Math sucks, that's it, that's the title.
My math struggle started in public school. Unfortunately, I managed to miss multiplication somewhere along my education journey and had a very hard time catching up from there. The issue was caught and I did eventually learn to multiply, but not before my peers had moved on to long division and started Algebra. Naturally this left me in an awkward position of feeling inadequate at math, not wanting to try very hard because I'd likely just screw it up. In hindsight this was a horrible way to cope with not understanding a concept. If I'd been more vocal about my schoolwork struggles, I may have gotten the help I needed a bit earlier and not felt so behind.
In high school math got even more difficult for me to engage with. I knew the very basics, but the big stuff like Geometry scared me half to death. In the end, I really did try my best, but fell short quite a bit. Again, had I been a little more vocal about the actual struggle as opposed to just crying into my textbook, I know I could have gotten help before this point in my math education.
As frustrating as math has been for me my entire life, there was a silver lining. Silver linings are my favorite! My Junior year of high school, my mom had had enough of my struggling, crying, wailing into my textbooks and formed a solution. Instead of following a traditional math curriculum, she adapted. We started consumer math, a program designed to teach me practical math. Math I would actually use in my every day life. Obviously in the early 2000's my teachers were still saying things like, "you won't always have a calculator in your pocket." Joke's on them, I now have an entire computer in my pocket!
Consumer math set me up for success, not just in the class room that year, but in life. I learned about calculating interest on loans, doing my own taxes, balancing a check book and so much more. The tricks I used in this class about household budgeting are still a weekly go to for my real life. No offense to Algebra or Geometry, they're definitely important, but I don't use them on a weekly, or even yearly, basis! This post is a lot less about math curriculum and a lot more about how flexibility in home school benefited me in the long run. My mom could have easily forced me into more advanced math classes, increasing my frustration and damaging my relationship with math permanently. Instead she chose to adapt and help me have a healthy relationship with math.
The adapt and overcome concept helped all four of us kids growing up and it helps me a lot now! I remember more examples from my own education than just math, but what really stands out to me now is how watching the adapting then changed the way I home school now. If something doesn't work out, we don't really stress about it, we switch it up to learn the same concept differently. For kids as young as mine, it's pretty simple stuff. Lana wasn't catching on to the letter sounds, so we found a TV show that did the majority of the leg work for us. In future years that may look like non-traditional curriculum or even finding tutors for certain subjects.
I know we will have unique challenges throughout the years, just like my parents did. Watching them adapt to the difficulties of home schooling four kids, all with very different needs, really has set us up for success in our own journey. I've learned to approach this journey with a very no stress attitude, something I know not everyone can do. The no stress mentality has saved us from more than a few disasters. Thankfully, that approach has leaked over into most of our life. A no stress approach not just to school, but life, marriage and parenting has been so, so liberating! And it all started with that math curriculum all those years ago. Thanks Mom! :)