Review ~ Footprints Nature Quest

Wendy and Shirley, veteran homeschool moms and authors of the amazing South African Little Footprints, Footprints On Our Land and Footprints Into 21st Century curriculums, have launched their latest curriculum called

Footprints Nature Quest

This curriculum covers South Africa’s natural biomes, Geography and Natural Sciences. The focus is on the unique flora, fauna and other natural features of each distinct area. The curriculum takes you on a journey of discovery exploring the depths of the dark kelp forests of the west coast as well as the diverse east coast with its warm ocean and lush vegetation. Your family will uncover the secrets of animals and plants of the Nama Karoo, and meander through the rich floral kingdom of the fynbos biome. You will marvel at South Africa’s forests, rivers, mountains, bushveld, and the vast Kalahari desert.

I was delighted to preview their parent guide when I proofread it, and the content, the flow of the narrative and the details of the background information they provided utterly enchanted me! Here is my review:

What age groups?

Footprints Nature Quest is a literature-based unit study aimed at children between the ages of 8-16 years. Footprints Nature Quest also includes the option to buy a package of beautiful picture book stories for families with children in the 4-8 years age category. These books will include your younger children in the different safaris of each biome, perfect for multi-level home education. Anyone interested in nature will thoroughly enjoy this curriculum!

How long will this curriculum take?

Your family will experience an incredible 2-year+ safari-style adventure through the spectacular nature of South Africa! This is a stand-alone curriculum, but it will dovetail perfectly alongside the Footprints On Our Land curriculum, where it may take a little longer to complete. It is very flexible and parents can include the Nature Quest reading as part of a weekly nature study cycle. I would encourage parents to take it slowly, savour the books, include wide margins to follow “rabbit trails”, take trips and invest in your children’s passions and interests.

How is it written?

Footprints Nature Quest parent guide is written in a gentle conversational style and I really loved that the story flowed as a safari journey following local guides. These guides are men and women of different nature careers, providing children with vocational inspiration, and there are a few adorable animal guides in other biomes. These guides will even take your family travelling back in time using a “time machine” to learn captivating facts about human settlements in South Africa.

What is included in the package?

As with all the other Footprints curriculums, the Footprints Nature Quest curriculum provides a Charlotte Mason-styled education with a collection of great living books, beautiful picture books, exceptional reference books and their in-depth parent guide.

The Footprints Nature Quest parent guide provides useful background information and well-researched facts about the details and complexities of each biome, as well as other enriching resources, lists of videos, movies and documentaries suited to the topics. Their course website includes additional links and references.

They have collected a wonderful selection of “living books” that bring subjects to life through stories, biographies or autobiographies. These authors share their knowledge and passionate insights from their experiences, as well as descriptions of this beautiful country and its natural inhabitants. These living books, unlike textbooks, are alive with details and will draw your family into the story as if you were there! Their picture books for younger readers are so beautiful and well-written, enchanting even the older children and teenagers in their families.

No need for worksheets, tests and exams?

The curriculum guide provides prompts and options for a wide variety of meaningful assignments such as narrations, timeline work, map work, writing assignments, practical activities and hands-on activities that will enrich your children’s learning and experiences. These assignments replace the need for traditional school-type quizzes, busywork and tests. They suggest relevant outings, trips and holidays for family explorations for each region, as well as highlight important environmental issues and voluntary organizations. 

You can read more about Footprints Nature Quest, costs and how to order here: South African Homeschool Curriculum – Footprints Nature Quest 

Footprints Nature Quest literature-based curriculum will stimulate rich family conversations, inspire purposeful work, offer potential career and environmental work opportunities, all in an atmosphere of joy and delight that leads to a love of learning. 

I highly recommend Footprints Nature Quest!

Blessings, Nadene

Review of Khoikhoi Paper House & Village

A mom who recently ordered the 3D model of a Khoikhoi House & Village sent me photos of her beautiful daughter Chloe, nearly 9 years old, creating her little Khoi family around their grass mat covered hut and the Khoi village background.

She wrote,

Here is Chloe assembling her Khoi Khoi village.

