Mathematics has historically been a challenge for even the brightest of students. Take Albert Einstein, for example. It’s interesting to note that although he was a theoretical physicist, it is speculated that as a young student, he struggled with long division. By the same token, Aspergerians (nickname for people with Asperger Syndrome) are visual learners; and concrete thinkers, therefore it’s very difficult for them to do algebra. In fact, math-challenged students in general run the full gamut, irrespective of ability or age.
And often, as a result of the combination of factors affecting the student’s way of learning, many families opt for homeschooling. The parents then take on the responsibility to educate their child who has differing needs or abilities. For the most part, it works out well. Especially if parents are prepared, patient, and thorough in their research on home education.
With this in mind, in order for learning to be successful, it’s crucial to know what the student’s individual learning style is, as this should decisively influence the curriculum choice. The ideal curriculum will be one that teaches to the student’s particular learning style; whether it be visual, auditory, or tactile-kinesthetic.
In any case, if you’re contemplating homeschooling, and your older child happens to struggle with abstract math, you may want to consider a homeschool-friendly curriculum that incorporates manipulatives. Math-U-See has the visual and tactile component which may help your child in grasping abstract concepts. It is exceptionally popular among the homeschooling community.
Another curriculum that utilizes manipulatives and is also multi-sensory, is RightStart Mathematics. (They use an abacus for the elementary school level.) As for middle school algebra, they offer an “Intermediate Math” DVD product. This video supposedly serves as a visual textbook, as opposed to being supplemental.
It’s important to note that since a textbook’s page layout makes a huge difference in the way a student processes information, it would be another thing to consider when narrowing down curriculum options. Keep in mind that some students need very minimal text with large-sized fonts in order to engage in the thinking process. The Key To…. series (Key To Algebra) curriculum by Key Curriculum Press, has the type of page layout many kids need; within strategically thin workbooks that give a sense of accomplishment to the student. As naturally, most of these struggling kids feel defeated, therefore any boost of their self-esteem is a welcomed blessing.
The curriculum mentioned above can be purchased at Amazon.com, eBay, or on various homeschooling websites at more affordable prices. Buying direct from the publisher is usually very expensive.
All in all, the beauty of homeschooling is that the parents are in a good position to find the appropriate curriculum that would best fit the child’s different learning style(s). Furthermore, learning challenged homeschooled students also have the liberty to learn at their own pace. And for them, that is a very good thing.