If I was going to be totally untruthful about our home education, I would say everything goes smoothly according to plan EVERY. DAY. and that I NEVER have a day where I feel this time in my life is a huge waste of time. Well, I'm not untruthful about our journey; home education is just that ~ a journey. It is not an easy road to travel; it has its ups and downs and more likely than not, we face more downs than ups. There ARE days, when nothing seems to go according to plan and I have definitely had the "I'm wasting my time" thought go through my head. Most of these problems comes from the evilness of Math!
Math is not easy for me. Any time I do any type of math, I have to write it out on paper or if it is kinda easy, I use my finger and write it in the air. I'm not crazy! Some times, I have to break down and get out the calculator. Anyone who knows me, knows this about me and I easily admit to this problem.
Sadly, my son is the same way. The only difference with him, he doesn't want to admit to it ~ to anyone! He is also a perfectionist; it crawls all over him, if he misses problems. He wants to be like is Dad and be able to do Math in his head and do it quickly; unfortunately, I don't believe he is going to be all that quick at it. Over the last couple of weeks, I have started allowing Jamie to use a calculator on certain problems to help keep his confidence up. As long as he knows how to do the problem and explain it to me then he can use it. The calculator is not being used for everything; just a few certain things.
I remember all my school years struggling with Math and not one time was anyone there to offer any kind of ideas to help that would have boosted my confidence. I remember night after night sitting on the sofa with my Dad trying to explain long division and fractions. Needless to say, I'm 42 years old and still have problems with them both. Somehow, I managed to teach several years of upper elementary Math and didn't hinder any student. Actually, I more than likely did and no one wants to be honest about it. :)
We use Teaching Textbooks for our Math and since I don't have to do any of the "major" teaching, Jamie can breathe a little easier than he did in the past. Of course, with time marching on, we end up with a problem area and he tends to freeze up on it. This is where the calculator comes in; a TOOL to help in learning. I don't have problem with this decision. As long as the calculator doesn't become a crutch, which I won't allow.
I think a little boost of confidence goes a long way. In this case, a simple tool to help in the aid of learning.