She really enjoyed putting it together and it definitely made the story of “Ghamka” more real.

~ Lianne

I love that young children can colour in, cut out and assemble these paper models on their own or with a little help and explanation from a parent. I love Chloe’s look of delight with her finished Khoi village!

Ghamka” is one of the wonderful many living books covering the history of South Africa in the Footprints On Our Land curriculum. Read alouds come alive when children retell or narrate the chapter using props, models, puppets or hands-on activities.

I found that children love to interact with their paper models. My children and grandchildren added additional paper characters or props to re-enact the story they have listened to. Encourage your children to research further if there is a spark of real interest; let them watch suitable YouTube videos or loan books from your local library.

My children loved to dress up as described in the story. When we read “Ghamka they actually built a Khoi hut using my set of grass table mats pinned over the frame of a little dome tent. Then, of course, they wanted to eat Khoi food inside their tent. The history story became their story!

Order your African houses & villages paper models on my Packages page. If your family has ordered and made any of them, please would you email me to share your review and photos – I would love to see their creations!

You can find all my African houses paper models in the series —

Blessings, Nadene

Footprints Nature Quest Livestream

Wendy and Shirley, two veteran homeschool moms and authors of the amazing South African Footprints curriculums, are unveiling their latest curriculum bundle called Footprints Nature Quest.

They will be hosting a FREE livestream on Monday 28th February at 7:30pm and will record the session if you cannot make this time. Here are 3 reasons for you to attend the livestream:
1. It’s FREE!
2. You can ask real time questions
3. Because it’s fun!

Booking link for your free ticket at Quicket.

Here’s a peek at Footprints Nature Quest

This new Footprints Nature Quest is a literature-based unit study aimed at children between the ages of 8-14 years that covers South Africa’s various natural biomes, Geography and Natural Sciences, focusing on the unique flora, fauna and other natural features of each distinct area. As with all the other Footprints curriculums, Wendy and Shirley provide a collection of great stories, prompts for rich conversations, purposeful work and an atmosphere of joy and delight that leads to a love of learning. 

They have collected a wonderful selection of “living books” that brings subjects to life through stories, biographies or autobiographies. These authors share their knowledge and passionate insights from their experiences, as well as descriptions of this beautiful country and her natural inhabitants.

The Footprints Nature Quest curriculum guide is written in a gentle conversational style and provides useful background information and researched facts about the complexity of each biome, as well as other enriching resources, lists of movies and documentaries suited to the topics. The curriculum guide provides a wide variety of meaningful assignments such as mapwork, writing assignments, practical activities and hands-on activities that will enrich your children’s learning and experiences. They suggest relevant outings, trips and holidays for family explorations for each regions. 

Wendy and Shirley credit the team effort who assisted in their development of this new Nature Quest – Shirley’s son has given valuable feedback from a child’s perspective about which of the many living books gripped him most. Wendy’s daughter Sarah created the beautiful graphic designs and layout, while @se7en_hoods, mom to eight children, gave valuable input to make it super homeschool mom friendly and @nadeneesterhuizen (that’s me) added suggested thoughts and ideas for content and fun assignments.

You can read more about Footprints Nature Quest here: https://www.south-african-homeschool-curriculum.com/footprints-nature-quest 

Book your ticket for this livestream soon as there are limited seats available. See you there!

Blessings, Nadene

F-Words to Include in Homeschooling

In my previous post – F-Words to Avoid in Homeschooling, I shared my thoughts about some of the negative attitudes and approaches to homeschooling that I struggled with during my years of teaching my daughters from preschool to high school graduation.

This week, I would like to encourage some positive F-word attitudes and practices that will create a wonderful homeschooling experience for you and your children.

  • FAITH – It takes faith to believe that you can homeschool your children. It requires faith to work through the struggles, doubts and fears. I prayed often for each of my children. I needed God’s word and leading and wisdom in my approach. We prayed together each day, especially when the children were young.
  • FLEXIBLE – Being inflexible will always lead to unmet expectations, disappointments, stress and exhaustion. Life happens. Your family is unique and your plans will not always work out. Stay flexible and learn to find your rhythm. It is fairly easy to catch up if children were too tired or were sick. In the grand scheme of things, when real life is “interrupting” your plans, real learning and character formation happen when we learn to adjust and adapt.
  • FULL – Offer your children a “full” education. Include a wide range of subjects, projects, activities and approaches as well as the basics. I used daily themes to include all the “extra” subjects such as Fine Arts, art lessons, music appreciation, poetry, Shakespeare, Latin, Current Events, and Nature Study. Of course, I don’t advise over-full days! Beware of taking on too many extramural activities, too many sports trips and outings each week. Give your children free time at home to have hobbies, to play, to read, to be bored. These are the moments your children will discover their passions and interests.
Creative free time – my daughters sewing, making jewellery, doing arts and crafts – selling their products in markets and giving them as gifts.
  • FEAST – Your children’s education should be like a wonderful buffet table full of options, opportunities and choices. Offer your children different hands-on activities, give them an opportunity to dig in deep when a topic sparks a flame of interest. Follow them on these rabbit trails and encourage reading, videos and meeting real people in these areas of interest. May I say that this is an essential benefit of homeschooling? You’re not like a school teacher, limited to a specific number of days on a topic in the curriculum — you can tailor-make your child’s learning to meet their passions and interests.
My youngest daughter’s interest in calligraphy
  • FRESH – Keep things fresh by changing their learning environment for each new theme and topic. Display new posters, and have new library books open and on display. Hang mobiles and place objects of interest on the bookshelf. Regularly change your children’s own art and projects displays. Use different options for narrations instead of asking them to simply tell back what they learnt. I have over 100 narration ideas in this eBook that will equip you with fun, new and fresh ideas.
  1. FUNRemember to have fun! Play fun music, sing songs and move together. Regularly go outside and spend time together in nature, have picnics in the garden, on the trampoline, at the pool, under a tree. Read aloud in a tent, in a fort, even under a table. Dress up and play-act the story, do puppet shows, eat foods described in the story. Watch suitable movies relating to the read alouds or themes. Young children especially need short lessons interspersed with physical release activities and they love action songs. These are the moments that make a day feel good and, guess what, these are the moments that your children will never forget!
  • FAMILY – Remember that homeschool is a family journey. It is important that you include dad in the day. Encourage family participation — go on family outings, read aloud at the dinner table, include grandparents in show-and-tell and at graduations. Your family is unique in its vision and therefore your homeschooling will look and feel different to another family using an identical curriculum.
  • FAN – Be your child’s fan! Be their support, their encourager, their cheerleader. Be their facilitator and find ways to support and stimulate their interests and passions. Never underestimate the power of your positive input, even in their hobbies. Let them overhear your good reports. Build them up. Look for their positives and recognise their hard work as well as their achievements.
  • FLOW – Find your daily rhythm and flow. Adjust your schedule to suit your family’s most focussed and attentive times in the day. Avoid disruptions, distractions and interruptions for yourself = put your cellphone away! Keep your lessons short and sweet so that the work flows quickly and effectively. Then take your time with read alouds and projects. Also, note, some days will flow better than other days. In my many years of experience, I discovered that there are usually only 2 days in a week that flow effortlessly, but in those days, we covered more work and completed activities with joy and simplicity.
  • FINISH – There is much to be said for perseverance! Commit to finishing what you start in your homeschooling. Stay the course. Of course, there will be times when you want to give up, but there is such a blessing in holding on, keeping on going and making it through to the success at the end. You will need encouragement to turn frowns upside down. There will be many mornings where you will need prayer and faith to motivate yourself. You will need to address issues and encourage your children to press on, keep trying and give their very best. Finishing does not need to be dogmatic and fundamental, especially when your homeschooling does not fit and when relationships suffer because of the struggles. That is when you should stop and reassess and figure out the best way forward. There are times when it is important to put an unsuitable book or awkward curriculum aside that doesn’t gel. I am suggesting that in order to finish what you are committed to, you will need to be resolute about your family vision in order to see it come to fruition.

May these F-words encourage and motivate you in your homeschooling journey. Please encourage others and share your experiences with us in the comments.

