Trying to find our HS way

Hello All

This is my third year homeschooling my beautiful daughter. Shes in the 4th grade and I’m struggling. Up to now we have been eclectic unschoolers :wink: We have enjoyed our time together, but now I feel a lot of pressure “from myself” that she’s not on “task”. She has a brilliant mind. One that knocks my socks off. She loves learning for the most part as long as it don’t feel like learning. Most of my HS friends are structured and I can see why… my brain is not so structured. I try but … its just not. I have spend relentless hours looking for the right way to teach my daughter. I’m feeling lost and unsure of my abilities to get her thru this next year. I feel bad that she is behind in math according to friends who are much more advanced then she is. I have used a few different math programs… she hates them all ;( she is an obedient child so she trys… but she ends up crying because she dosent understand. ho hum. Please pray for us to find our way. My baby loves being with me… I love her by my side… but this is getting hard :wink: Any advice is more than welcome.


Hi there @gabbysmom. I just wanted to send a word of encouragement. I also have a 4th grade daughter. :slight_smile: We have never been unschoolers but I know that technique can be wonderful for many families. One resource I would suggest is a book I read called Homeschooling at the Helm. This is a wonderful resource for delight-directed learning. While I think most of the tips are for setting a learning outline for high school students, I don’t see why this can’t also be geared down for middle school and upper elementary. It is only a $6.00 download for the resource and only 50 or so pages in length, but it is packed full of wonderful information and clear guidance for the parent.

As for Math, I also experienced some trial and error in this subject and finally we have had great success with two resources. One is Practical Arithmetics by Strayer Upton. It is very old fashioned (written in the1920s), but is solid instruction, no set “lesson” days (just move through the books at your pace), and teaches math in a way I’ve never seen before. For example: in teaching fractions, multiplication, and division, the three are taught simultaneously rather than broken up. When kids learn the fraction 1/2, they also learn to multiply by 2 and divide by 2. They don’t move on until they grasp these three functions. Then they move on to 1/3, multiplying by 3s and dividing by 3s. The three techniques really are interwoven, so it makes sense to teach them together. There is a more thorough review of this program here.

We have also had great success with Life of Fred Math (which I was hesitant about at first). We use this as our sole math program for my 2nd grader and he is doing fabulous. I highly suggest if you are at all curious about this program that you visit their Facebook page here. This program also takes a nontraditional approach to math.

My children were both very burned out with a spiral method math program that we started for each of them in Kindergarten and the change for both of them has been wonderful.

If you want something somewhat more structured than unschooling but still delight directed, Five in a Row might be a good option (they have Beyond Five in a Row for older students too).

You may have already thought of these options, so if so, forgive me. :slight_smile: I really just wanted to say you’re not alone! I have a fellow homeschool mom friend who is an unschooler for her four children. She has a master’s degree in Math and teaches at a local university as an adjunct professor. When I went to her about my children’s math troubles a year ago (before we switched programs), she told me two things: 1) Kids, even if taught absolutely no math whatsoever prior to middle school, can easily pick up the math knowledge in the middle grades and move forward on pace with others their age–this kill and drill in the elementary years is unnecessary, and 2) The only way to really mess up a child in the subject of math in the elementary years is to have them end up hating the subject. That gave me great encouragement at the time and took so much pressure off of me.

Thinking of you and praying for some comfort and encouragement for you!
Warm regards,
Chris :slight_smile: