On our year-long road trip, in addition to being “dad” to Keaton, I am also her math teacher.
Prior to actually executing in this role, I went through a range of emotions. I was nervous and overwhelmed. I was unsure about how we’d define her curriculum, anxious about how she’d accept and work with me as an instructor vs. a parent.
I settled myself a bit once Sharaun and I made the decision that, for math, we’d stick tightly to the California “common core” curriculum for 7th grade. Since we don’t intend to continue homeschool after this year of travel, we wanted to be sure that when she’s plugged back into the public school system she had learned the same things in the same ways with the same approaches as her peers.
We’re now in week two of road-school, and are finishing up our first unit, which is focused on operations with rational numbers. A good bit is review for her, but based on our work so far it’s welcomed review. We’ve had more good days than bad, and all my nerves and overwhelmedness and anxiety is gone.
It’s not that it’s a piece of cake – there’s a lot of preparation and a fair amount of just-me time investment required. But… I am finding myself really, truly enjoying it all… both the preparation and the actual teaching parts. I also feel myself developing a feel for it… and being more comfortable tailoring what we’re doing to how Keaton seems to be responding and learning (or not).
Case in point, we had a pretty terrible day on Tuesday this week. The lesson was two hours of tears and frustration and plain just not getting it. Prior to that day, we had been on-track to review the unit today and test on it tomorrow. But Keaton didn’t have it… she was still getting tripped-up, and she got more and more down on it all with each successive wrong answer or hang-up.
So, we changed the plan. We spent this morning doing a bunch of review drills, hitting the key skills in repetition, working together if needed. Oh man, did it help. Just taking the time to do a little more work, to slow down, to get a string of right answers under her belt, to gain a little confidence. What’s more, I think I’m going to do the same thing with tomorrow’s lesson, too.
After all, I’m the teacher.