Blessings, Nadene

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F-Words to Avoid in Homeschooling

I was a professional school teacher who then homeschooled my daughters for over 23 years. Many of my school teacher attitudes and approaches did not work for us in our homeschooling. In those early years, I had many fears and flaws and I had to learn a new and better way. May this list of 10 F-word of these flaws encourage you to avoid these pitfalls.

  1. FEAR – Most moms are afraid. They fear not doing the “right” thing or not knowing what to do. New homeschool moms are terrified. I was. I remember that sick, cold feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach when I ordered my first, expensive, bells-and-whistles curriculum, and I desperately hoped that I had made the right choices. I was afraid that my children would fall behind if I didn’t keep to the schedule. (Hint – They do not fall behind!) Fear nagged at me and dragged my heart down. I was afraid of what my family thought of us, of how my children didn’t do things like they “were supposed” to … just so many fears. May I suggest that homeschooling requires faith?
  2. FORCE – You cannot force a child to learn. No nagging, badgering, or pleading will help. Either the child is not ready, the work is not at their level, or the approach does not fit. Adapt, adjust or amend your approach.
  3. FAST – Don’t rush. When homeschool feels like a continual FRENZY or you are FRAZZLED, slow down. It is not necessary to stick to the exact schedule. Remember that learning is like a travel itinerary. Learn to trust your family’s pace, take time to pause for scenic detours and or to rest. I shared my best homeschool schedule advice = take more time!
  4. FORMAL – Homeschooling is NOT the same as school-at-home. You can learn without textbooks or a teacher teaching, or children sitting at desks in a classroom. While discipline subjects such as handwriting, spelling and maths should be done with children sitting at a table, rather relax and sit together and use living books to learn most of the other subjects. Ease into a daily rhythm rather than a strict formal classroom schedule. Cuddle together and read-alouds on the couch, read poetry under a tree, or work on projects in the kitchen or while lying on the carpet.
  5. FACTS – Don’t focus entirely on only learning facts. Charlotte Mason encourages the child to develop a relationship with the subject matter and the author who share their experiences in living books. The focus of a wholehearted education is not on simply memorizing facts but accurately recalling the details described, the emotions connected to these experiences and the child’s relationship to them.
  6. FIXED mindset versus growth mindset. A fixed mindset is limiting, whereas a growth mindset is a freedom, especially in dealing with struggles and difficulties. A fixed mindset performs to achieve success and wants to prove intelligence or talent. A fixed mindset compares itself with others, is threatened by others’ successes and avoids challenges that may lead to failure. Fixed mindset moms often compare themselves and their children to others, feel threatened, feel anxious and are usually desperately striving. When one has a growth mindset, you are inspired by others’ successes, look for ways to improve and overcome challenges, and treat difficulties as opportunities to persist and improve. Encourage a growth mindset in yourself and your children.
  7. FLUCTUATE – Stability and consistency in education are important. Avoid constantly changing your approach, exchanging your curriculums, vacillating on your choices, or wavering on decisions. Of course, it is natural to doubt yourself when you are unsure or beginning something new. I recommend you ditch a book or curriculum that genuinely does not fit, but at some stage, settle down and make the best of the situation and persevere and figure things out. Disillusioned children and parents who keep changing things do not learn to persist and persevere, which leads to a weak character.
  8. FRET & FUSS – Mom, your job is to hold space for your child for deep, intentional learning and connection. Avoid nagging, interrupting, fretting and fussing. Give your children a calm, loving atmosphere where they can focus and learn. When your plans overwhelm you, spend some time and prepare yourself, your lessons and your homelife so that you are not scurrying around looking for lost books, stressing over what to cook or fussing over a child who is distracted.
  9. FLAT – Avoid dull, flat learning as this will quickly quench your child’s natural, in-built desire to learn and discover. Develop a rich, wide education for your children. Find fascinating books, watch interesting videos, listen to marvellous music, observe nature, look at amazing art. Take time and go on educational outings, go to museums, and meet interesting artisans and artists, farmers, builders and inventors. Provide your children with a full, flavourful education.
  10. FAIL – Fear of failure is crippling. Let me reassure you that you and your children will not fail. Avoid curriculums that require tests and exams, especially with young children. Your child does not require 12 years of exam-based curriculums as preparation to be able to write their school-leaving exams. They do not need quarterly tests and exams to ascertain whether they understand their work because homeschooling is often one-on-one and you will quickly see if your child can manage their work. My eldest daughter wrote her first formal, timed exam for her Prelims in her final school year. A few months of preparation at home using the previous years’ exam papers and a timer prepared her efficiently for her actual exams. When a child shows signs that they did not understand or master the work, gently re-do the lesson or find an alternative approach.

