often mimic your positive behavior. Those simple activities will help to further their understanding of number concepts, patterns, ordering, sequencing, estimating, and modeling word problems. Computing answers will become second nature for them.
So don’t pretend to have a college diploma hanging over your fireplace—it’s not necessary—nor should you be concerned about teaching math to your children, because educational resources are available to support your family. Yes, you’ll need a master’s degree in patience; but if you relax, take deep breaths, and know that you’re following in the footsteps of other accomplished homeschooling parents, you’ll do just fine.
If you’re looking for all the benefits of homeschooling with the addition of real, certified teachers, check out International Virtual Learning Academy. IVLA is an Accredited International Online Private School. Learn more at: https://internationalvla.com/
Gina Wileman is a published author (My Twisted Life In Middle School: Best Friends & Bullies) and the owner of EUREKA! Tutoring (EurekaTutoring-SMILES.com), where she offers in-studio and virtual tutoring sessions for students (grades K-12). She homeschooled her son for ten years (2003-2013) and was a networking group facilitator of hikes, field trips, classes, plays, and club events for homeschool families in southern California. Gina loves teaching and mentoring students, writing books and blogs, listening to personal-growth podcasts, furthering her spiritual development, and creating allergy-friendly recipes. Mostly, she cherishes time spent with her husband, son, and two shih-tzu pups.