Doing math daily is essential for learning high school math. Why? Because many of the topics learned in high school math (algebra 1 and beyond) are abstract: they exist in thought, but are difficult to show in a physical, concrete, or hands-on way (concepts such as negative numbers, square roots, and imaginary numbers). Plus, a lot of these abstract ideas are brand new to students, so they don’t have a “hook” to attach them to in the brain. Then, on top of all of that is the fact that most students don’t really want to be learning algebra to begin with. Put all of this together and you have a perfect recipe for high levels of forgetfulness. How do you combat this? By doing math daily. This makes learning and remembering math so much easier.
Typically, I hear of two main arguments against doing math daily. The first is that schedules can be crazy for high schoolers, making it difficult or seemingly impossible to do math every day. My answer to this is that when I say “daily,” I don’t mean it has to be a full-length lesson every single day. Even on the crazy-busy days where students are running all over the place, just picking up their notes or assignments and reading over them (5 to 10 minutes) can have a huge impact on retention. Or do half a lesson if a student doesn’t have time to do a complete lesson. It is much better to do a half lesson on one day, and the other half the next day, than to skip a day and do the whole lesson the following day.
Don’t skip days. It really hurts retention.
The second argument I hear is how math has become such a struggle or pain point for the student and/or the parent, that it’s easy to skip days just to get a break from the misery. This is very understandable, and I have done this very thing in my own homeschooling with my children. This issue is difficult, and it is the core issue I have tried to address with my courses at Denison Algebra. If students can get bite-sized daily math lessons taught to them in a clear and non-intimidating way, then the anxiety and resistance to math lessons will disappear and math will simply become a daily part of school rather than a source of pain. This is the way I designed Denison Algebra courses, and there are no doubt other courses out there that can accomplish this for your student as well (one curriculum does not work for all students). The bottom line is that alleviating the pain of learning math is essential for moving forward in a positive way.
No matter what curriculum you use, doing math daily is something that is essential across the board for all types of learners, and is something that should become standard in your high school homeschool schedule. This one important habit will make a notable difference.
P.S. If you’d like some assistance planning high school math for your homeschool student, check out our free guide.