I recommend you tailor-make your child’s learning and make child-led choices in projects, activities and subject choices. Grace and gentleness provides mercy that produces natural growth.

Please share your experiences with us. Feel free to write to me with any questions. Fill in the contact form on my About & Contact page, and I will do my best to advise and encourage you.

Grace and mercy to you and your family this year.

Blessings, Nadene

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Nativity Play updated

Back in 2012, my daughter Lara and I created a Nativity puppet show. This year I have updated it to share with you as a wonderful family activity for the festive season.

We created rod & wire puppets, but simple hand puppets would work just as well. There are animals, props and backdrops patterns, templates, instructions and suggestions. The script is written in rhyming couplets so that it is easier for young children to memorize. A parent or older child who is good at reading aloud acts as narrator.

This free download includes:

  • Welcome to this Nativity Play
  • How to perform using your puppets
  • Some simple hand puppet tips and ideas
  • Animals
  • Props
  • Stage setup
  • How to make your puppets
  • Ideas for backdrops
  • Scene 1:  Outside a stable
  • Scene 2: Outside night time on a hill
  • Scene 3:   In King Herod’s Palace
  • Scene 4:   In the Stable

Our hand puppets have been enormously popular and have lasted for years!

We recycled them for other plays such as our Esther Play for Purim.

You can read about all our other puppets here – Narrations 103 -Puppets

Here is your free download ~

Enjoy and be blessed!

Nadene

Jesse Tree and Advent Activities

Over all our years of homeschooling, we have celebrated advent with a variety of Christmas Jesse Tree and Advent activities. As December approaches, why don’t you include this beautiful daily reflection of Christ revealed from Genesis to Revelation with your own Jesse Tree devotional? Here is a list of suggested activities and links ~

Homeschool moments
  • We constructed our own chicken wire Jesse Tree curved to form a tall narrow cone and decorated it with free downloads from around the Internet. Or you could make a simple cardboard cut-out Homemade Jesse Tree by This Simple Home, or simply decorate your own Christmas tree with these meaningful symbols.
  • We created small Jesse Tree discs made with baker’s clay & painted them. Another year we used cardstock and illustrated and painted our discs and covered them with clear packaging tape to protect them.  Then my daughter sewed all the discs together by running them through the sewing machine to join them into a lovely long bunting.  We draped this bunting around the tree. Some moms sewed their Jesse Tree discs using felt (see link below).
Homeschool moments1
  • We painted the Names of Jesus Ornaments downloaded free from Bible Story Printables.com with bright, bold colours.  (You can print out the coloured version, but I wanted to save on printing ink.)  These discs are larger than the small Jesse Tree discs and fill in much of the wire tree space.
  • We made Names of Jesus strips which my youngest stapled into paper rings and interlinked them to make a lovely paper chain to decorate our Advent table.
  • I downloaded our Jesse Tree ornaments from Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift download.  We coloured some elements of each picture in with silver and gold pens and protected the pictures with clear tape.  We used thin florist wire pieces to twist through a tiny hole pierced in our decorations and hooked them simply over the tree’s wires as we follow our Jesse Tree Advent story. 

Here are free Jesse Tree ideas and Advent resources ~

  1. Easy Fun School has a lovely free advent devotional and Jesse Tree unit study lesson plan, and here’s an expanded version
  2. Beautiful felt Jesse Tree Ornaments from Mandy Pelton’s blog Everything Beautiful
  3. Teachers Pay Teachers.com (log in required) – Advent Liturgy Jesse Tree 
  4. Simple Jesse Tree Ornaments Tutorial  at Keeping Life Creative.com
  5. Jesse Tree Advent Study by Confessions of a Homeschooler
  6. Jesse Tree ornaments free for Life Your Way readers from Printables Your Way.net
  7. Jesse Tree Ornaments from Grand Story Ornaments 

Hope this inspires you if you are looking for Jesse Tree and Advent activities.

