For the last 7 years, my wife and I have been learning coaches for our kids. They attend online school and we love it!
Why online school?
7 years ago, we had a child in 6th grade, one in 5th grade, one in 3rd grade and one in kindergarten. We also had a preschooler. Our 6th grader was tired of boys saying nasty things to her. Our boys in 5th and 3rd were way busier messing around in class than learning, When report card time would come, we were often surprised to find out what didn't get done because it never came home. Our kindergarten girl thought she didn't have to follow the program and was always in trouble. No matter what discipline or reward system we tried to create, she would get to school and do the same thing. Then we started having bullying issues on the bus. The school tries so hard to be politically correct, that nothing really gets resolved. They can't punish and they can't really enforce much of anything.
My wife and I discussed home schooling, but neither of us felt that it would provide the best education for them. I can play teacher up until about 7th grade, if I'm being honest. I love reading and writing and history, but there's so much more than that. So we did some research and found Connections Academy. They were created by Pearson, who seems to be on all school textbooks. We found out that not only is it free, but they send us textbooks, some school supplies and an internet assistance payment twice a year! Also, we don't have to drag kids out in the dark to a cold and snowy bus stop in winter time! We can do school on out time! Weekends and evenings! We know right away what they did and how well they did. They meet with teachers and peers online.
Our oldest 2 went to prom. They held it in a central location in our state. They had a blast. Our oldest daughter was on school council every year. When graduation time came, it was wonderful! They did it beautifully and we watched her walk in cap and gown! Maybe it's not as social as a brick and mortar school, but with all the garbage going on in the world, is that really so bad?
If we learn it, they will learn it
To date, we have been in online school through Connections Academy for about 7 years. We have had one graduate and a senior this year. We have one in middle school and one in elementary. Plus a preschooler and one on the way. You might think that we have gotten pretty familiar with the new math techniques by now. Yet, my wife and I still debate the issue. She isn't a huge fan of change anyhow. She claims that's why I'm still around.
Regardless, this isn't going away. Once I gave up my prejudices to it, I found that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks. I learned a new and easier way to multiply by 9. I learned it from my son's third grade math! Check it out!
Did you know that when you multiply by 9, the answer will equal 9 when added. For example: 9x7=63. 6+3=9. Try it with any of them, it's true! Not only that, but the number that your multiplying 9 by drops by 1. Again, 9x7=63. 9x9=81. And, 8+1=9.
Suddenly I find that multiplying by 9 is way easier. I'm 46 years old! 3rd grade math is teaching me new things!
Breaking apart and mental math
That's not all! This breaking apart method to develop better mental math skills actually works! I find it much easier to solve larger number math more quickly in my head. Even if I don't get the exact answer, I know a strong estimate of what it should equal. Why is that important? Because if a child can do that, they can double check their pwn math more easily. Say a child needs to add 357 + 693. First they do it on paper and follow the traditional method. Then they mentally add
compare that to the written out problem to see if they match. Do you know how many times my kids have gotten a math problem wrong just because they didn't line up the columns well? They knew the math, but got messy because they were in a hurry. By doing a quick mental math check, they can figure out if their answer is close or way off.
It's up to us, now more than ever
Bottom line is, our kids need our help to get them through this. It's so hard for them when we try to work against the lessons because we don't get it. They are then led to a place of conflict with the lesson because mom and dad struggle with it. School is already hard. It's up to us to help make learning fun. And believe me, when I realized the 9's trick, my kids were amused by my reaction and together we had a lot of fun with it. THAT is what will stick with them for life!