Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seeing the Struggles ~ Homeschool vs. Public School

We are using Saxon Algebra 1/2. Dawson used Saxon math curriculums in earlier grades and I always liked the style of it .. how it revisits past problem sets in each lesson. To me it's just a great way to build on what you are learning and not forget what you have learned. Practice makes perfect. It also helps to identify problem areas, especially when the same types of problems are being missed in each lesson.

We cover a lesson each day and Dawson does it's 30 problems. I grade those problems and then he has to redo the ones he missed. He gets two grades each day.

Through revisiting past problem sets I can see the areas where he is struggling. There have been a couple. Seeing that, I have been able to work on those problems with him each day. And he has started to figure them out.

In public school that would not have happened. His class would have done a lesson and moved onto the next one the next day. Then he would have tested on those problem sets. And if he didn't understand a concept, he would have missed the same ones day after day and on the test. There is no way his teacher (having about 120 kids a day) would be able to identify the struggling areas of each of her students and address them individually until those students figured them out. They just would have moved on because they've got a required number of lessons to complete.

And, unless I was a VERY attentive parent, I wouldn't have seen the pattern of missed concepts either. And before long he would have been struggling with many more concepts, but by then it would have been beyond anyone's control. And he's really not one to speak up and say, "Hey, I'm not getting this!"

This is what has happened year after year with him, especially in the area of math.

He is struggling.

But, I see him starting to "get it" when it comes to those difficult concepts. I've been able to give him tools to help him with those concepts, charts to look at (taped to his desk), etc. A teacher in public school would not be able to afford him the same courtesies. He is also working his problems out on the white board instead of on paper. A public school teacher would not allow that.

To me this is such an important aspect of homeschooling. I have been able to build on Dawson's strengths (in art, projects and other hands-on work) and aid him individually in his weaknesses.

I'm not a super-teacher. I'm just one who has the time to see the issues in my {one} student.

I doubt he realizes what a big deal that is.


  1. glad he is getting it. we LOVE saxon math. Tif is doing prealgebra this year and loving it. good for her since i always hated math :)

    way to go both of you.

    hope he has cheered up for his sad dawson says post. it broke my heart he sounded so sad about his girlfriend. :(

  2. Glad it is all coming together for both of you. He's lucky to have such a dedicated momma.


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