Blessings, Nadene

Ending The Year Well

This year is fast rushing to a close … Christmas goodies are already filling the shops and December summer holidays seem just around the corner.

It is also the time of the year when we conclude and congratulate ourselves for the work we have covered during our school year.

As I revisit this post from my archives, may I offer some ideas to finish your year well?

We don’t always actually “finish” the curriculum each year because we stretch our curriculum over 2 years.  When we declare official school work closed for the year, it is good to find closure and create some fun activities to enjoy during their holidays.

Here are some of our end-of-year activities:
(not in any particular order … just some of the many ideas that sprang to mind …)

  • Finish any year-long hands-on projects.
  • Go on outings or field trips.
  • Catch up and finish any read alouds.
  • Do all outstanding Science experiments.
  • Prepare an exhibition of their work and invite family or close friends to see their work.  Children love to explain what they did or present their projects and art work!
  • Join other homeschool families or co-ops for an end-of-year party or activity.
  • Hold a ‘graduation’ party.  Young children, even teens, love to receive a certificate!  Sonlight builds this aspect into their curriculums.
  • We love to make Christmas gifts.
  • Listen to the year’s music highlights on a special playlist.
  • Watch a historical movie covering the time of your studies.
  • Create and act out a play or puppet show for a real audience.
4-20150123_065037-1

Some administrative activities:

  • My youngest loves to hang mobiles!
  • Prepare their new notebook files and stationary.
  • Refresh the Theme of the Day poster.
  • File away the year’s work and store art and craft projects.
  • Review and look through the whole year’s work.  I ask my children to comment, select, highlight and rejoice over work they have done and accomplished.  I ask these basic questions:
    1. What was your favourite activity/ theme/ or topic?  Why?
    2. Show me your top 5 favourite books – read alouds or readers.
    3. What did you least enjoy?  Why?
  • I spend these weeks planning, printing and preparing the children’s school work for the new year.  (It is an exciting time , yet slightly scary time for me.  Every. Year.  Even after  +18 years of homeschooling, I’m not always sure what will work, how long it will take and if we will enjoy it.)

Remember that homeschooling is a long journey, and just as travellers love to show their photos and review their trips, an end-of-year program is a wonderful way to rejoice in all the accomplishments and ease into the new year with enthusiasm and motivation.

Blessings in your homeschooling journey!

May you find much grace and rest in this festive season, Nadene

Voortrekker Ox Wagon Paper Model

Here is my 3D paper model of Voortrekkers and ox wagon, the latest paper model in my series of historical African culture and heritage hands-on activities.

This download includes a Voortrekker family, an ox wagon, a team of yoked oxen and Africans with a mountain pass background triorama. Colouring in, cutting out and creating these 3D paper models are wonderful hands-on activities while mom reads aloud. This paper model is fairly fiddly and young children may need some assistance.  Encourage your children to interact and act out the Voortrekker stories with their paper models.  It is  a wonderful way for History to come alive!  This paper model is a perfect fit for the Footprints in Our Land, our South African, literature-based Social Studies curriculums.

Some historical background:

The Voortrekkers were Dutch-speaking colonists living in the Cape under the British-run colonial administration of southern Africa and who migrated away from the British colony in large groups from 1836 in a movement called The Great Trek.

The traditional Voortrekker wagon was called “kakebeenwoens” because they resembled the jawbone of an animal. These wagons carried essential household goods, clothes, bedding, furniture, agricultural implements, fruit trees and weapons. These wagons negotiated the veld, narrow ravines, and steep precipices of the Drakensberg mountains with their livestock and family walking alongside.  When the travellers reached the end of their day’s journey, they set up their laager ‘wagon fort’ camps in an area which had water & suitable grazing for the oxen and horses.

