Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Help in our Homeschool

The weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders and the reason for that is, at this very moment, sitting at my kitchen table.  My biggest stress factor of the year is gone and my family is happier.  I highly recommend this cure for stress.

What is it?

A science tutor.

My two oldest are doing Physical Science this year.  This is the second year for one of them and this year wasn't proving to be much easier despite the change of curriculum.  My brain backfires when it comes to the higher sciences and maths.  By higher I mean sixth grade and beyond.  As soon as you begin mixing letters and numbers, my brain freezes.  When I see the Periodic Table of Elements, I go into a coma.

In addition to planning, preparing for, and teaching lessons for five other children, I was trying to find time to teach myself 9th grade science just so I could make a bit of sense while helping my kids.  I even employed the internet to help clarify our lessons, all to no avail.

Enter, our dear friend Katie.  She loves to teach.  She got through 9th grade science (more recently than I, I might add).  She's single.  She and my kids have known and loved each other for years.  She is creative and loves to do experiments.

Every week, for two hours, Katie sits at the kitchen table and reviews the previous week's assignments. The kids have to read a certain amount of pages, write down the main ideas, and answer the questions.  She explains and reviews for about an hour.  This is done conversationally and via games.  There's a lot of laughing along with a lot of learning going on.  She rewards the kids with candy or fun activities.  For another hour or so, they do experiments.  Today, in talking about calories, they will be making ice cream.  Trust me...I've never been THAT fun.

The kids have had at least 2 quizzes in the last 5 weeks.  My son received his first 100% of the year.  In the first session, Katie figured out exactly how each of my kids learn and has put that knowledge to use to benefit them.

My kids don't complain about science any more.  I don't have heart palpitations nor do I have such an overwhelming feeling of failure.  My responsibility now consists only of asking the kids if they've done their assignments and paying Katie every few weeks.  *sigh of great relief*

Are you struggling in a certain subject?  Seek out someone who has time and knowledge and a willingness to share both with you and your students.  It may cost a few dollars, but the success of your children and your relief will be invaluable.

Let me know what areas you get help in or if you're struggling to find help.  I would love to pray for you and your family!


LisaAnne1976 said...

MATH! It seems that my oldest struggles with remembering algebra and how to do it and my youngest struggles with confidence in concepts she has learned. Frustrating!! They could also help in the sciences as well. What a blessing you have made available to you!!

Linda said...

Sometimes it is not about what gives the teacher fits (science in your case). In my house it is English (my degree is in English, and I earn a living as a writer).
My daughter thinks I am too strict on her compositions, too picky in the editing, obcessed with vocabulary and truth be told, I might be! We butt heads constantly about Language Arts. I had come to the conclusion on my own, before reading your blog, that a tutor might be the best thing for writing. I'm looking into Time4Writing ( for that purpose. I think having someone else teach the thing I'm passionate about will make it easier on all concerned! Thanks for the validation!