What's this about me having to teach my child the math? I can't teach math at home; I didn't learn it well years ago...I'm not a trained teacher...
First, we commend you for bringing your child to Mt. Everest Academy, since learning independent study skills will help your child learn better and be far better prepared when entering college in the future. However, very few middle school students are ready to learn independently, and some never quite get comfortable with learning and working on their own until late in high school. Therefore, you cannot expect your child to do this learning on his/her own. Please don't leave them alone to do the math by themselves. This math they're learning is a vital foundation for the math in future years, and if they don't get this foundation down well, they will not do well in high school math. That will mean in college they will be completely shut out from possibly pursuing a major, and ultimately a career, in any science or math or technology-related field. That would be a shame...and we can avoid that right now by making sure they have a strong foundation in basic math skills and middle school math--especially Algebra.Second, this type of school is not set up to provide instruction every day...learning and working at home is exactly the point of independent study. If this wasn't what you planned on when you enrolled your child in the school, you need to come in and talk with your supervising teacher and the principal to figure out if this really is the right place for your child. Before you do that, consider some of the supports that are available from the school and that you can do to support your child (next paragraph).Third, there are things you can do and things the school provides to help you. I'll start with what the school provides:
- A weekly study group with an experienced, fully credentialed math teacher. This study group can be very helpful; make sure you bring your child every week. The teacher will try to cover a large part of the main concepts and new procedures in the weekly work...maybe 60% to 80% of it.
- Three or four weekly drop-in open math-help times with the teacher (see the Math-Help Times link in the left menu). These times are not for instructing a section from scratch, but for helping children with any particular things they aren't able to learn at home. Often a five--minute explanation or example from the teacher completely clears something up for a student, so please take advantage of these times. No, a student cannot come every time and do their work in the room during that time...they really are supposed to be doing the work mostly at home.
- Resources: there are GREAT internet resources available. You could teach much of the course with just the videos that come with the textbook (and are available online). There are also numerous other really good internet math websites. Some of them are linked to this website; go the the left menu, to Useful Math Links.
- The math teacher will provide a review paper at least a week before the test with some of the key points and things to know...that should help a lot when preparing for the monthly test.
Things you can provide at home:
- If you don't feel competent or confident in math, you can still "teach" by learning the math right along with your child, by analyzing the examples, watching the videos, analyzing the step-by-step answers to learn by working backwards, asking the teacher for help (you are welcome to sit in during study groups and to come to math-help times). As an adult, you will recognize nuances, cause and effect, and step-by-step progression sooner and better than a pre-teen or barely teenager. All of that can help you help your child--and then bring your child to me at a math-help time for the lessons where you can't figure it out.
- You can get a tutor for your child. This could be expensive, so it's not an easy or possible choice for some families, but it is an option that's available.
- If there's a close-by relative who is good at math, perhaps that person could take over the math, while you take care of the other subjects.
- Perhaps you can connect with another middle school parent who is great in math, but not as strong in an area where you are strong, and you and that parent can combine your children and your teaching for those subjects.
- While you are working with your child in the first two or three months, continually emphasize and teach independent learning skills, so your child CAN start working independently after a while. That will take some burden off you--but be careful. You still need to observe, and carefully check your child's understanding every day.
SOME INTERNET LINKS
ABOUT INDEPENDENT STUDY SKILLS or GENERAL STUDY