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I vote for reading with writing coming in second. I’m all for arithmetic when balancing my checkbook, deciding which cereal box offers the best value, and figuring out how many hours of sleep I got last night. Arithmetic has its practical applications, for me it loses its virtues when algebra and geometry demand attention. Those two are very calculating and quite manipulative if you ask me. Kathleen Turner became my heroine, in the movie Peggy Sue Got Married, when she uttered this line to her test collecting math teacher, “I happen to know that in the future I will not have the slightest use for algebra!”

Let us not forget word problems…I think the Minotaur who snarled with fury in Dante’s Inferno did so because he was subjected to several word problems daily while existing in the 7th level of hell.

But you, the reader, say, “Don’t you homeschool?” To which I reply, misquoting Hamlet, “Therein lies the rub.” You know the rub A.K.A the pain in the neck, the problem…literally the word problem. Interestingly whenever my father was my daughter’s substitute teacher the lesson plans I gave him included fractions and word problems. Then one day it hit me, this common sense thought that said, what’s the big deal if you learn it with your daughter? Would it be the end of the world if she saw me struggle a little bit and erase a lot before I got it right? I even thought that learning elusive math concepts with my daughter might be fun. So I sat down with her daily and got tutored via some great DVDs from the library. I read and reread the word problems with her and worked out why some ridiculously looking fractions were actually the same. Believe it or not I’m actually a little excited about math and conquering our next word problem assignment but don’t tell Peggy Sue. By the way, we both got 100% on our last worksheet and math continues to be my daughter’s favorite subject. So, if you’ve read between the lines you have discovered more than one lesson covered in this article.

Email me with your homeschooling questions at homeschoolingheart @gmail.com.

Until next month,
God bless you and your little or not so little ones!

Michele Andrews

Michele Andrews

Michele Andrews is a full-blown Hoosier and Waynedaler. She was born in a Fort Wayne hospital then followed her mom and dad home to Waynedale. She has seen bits and pieces of the world while serving a stint in the United States Navy. The farthest bit being St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer