Not a Math Person? Use This Program

Not a Math Person? Use This Program


I want to share with you what parents have used to teach math. This program has been around for at least 12 years. It is computer based and not dependent on an internet connection. My favorite part, it doesn’t require that I have a math degree. It is Teaching Textbooks.

Have you heard of it? When I first was introduced to Teaching Textbooks it was at a small homeschool convention in Juneau, Alaska. I fell in love with the most important part of the program, the animated graphics. No, no that is not the most important part of Teaching Textbooks, I’m kidding but they graphics are engaging. The most important part was the program was not dependent on me, the parent for teaching. This doesn’t mean the parent does not participate, it means that you don’t have to be proficient in, let’s say, Geometry. The program is the teacher. Here are some of my favorite features:

  • Students can learn completely on their own!
  • There are step-by-step explanations. This part of TT was extremely helpful for my family.
  • It keeps a grade book for your student. (Yay, no grading!)
  • It incorporates real life problems into the program.
  • Again, I love the graphics.

Teaching Textbooks became one of our favorite programs in our homeschool group. There are others that are worth mentioning. such as Right Start Math and Math U See. These two programs work better when you start using them in the early grades.

Math U See uses videos and manipulative’s. This program is great to use within a family because it is easy to use in most homeschool approaches and the manipulative’s can be used again and again.

Right Start Math was wonderful for the short time we used the program. I’m not really sure why we stepped away from this program now. I used Level A which was when one of my sons was young. The games, the music, wow, it touched on all the learning styles in a fun way.

A great place to get detailed reviews is here at BUT overall the homeschool families I surveyed choose Teaching Textbooks.

Overall, Teaching Textbooks worked best especially for this homeschool teacher who is not a Math Person.  You don’t need to have a degree to homeschool with programs like these that are available to us.

FYI ~ Studies show that homeschooled students outperform public school students on standardized tests.

“What was I worried about?”

Are You Qualified To Homeschool?

Are You Qualified To Homeschool?


My kids working on a home school project.

Children that are homeschooled achieve higher test scores by 15 to 30% then their public school friends.  This includes homeschooled children with parents without a formal education and families that come from a variety of income ranges. *  

I think that is great news, right. Even after sharing the statistics with you, I know you are still not sure how you can homeschool your kids.  This thought might be plaguing you:


 “I don’t know enough fill in the blank

to homeschool my kids.”


“Don’t I have to have a degree or be certified to homeschool my kids?”  What would you say if I told you that anyone can homeschool their kids if they choose to? It’s true. Let’s take a look at the most popular statement (the one I have heard most often.)

“I don’t know enough MATH to homeschool my kids.”  Especially when it comes to higher level math such as Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus. I can relate to that. As a teenager, I was sick often and missed much of my high school years.  Talk about gaps in your education.  My illness left a big gap in math! Along with unsupportive teachers but that is another story.  How can we teach subjects that we believe we don not have enough knowledge in?


  • Purchase self-teaching curriculum for your homeschool student.  

  • Join a co-op that offers the subject you feel weak in.

  • Have a friend teach the subject.

  • Educate yourself.

  • Take a class at the local public school.


If this seems simple that’s because it is simple.  As homeschoolers today we have publishers beating down our doors with solutions to this very concern.  Another resource is the internet. With careful planning and a little research you will be on your way!

If you are still feeling unsure be watching for my next posts.  I believe I can help you with that.


Share what creative solutions you have come up with when you feel that you are lacking the knowledge.



Home Building Lesson Block / Unit Study

Home Building Lesson Block / Unit Study

Fort buildingThis month we are getting started on our Home Building Block/Unit study.  We will cover social studies, math and science. The less obvious academic subject covered is language arts.  It is important that he, my son, takes away from this project  the ability to work together and respect others ideas.  While the academic subjects are supporting these life values.

Through the year we have been casually talking about what types of houses people lived in.  These have been pointed out while reading books, watching a movie, anytime the topic arises. Some great books are Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Little House on the Prairie to name a few.  I also may make up a story when a moment presents itself.

For this block/unit I have chosen 1 Kings 5 and Luke 6:48 to bring in biblical reference of character and  weight and measurements, types of wood used and stone cutting.  It will be read from the The Living Bible because of the contemporary language such as “gallons” verses “cors”. The story has detailed dimensions of the temple that Solomon built which will cover simple geometry.

After reading the story we talk about the details of how how the temple was built.  I ask him open ended questions to encourage conversation.  Depending on his mood I might have a great talk.  If not that’s fine too.  His father will ask him later on in the day about the story.

“How did you feel about the story?”

“What was your favorite part?”

Luke 6:48 is our backdrop for our drawings of a house standing on rocks and surviving the raging stream.  He will have an opportunity to create his own depiction of the story.  The verse makes for copy work and cursive writing practice.

Here are some words that are for your knowledge or you can use them as vocabulary for your child.

