Overcoming a fear of homeschool subjects we feel less than qualified to teach becomes the norm for the homeschooling lifestyle we choose. We’re not afraid of challenges. Besides, pushing through fear of subjects we are weak in doesn’t have to be a negative because it makes us work harder to obtain accurate facts and tried-and-true teaching tips. My idea of how to teach math has changed positively and considerably over the last 19+ years of my homeschooling. Look at these 3 ways to make math count for middle school when you’re not the math mom.

** ONE/ Just because you’re the teacher, it doesn’t mean you have to understand every concept.**

One mistake I wish I could take back was to not be so hard on myself thinking that I had to understand every math concept. While it’s true that you want to have an idea of what you’re middle school kids will be learning, it’s not necessary that you understand every concept.

Part of the challenge in teaching is to be a humble learner yourself.

After jumping into math assignments with each son, I knew that if the curriculum could teach a middle schooler how to learn math that I could learn right alongside them. If you model an eager attitude to learn math, your middle school kid will too.

** TWO/ Choosing the correct math program is essential to nurturing a math lover.**

I have used numerous math programs throughout my years and each one served a different purpose.

I don’t buy into the thought that one math program is superior to another, but one is superior **for my boys’ learning styles** to others. And the other equally important thing I learned was that my teaching ability mattered many times more than the curriculum.

That may seem like a contradiction after I mentioned that you didn’t need to know every concept, but let me explain.

Not having the ability is quite different than finding math challenging. From the time we started homeschooling, we always question our confidence. The point is that if you and your child both struggle in math, then you will want to find a math curriculum which gives you more help in explaining concepts.

However, if your child is a strong math learner, then follow his lead by choosing a math program that suits his learning style.

For example, two math programs that I used for middle school, which gave me more teacher help were **Calvert Math** and **Rod and Staff**. Each one had it’s strengths and comparing costs, Rod and Staff is more inexpensive, but then it is written for a classroom.

Calvert math was written for the homeschooled mom in mind.

Math-U-See is another favorite I used in middle school for my math lovers. Though Math-U-See touts that it is for the non-math person, the amount of concepts and pace it moves at is just right for the math lover. The mastery approach is appealing to a child who loves the challenge of math and wants to move at a faster pace.

Too, unless I watched the videos with Math-U-See alongside my son, I couldn’t just pick up the teacher’s manual and explain it. This is why I recommend it more for the mom who has had experience teaching math or for the motivated math learner.

**THREE/ Project based learning is for math too.**

Another important way to make math meaningful for middle school is allow more project based learning instead of rote memorization. Project based learning gives your child a chance to solve real-life problems.

I’ve learned that I don’t want to follow the masses instilling a hate or worse yet indifferent attitude toward math. How did math ever get such a bum rap?

That means I have to let go of my thinking which is that completing math worksheets means that my sons are grasping math facts and more importantly seeing value for numbers lifelong. It does not.

## How to Make Math Move from Miserable to Meaningful

Project based learning, however, gives a child a real meaning for learning math. For example, one project that we jumped into for a month was to focus on learning the differences between customary and metric measuring.

See, back in the 70’s, the U.S. tried to switch to the metric system like the rest of the world, but it didn’t go over. Now, we live in a world where a majority of what our children see each day can be a mix of the metric system and customary measurement. On top of that, many kids are still confused by our customary measurements.

We kept a journal of things we measured in both the metric system and our customary measurement. Explaining to my sons why the U.S. was so different helped them to see that they would constantly need to be aware of the two types of measuring systems.

Most math programs are similar when they explain very little about the metric system and how it got its name from the meter, which is the principal unit of measure.

Taking on a challenge and tying math to something I have a passion for like history, we were able to read about how the metric system got started. During the French Revolution, the academy of science was looking for a better way to measure.

This project based learning where my sons chose books about the metric system along with the French Revolution and keeping a math journal made our month project based activity memorable. And no, I still can’t recall instantly all the metric measurements, but I love a challenge and more important is that my sons have a love for the history of math.

This type of learning gives them a spark to be more number aware. From the beginning, teaching children that patterns are found in everyday things like a garden and even music gives them a love for math that they will carry into adulthood.

What strengths in math can you bring to your middle school kids?

Also, grab some tips from * 25 Creative and Tasty Edible Math Activities that Keeps Learning Fun* and

**5 Tips on Teaching Homeschool Subjects I Loathe.**Hugs and love ya,

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