Homeschooling Why and How

Math and Homeschooling

Math seems to be the nemesis, both in school and in homeschooling and there is no reason why it should be.

Below is an excerpt from Homeschooling:  Why and How, Frequently Asked Questions, and is followed by a link to an article from Marilyn Vos Savant on the same subject.

What if there’s a subject my child hates or just can’t get?

Only in a classroom is this a problem. There, all children need to learn the same subjects at the same time or chaos results. Children who are too fast or too slow or just too cranky at the moment become enormous challenges for the teacher. At home we have far more options—we can move on to something new with the fast child, give the slower one extra help, or resolve crankiness with a change of activity, a snack, or a nap.

Furthermore, the subjects and schedules in school are set by people in another time and place. A child tired of reading for now but wanting to paint can’t just go down the hall to the art room. As homeschooling parents, we need not conform to trying to create the generic lockstep education. We can tailor the day and any lessons to our child, his aptitudes, gifts, weak areas, mood, physical needs, and inspirations of the moment and quickly adapt to changes in any of these.

As I have written elsewhere, virtually all of us will do fine in life knowing the basics of a few subjects—how to read, manage our time and money, be a good citizen, and get along with others, for example. We specialize beyond that for our careers or for our own personal use and satisfaction, and this is often easier to do outside school walls or later in college or trade schools. Also realize that it is never too late to learn something if we later find a need for that knowledge or skill.

Marilyn vos Savant,[i] addressed this question in her weekly column in Parade Magazine:

Question: My 14-year-old son just does not get math. We have tried everything, including tutoring. He is a very visual and hands-on learner and is great on the computer. He also does well in English. But even when he really applies himself, he just cannot do math. Any suggestions? —J. Buchanan, Phoenix, Ariz.

Answer: If I were you, I’d forget about the math and concentrate on what your son can do well. Success is achieved by development of our strengths, not by elimination of our weaknesses. Name any successful person. Does this person have any weaknesses? You bet![ii]”

This is why we have accountants and bookkeepers, artists, plumbers, carpenters, lawyers, and doctors. In my own family, for example, my husband is great at anything involving his hands or numbers; I am the one who helps with words, meanings, and relationships. We need not be good at everything ourselves.

And this excellent article, in which Ms. Vos Savant says, “Some students are surely drowning in math that they’ll never even come close to using, much less needing, in their chosen professions or in life.”

For full article click here.



[i] Ms. vos Savant is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Highest IQ.” “About Marilyn,”

[ii] ©1998 Marilyn vos Savant. Initially published in Parade Magazine. All rights reserved

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