There are two things that tend to be common in the homeschool math world (and I’ve been guilty of them myself) that if students change, can make learning high school math so much easier. Keep in mind that learning algebra is a skills-based subject, similar to learning to play a sport or an instrument. With that in mind, here are two simple suggestions to help students notably improve their algebra learning.
#1: Don’t turn off a video lesson before it is finished because you think you understand the concept. Watch (and interact) with the entire lesson from start to finish. Imagine if you played on a sports team, and your coach was showing you how to run a play. After he showed you the play, would you say “Ok, I got it. I’m going to take off now.” No! You would then run that play over and over again, with variations, and listen to what the coach has to say about it. The same goes for algebra. As I’m teaching a video lesson, I am constantly giving suggestions, showing variations, and so forth throughout an entire lesson all the way to the very end. So, treat a math lesson like it is a sports practice and commit to staying to the end every time.
#2: Don’t skip some days of math and then “catch up” by doing multiple lessons on one day. This is a terrible way to learn math. Even though you might be in the same place at the end of the week, you will know far less math than if you did a lesson each day. Let’s relate this to playing the piano. Imagine skipping 3 days of playing the piano and then trying to practice for 2 hours on Friday and expecting to be as good as if you had practiced 30 minutes each day. You absolutely won’t be. There is something powerful and effective about working on something for a small amount of time each day and not “cramming” it all in on one or two days. This is completely true for learning algebra.
If you are guilty of one or both of these practices, then I highly recommend changing some things up. These are simple habits that when adjusted will have huge benefits for your math learning.
P.S. Need more math homeschooling resources? Check out our resources page.