You can order my Voortrekker ox wagon paper model download on my Order Packages page. You can find all my African houses paper models in the series —

I would love to share a freebie with you. Each paper model comes with a triorama background. A triorama forms a wonderful 3D pyramid shape with a base. It requires just 2 folds and snip to make, so it’s very simple, but looks dramatic!

Please pop over to my Packages page to order your download. Thank you for your support.

Blessings, Nadene

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Struggles with Maths?

Maths may be a difficult subject for many children and a source of fear for many homeschooling parents.

As a child, I was terrified of Maths and I failed miserably all through high school and needed extra classes with a maths tutor to pass my Matric exams. When I was a student teacher on my 2nd teaching practice, I was given Grade 7 Maths classes to teach. I was appalled. In order to adequately prepare, and so that I wouldn’t be caught out by any student’s questions, I covered the topic using every textbook I could lay my hands on. And you know what? I discovered that I was an outstanding Maths teacher!!! I knew how to approach the concepts from many perspectives and I had a slew of different examples to practice and demonstrate with my learners. I made the lessons fun and relatable. My students enjoyed their lessons and mastered their maths.

So, with this experience, I homeschooled and tutored my daughters’ Maths lessons all the way to graduation. When fear is taken out of the picture, Maths is fairly simple. Maths concepts and applications are straightforward, simple and logical. If you can find the right “fit” for your child in the pace and application, you will be able to help them conquer their Maths battles. I describe 12 successful Maths principles I used in What Works – Maths.

Here are 5 R’s to help when you or your child are struggling with Maths lessons ~

  1. Review
  2. Repeat
  3. Replace
  4. Restart
  5. Refuse

Review Usually struggles in Maths lessons occur when your child has not fully understood a concept. Revise, re-visit, and review the concept. Make sure that your child understands the basic Maths concepts and principles. If there is any hesitation, doubt, or uncertainty, repeat the Maths principle with physical objects, Maths manipulatives, other examples, or relatable applications. Practice previous examples and lessons. Practice is vital before moving on.

Repeat Similar to review, repeat practice lessons using other examples until the Maths concept “clicks”. You may need to look for additional textbooks, worksheets or online lessons to repeat the concepts until your child fully understands and successfully applies the concepts. Take your time! Rushing on will only make the fear and uncertainty worse.

Replace Find alternatives that may be better suited to your child’s learning style. Replace your textbook or practice the Maths lessons with a different book or with online lessons such as Khan Academy. Every author and publication has a unique approach, style, pace and application. You can use a combination of different books and lessons. Don’t feel bad if the Maths curriculum you initially purchased doesn’t meet your child’s requirements. Tailor-make your children’s education and find something else instead.

Restart Start again with the basics. Leave the books and worksheets aside for a few days or weeks and focus on fun activities such as skip counting, multiplication and addition. I discovered that Mental Maths worksheets, drills, songs, card games, manipulatives and activities helped with my children’s speed and confidence. Once these basics are re-established, start again and your child may find the Maths work much easier. This will boost his confidence which will help him conquer his fears.

Refuse Do you need to refuse to teach your child Maths? May I encourage you to consider a Maths tutor when your relationship with your child is harmed by the tension and struggles over Maths lessons? Maybe Dad, a high school student, a kind neighbour or a co-op mom can help teach your child without all the interpersonal battles. Often a 3rd party person doesn’t receive the backlash and resistance and refusal that a child gives a parent. May I also add that a high school child can choose to do Maths Literacy instead of Pure Mathematics? Maths Literacy goes beyond academic focus and aims to give students basic Mathematics skills they can use and apply in their everyday lives. Just check with your high schooler’s career options and tertiary education requirements first.

Maths struggles have a way of getting right in and messing with our souls! Please, please, please … be compassionate to yourself and your child during this phase. Gently put the “offending” book on your bookshelf and offer yourselves time to consider what will work. It is tough to be gracious to yourself and others when you are afraid or offended. Grace for grace. Pray for guidance and grace.

You can find all my Maths freebies here. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below or or write to me on the contact form on my About & Contact page.

Blessings, Nadene

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