Homeschooling High School: Math

by GfG on June 25, 2013 · 2 comments

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“What about high school?!!” One of the top questions asked when we started homeschooling and to this day.  Teaching high school is daunting, but it is completely do-able, even by those of us lacking in the higher math and science brain area.

Today’s post is second in a series on addressing concerns about homeschooling high school.  See the intro post here and the first post (science) here.

I can still hear my sixth grade math teacher, Mr. Phillips, yelling, “What do you want, Thurmond?” as I raised my hand because I didn’t understand.

I can vividly see Mr. Holley, my neighbor, who tutored me in Algebra II and would just grin at my convoluted attempts.

I can also picture my trigonometry teacher in high school as she tried and tried to help me understand a concept, to no avail.

Math is not my strong suit.  When we started homeschooling, I told Paul that once we hit Algebra, I wasn’t the teacher.  Something or someone would have to take my place.

Math is a must have subject for all grades, not just legally, but because it’s an important life skill, but high school is where it gets to be a challenge for many parents.  A fear for even more.

We desire to challenge our childrens’ minds and intellect.  We desire that they be prepared for math needs in life as well as college, if they want to go.  Lastly, we desire that our children build their giftings and strengths.  This involves at least the basic high school math courses.

HB is not math  minded, so we did not do heavy math with her.  Noah remains to be seen.

Ok… so how to teach higher math to high school students if you are not gifted in math skills OR you are not confident in it?  

Here are the basic routes and a few company suggestions* in each area:

Book Curriculum.  This is the tried and true method of learning: read it.  Basically, buy a textbook of the subject and have your student read and do the problem sets, quizzes, and tests.  Discuss topics with them as needed and grade their work.  Companies known for this are SingaporeMath U See, and Saxon.  A new one we are trying with Noah is Life of Fred (yes, seriously, that’s the name).

life of fred

Computer Courses.  Watching a lecture on the computer is an easy way to have your student take a class.    Usually, there is a book to go along with the class.  This has been what we used for HB through Teaching Textbooks.  Not only does TT teach the concepts, but it includes a gradebook and other perks.

Other options for this kind of curriculm are DIVE , VideoText, Math Without Borders, and Chalkdust.   They all offer various benefits.


Internet courses.  There are more than a few online options now.   These can be taken through online schools that cater to homeschoolers or through companies that teach a la carte subjects.  We have used The Potter’s School for some subjects, but not math.  Landry Academy and The Teaching Company (also can buy DVDs) are more options. Of course there are online schools such as K-12 and Texas Tech.  A terrific new find is ThinkWell. They are an a la carte option and offer many subjects.   (just FYI, if you aren’t a member of Homeschool Buyers Co-op, you should be!  All kinds of deals, including a yearly one on ThinkWell for half price).

Internet or CD/DVD supplementation.  The advent of KHAN Academy changed everything, really.  A free tutor online is a homeschooling mom’s dream.  With thousands of subjects and sub-subjects to choose from, these video lessons are a terrific way to supplement book study or any other curriculum.

Create a Supplementation Class Yourself.  Perhaps you have a great curriculum, but would like to supplement for reinforcement and/or comprehension checks.  A fabulous way to do this is to meet occasionally with others who are studying the same subject and are on the same plan.

Homeschool C0-ops.  Co-ops meet many needs for homeschoolers.  High school co-ops are a great way to meet math class needs.  Google for local listings of homeschool groups and co-ops.  You’ll probably find many.

Some require attendance for many subjects and some you can choose to stay for only one class.  If you are in a large city, look around for one that fits exactly what you want.   If you are in a small town, request math courses and see what happens.

Attending a Local Brick & Mortar School.  Many public and private schools allow homeschooling students to attend part or half time.  I will admit that I’m not a fan of this option, but would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.   🙂

Take local college/university classes for dual credit.  This is a terrific option for many who live near such schools.  Community colleges are often much more affordable and give some experience for those who are planning on attending college full time later.  This option is also available from many colleges via online classes!  We are considering The Master’s College for HB (though, not for math)

Hiring/Bartering with a Tutor.  Believe it or not, there are people in the world who love teaching higher math.  Even to homeschoolers.     😉      I get emails (via two homeschool groups I joined) every summer and Christmas from people advertising they are offering tutoring or math classes for homeschoolers.

Check out local homeschool groups, colleges/universities, and high schools for references.  You can even offer to barter with the teacher.  For example, you could offer to teach a subject to their student in exchange OR you could provide some kind of service.

You could also just do this with a friend.  Say, for example, you had a friend whose child was taking Algebra II, you could ask about your child coming over for that subject only or to meet with your friend once in awhile.  You could offer payment or some kind of service.

Create a Class Yourself.  Maybe you can’t teach the subject, but you are willing to babysit younger children and provide a place for a math class.  Ask around and you might be surprise by the number of moms who would be willing to meet.  Math is a bit tougher than science to do this with, since it can be pretty individualized, but it can be done.

So… as you can see, there are many ways to master the high school math monster.  Do not be daunted and don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done!

What most appeals to you?   Have others to rec, share in the comments!

*I am not endorsing each of these suggestions. Please use discernment and study to decide what matches your worldview and goals.  Also, company suggestions are not exhaustive and I will try to update occasionally, but please note the date of the post’s publication.  Thanks!  Feel free to suggest companies in the comments!

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