The days of teaching addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, how a seed grows, or what makes a bunny a bunny, have ended. Scary topics are looming on the horizon: biology, chemistry, geometry….algebra!!! How can an inadequately trained parent understand these subjects, much less teach them? As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” The terrible twos were survived and high school can be survived, too!
There are several positive points to keep in mind. Fearing these subjects usually comes from personal experience. The last time Mom tackled algebra, she was probably a skinny girl in high school who was more interested in giggling or ridding the world of acne. This time around she is viewing algebra with maturity and a little more interest in what “x” equals. Mom has been learning alongside her student for many years and this is no different. Comradery is formed as parent and student now tackle algebra together. Discussion, analysis, and interaction take place on a broader level.
Besides, high school parents should remember an important fact. The textbook/program is written to actually teach algebra! If the current one isn’t doing a good job, perhaps another should be considered. Many students will be able to practically teach themselves that “scary” subject and will wonder why others are intimidated. But some students may need someone beside them to read through the new concept and discuss the process. No matter what, there may be times a problem just completely mystifies! For those moments, a math “genius” might be found among extended family, in the homeschool community, or in the church. Locating and recruiting a math-savvy friend to lend a hand a few times a month in order to clarify a concept or help solve sticky problems can be very helpful.
Most freshmen college courses are a review of the high school course. This is further assurance that a student will have opportunity to learn these higher level subjects. Basically, the same pattern followed in the elementary years continues into the high school years. It just becomes a little more serious.
Below is a graph from a national study by Dr. Brian Ray that clearly shows that the academic level of the parent has virtually no influence on the success of the student.