Monday, April 23, 2012

I Wish There Was a Little Warning

These are the days that test my soul.

These are the days that age me a week in an hour. They make me feel old.

These are the days where I question what it is I am doing each day, and the effectiveness of my efforts. It is April 23rd, and we are 122 lessons into the math year. There are only eight lessons and two tests remaining before my daughter’s first grade math year is completed. Today, my daughter still cannot remember that any number minus zero is that number. Friday, she could. Today, she cannot mentally add or subtract by one. Friday, she could. Today, she is guessing at everything.

It doesn’t help that she’s easily distracted. I just gave her a number line because she needed to add “0+9” and that completely baffled her. I told her to put her finger on “zero” and count nine numbers to the right. She got lost somewhere around three. Frequently, she forgets to stop counting at the number she’s adding. In the course of the past few minutes, 0+9 has equaled 14, 16, 11, and 12.

I started to write “29-10” on a small, hand-held, dry erase board, and before I finished writing she asked if we could write on the other side of the board. Why? Because the idea passed across her mind, and anything that passes across her mind must also pass between her lips.

It’s a rule.

That makes attending church a real gamble.

She also decided that she had to color in the circle portion of the numbers 6, 8, and 9. Since her coloring skills aren’t that well developed, she’s obliterated every number she has attempted to color.

We’re doing a lot of rewriting.

Just shoot me now.

In the course of this prolonged math assignment, I gave her a bag of interlocking counting blocks. The girl started correctly counting blocks, snapping them together, and completing math equations.

Who knew?

I wish my children came with a sign that gave me a hint of what’s in store for the day. I’d like a warning that my middle child is going to drag his feet about starting even the simplest of assignments, and that my day will be filled with embarrassingly flimsy excuses, such as, “Oh, I didn’t know if you wanted me to open my plan book.” That’s why it took an hour to start a cursive writing assignment. I’d like advanced warning that the key to completing the day’s math lesson will be allowing my daughter to count mini marshmallows, even if that means I have to run to the store to buy them. A hormonal-meter on my teenage son would be helpful, too. It would be nice to see a little red needle pointing to “Irrational and Grouchy” when he climbs out of bed so I won’t bother to insult him with unwelcomed pleasantries such as “hello” or “good morning.”

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

I’ve been homeschooling long enough to know that there are days like this.

I just wish they came with a little warning.


  1. I feel your pain. We had a ridiculously convoluted math lesson (counting change) today. Not so good. Oddly, the child is doing lots of neat fractions, which I haven't taught him at all. Sigh. We'll take another stab at money tomorrow. In the meantime, at least we have fractions. Unless somebody steals those from his mind somehow. That seems to happen with alarming frequency around here.

  2. "Unless somebody steals those from his mind somehow. That seems to happen with alarming frequency around here."


  3. Oh dear! Someone's been stealing math knowledge from my son's brain too! It's an epidemic!!

  4. Here too!! And I totally enjoy the teen years. I would like read the meter outside his bed to tell him if he's going to be a mr smarty pants or not. And I'm still enjoying the wonderful "let's take two hours to do 15 math problems". And Princess can't seem to remember her math facts either. We use Times Table math. They do have an addition and subtraction program too........we used it and it was very successful.

  5. My first day of homeschooling (over 10 years ago) I called my best friend up crying because it was too hard and I did not have patience enough to do this! My dear son who was only 5 could not subtact 1 minus zero. He loved cows I was really into cow stories. have one cow on your farm...etc. I even made a number line across the kitchen counters....across the stove onto the sliding glass door. I was bound and determined. I wish now that I would have skipped this lesson and played "Thomas" with him. This little guy grew up and we are doing Algebra now. We've cried over math lessons...and prayed some too. I know I'm going to cry when we are done with them. These homeschool years are rich and precious even when we are not smart enough to learn 1 minus 0.
    Good post!