“I get it. Really, I do. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. In fact, I hate it. Why do I have to do this?” – Here we go again! Every single day it’s the same argument.
My daughter struggles with Algebra. It’s not that she doesn’t understand the lessons, she does. It’s that she finds no purpose in the lessons, thus sees them as a waste of time. You see, she is a writer. Words are her gift. Arithmetic is merely something which must be endured.
Even as a writer, we have assured her some amount of arithmetic will be necessary. After all, how will she calculate her royalty on published works? How does she plan to file taxes? Does she know how to balance her check book, establish savings, and handle expense accounts?
She concedes these areas and gladly learns them. She sees their purpose and happily proceeds to apply them to life. But, how do you motivate someone who hates variables to see the beauty in linear systems of equations? What example can I give to explain when she will use x minus y divided by a-squared equals z plus f?
It probably doesn’t help that our local librarians have confirmed taking algebra in college might not even be required of her! It seems pre-algebra was all they needed to gain their masters degrees. With a sigh of relief, my daughter came home to confirm her strong belief that Algebra was definitely not needed, much less Algebra II.
Thus, we are re-thinking our game plan. We are going to finish out this year. We’ve agreed she has come this far, she might as well finish off the book. (She has only two chapters left.) However, we’re reducing the amount of work being done each day; which might be a contributing factor in her strong dislike of the subject. We are also going to readjust our game plan for next year. We had thought to proceed directly on to Algebra II; it seemed logical at the time. Instead, we will move on to Geometry. Which – believe it or not – she loves!
Does she need to learn basic algebra? Undoubtably, yes. How much I force upon her is the debate. Perhaps we will return to Algebra II in another year and she’ll be ready to settle into abstractions and variables. Until then, we will definitely be praying over this issue.
Our desire is to encourage a love of learning in our children. We want them to continually seek knowledge and increase in wisdom. My fear is by pushing Algebra too hard, or any other topic, I might ruin their love of learning.
Okay, so maybe we aren’t quitting, just taking a hiatus during the next year. But, I’m not going to let it worry me. Perhaps we’ll try round two in another year. Then again, maybe not…
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through and for him.”
Chime In!: Are higher maths a non-negotiable course in your homeschool curriculum? We’d love to hear your thoughts!