New to home schooling and lost already

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2013
New to home schooling and lost already
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 2:41am

Hello everyone. My family recently moved out of the country for a year and decided that homeschooling is our best option. We looked into multiple cirriculum and chose one that seems to be working fairly well, with a few exceptions. So, here I am, asking for help and suggestions.

First, my dd (9) is not grasping factors, prime and compositite numbers. I have tried and tried to get her to understand. I've put it in the simplest terms I can think of. Still nothing. She is doing fine with everything else, but after 2 weeks of attempting to get her to understand, I am at a loss. Please help us!

My second issue do I ensure the kids are retaining the information? There are self tests and unit tests, but what about next week or the week after that??? Does all this continue to build upon it's self ensuring that the kids continue to use and retain the information.

I am not a teacher, I'm a nurse! I am having a very hard time with my confidence level regarding keeping my kids up to grade level while we are gone! They are all straight A students at home, and I'm scared to death I will fail them! Especially at math...that's my worse subject! I've got all the others covered and am pretty confident I can handle them...Math is a different story!


Desperate and Worried in Malaysia

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2012
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 6:54pm

Hi there,

How exciting to live out of the country for a year!!!  That alone should provide about all the homeschool you need immersing yourself in a different culture. 

About retaining math:  Does your math curriculum have review built in?  If so, then that should have it covered.  If not, then I have found exercises for review online to print or make copies of worksheets to use for review later.  But math builds and so usually they use those skills in something else soon enough IF they are important and not everything covered is :) 

IF a child is not getting something then I would only worry about it if it is something detrimental to go on.  Not sure primary numbers count-math facts are another story. I would concentrate on the basic facts and make sure that it is not a weakness in this area that is causing the problem with the factoring.  You can always put a flag on the concept and wait several months and go back to it.  Sometimes kids are just not ready.  It's okay to go back.  If you are working diligently then I'm sure that your children will stay at the level where they need to be.  Also, I think that kids have growth spurts in concepts at different rates.  Maybe your child is excelling in writing right now and her brain is focused in  that area.  

I have a special needs child that I'm *supposed* to be teaching estimating to and I plan to go back later.  He can get the math computations but estimation is an abstract idea that doesn't matter if he learns at age 12 or 16.  I skip things if they aren't working.  And I go super slow on some things if they need it. 

Hope that helps,






iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 11:34pm
Try viewing the videos on Khan Academy for those concepts and see if she gets them. (Do be aware that Khan is for ALL ages - so he may get into more detail on things than what your book does - don't let her worry that she has to understand it all. Conversely, if this does help, let her know that it is also intended for adults and she is great to have gotten it!) I am assuming she is about 4th grade - don't worry, it WILL be covered again. Let her know it is fine that she isn't getting it this year - by next year her brain will be better able to do it. (And really, it will, so don't stress! That is a concept that finally clicked with me in about 7th grade, so she has time.) Most math programs do cycle and have some review. If yours does not, periodically go back through and do some review on your own. But again, don't sweat it too much as every math program has review of the previous year's work to cover kids who forgot, moved in, or otherwise used a different curriculum the previous year. Don't worry about grade level for grammar, social studies/history, or science. That all varies from state to state and kids in elementary tend to catch up on all of that pretty quickly.
Avatar for vegiemama
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2000
Sat, 03-16-2013 - 8:35am

Hi and welcome!  Wow, Malaysia for a year!  Talk about cultural immersion and a living learning experience.  I hope your family enjoys the opportunity.  (I had shirt-tail cousins who grew up as missionaries there and I remember hearing their experiences and thinking how exotic it all sounded!)

You've gotten good input on the math issue.  I wanted to add one thing, and that is to make it hands-on. The factoring, anyway.  Use some sort of manipulative (stones, M&M's, something she can get her hands on).  Say the number she's factoring is 12, so give her 12 stones.  Have her explore how many different groupings she can arrange those stones into and still have a total of 12.  Obviously some of those groupings won't be factors but that's ok.  Really, factoring is just grouping, except then you have to be able to multiply.  When she makes grouping, have her note the numbers on a piece of paper.  Then, have her look at those numbers and decide if she would add them together to get 12, or multiply them.  Seeing "4 groups with 3 objects in them" will help it make a lot more sense than trying to figure it on paper.

Factors isn't the others said, sometimes giving it a rest will help her process it down the road.

Homeschooling mom to DD15 & DS11

CL of Homeschooling, Signature Showcase, Ectopic Loss, and Fertility Charting

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2011
Sat, 03-16-2013 - 2:28pm

I felt the same way, when I started. Only my kid was struggling with things at school that they could not teach her and I was dealing with that, while outside of school I was teaching and other community educators were teaching her much that was when we went to homeschool. If your kids generally do well in a regular school environment that is a bonus. I felt very desperate, alone and afraid and shunned by those who were supposed to be helping us! Homeschool seemed like the only option. So a lot of that is normal feeling in the start of home ed.

I think video concepts have helped a lot for my kids to review over and over, with Math. The ones who are good with regular school instruction will especially benefit. We like the videos from Sonlight's HomeSchool store that  have a guy named Justin who is the teacher...he uses great props to help show a concept. I also have music CD that has math facts, that helps a bit, and math facts flash cards....and we use a computer based daily curicula that is better at Math than me...called teaching explains each problem and has built in review. It is not always enough so I also have those videos, and hands on Math tools that I set up when concepts are especially difficult.

For factoring my kids do best with some visual form of multiplication tables...or graphs, to show the on and on of how factors work....and how prime ends...and does not repeat, things like that. Often my kids do not show continual improvement as other kids do, but will have a leap of understanding maybe 6 to 18 months after working with the concepts over time and then the light bulb goes on and they get it...and show it on testing, after it is more completly understood. So it is ok...if they are stuck, but you keep trying differing methods to help them see, feel, use a concept....then eventually they will get it, over time, and trial and error....lots of error often, for some of the concepts! Thats why all thru school often they reteach the same concepts grade to grade. Yet, as stated if you are working on math facts over time, that will help them get the more difficult concepts when they come up. Give it time, and dont get to frustrated with the kid...just keep trying. 

Enjoy the fun of learning culture and all the compare and contrast you can teach, about your own culture and belief systems, as you are there....that is awesome learning opportunity for everyone! 

Dont worry....just work on and on, and in time they will learn what they need to in the path they choose in life! We are not all ment to be mathmeticians so just getting surface understanding may be all we get. Yet...other areas we will get much more understanding and that will be where our calling what if we are not all going to be Math nerds! There are enough of them I am sure! They can be found when needed for taxes, retirement planning and buying stocks! Yet....maybe your kids will write print ads( be better at visual and written work) for there it all works out!