Math Vocabulary

  1. bushel: a unit for measuring an amount of fruit and grain that equal to about 35.2 liters in the U.S. ad to about 36.4 liters in the U.K.
  2. gallon: a unit of liquid measurement
  3. cor: an ancient Hebrew and Phoenician unit of measure of capacity
  4. bath: ancient Hebrew liquid measure corresponding to the ephah of dry measure (ephah is also an ancient Hebrew unit if measure equal to 1/10 homer or a little over a bushel.)
  5. area: the surface included within a set of lines.
  6. square: a four sided shape that is made up of four straight sides that are the same length and that has four right angles.

Luke 6:48

He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

1 Kings 5:18

So Solomon’s builders, Hiram’s builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.

Now for Some FUN!

We move onto the more exciting part of this study, the fort building.  I will  bring out one of the books on tree houses for him to look at and a basic carpentry book.  This is when we brainstorm ideas on how we are going to accomplish building the his fort.

  • Write a list
  • Create a Mind Map
  • Draw pictures
  • anything else you think of . . .

A suggestion I read  is to visit Habitat for Humanity or a home building retailer.  Assist him to cost out the fort project.  It is also a challenge to find materials for free.  My friend built a chicken coup with free materials from Freecyledotorg.

Basic List of Woodworking Hand Tools

A. Measuring Tape (12′) they make measuring tapes that have the fractions labeled on the tape to make it easier to read especially if your child is just learning about fractions.

B. Ruler (12″) wooden ones are easier to read than the clear or colored plastic ones.

C. Hammer (7 – 10oz for smaller children, 16oz for older children with better hand eye coordination)

D. Screwdrivers: flathead and Phillips

E. Nail set

F. Handsaw (western or Japanese style)

G. Coping saw

H. Block plane

I. Brace Drill (Hand drill)

J. Rasp

K. Sandpaper (100, 120, 150, 180 grits)

L. Glue (white or yellow) water proof for outdoor projects

M. Screws and nails (a box each of 1 ¼” and 1 5/8″ drywall screws and a box each of 3d, 4d, and 6d finish nails will get you through most projects in this book).

N. Clamps (See the lesson on building the step stool for information on clamps).

O. Safety glasses (it may take some extra effort, but find a pair that fits your child. They will become frustrated quickly if every time they start to swing a hammer they have to push their glasses back up on their noses. Manufactures do make child size glasses it just might take some looking around to find them.)

P. Combination square

Q. Speed square

 Article Source:
The project was to be a simple fort but turned out to be a fun family and friend tree house raising.

KRISTINAS - WIN_20140604_180052

The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.
The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.


Additional Resources

Strong as the Weakest Link                  

Leaning Tower of Pasta               l How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts by David Stiles available on



“No More Tears” Math

“No More Tears” Math

StairsYou can have a tears free math program.  It’s simple. You just have to trust your child, get to know him and live math.

What ever math curriculum you are using this idea will work.  It doesn’t matter what your approach you use either.  It all has do with your relationship with your child and your relationship with math.  Because math is every where, right.

Let’s start with trusting your child.  I know, that’s hard to some extent isn’t it.  How can we trust them to know when they have had enough formal math for the day when we have to remind them to brush their teeth, right?  How do you know when you have enough of anything? Maybe you can’t think anymore.  Things are confusing or maybe you know what your doing and it’s boring.  You have to trust him by respecting him.  This isn’t a battle of conformity to your will.  The goal is to have an understanding of math.  To start, the next time he says he doesn’t want to do math today, surprise him and tell him okay (with a smile). There are many ways to go about this and maybe we’ll visit that another time but for now let’s start here with trusting him. This is going to bring me to the next point, getting to know your child.

You know your child but do you really know him.  When was the last time you asked him “What do you want to do?” and then you did what he wanted to do.  When was the last time you went on a walk together or played on a play ground together.  And I mean together playing on the play ground.  These are opportunities to getting to know him.  But you need to be mindful and present.  It needs to be all about him.  You are not spending time with him to lecture or teach.  Your spending time with him to get to know him.  Now you can live math.

Summer is the perfect time to relax and spend mindful time together.  Number one, you need to do math where he can see you and invite him to do it with you.  At our house we use the grocery store flyers to find sales and match a few coupons.  I have done this in front of all three of my boys and now my youngest understands division and percentages.  Of course the money portion is picked pretty quickly too. Games are great tools for math!  Everyone knows about Chess and how it can expand those thinking skills.  Build anything and with anything.  You can build anything with Duck Tape.   These are just some ideas.  Remember not to make a lesson out of it.  Don’t discount the computer.  My second oldest son has made some interesting pixel art.

Let’s put this all together.  The first and most important thing to do is build trust and respect between the two of you and we do this by getting to know him.  The second thing to do is to live math.  Now, here I am going to mention Waldorf education.  I believe that this style of educating really brings math to the table in a natural way.  However, it really doesn’t matter what style you choose to teach math.  When he says he just can’t think anymore or he’s tugging at his hair.  Trust that he’s done for now and come back to it another day.  As you are building this relationship you can talk about what he is feeling, where is he getting frustrated at.  You might need to find a different approach to teach that particular concept or move on until he seems ready for it.  It all come down to trust.