My Homeschool Education: Math Without Calculators

Sunday afternoons were the one big exception to my somewhat hands-off education.  My dad was my math teacher, and I wasn’t exactly an amazing student.  I do still feel that part of it can be attributed to the advanced-ness of Saxon math, and my dad’s strict grading scale: the lowest A I could get was a 94, the lowest B was an 88.  I was also never allowed to use a calculator.

On Sundays, my dad would go over the work I’d done in the previous week.  I was assigned one lesson per day, and all thirty or thirty-one problems.  (I always thought the kids whose parents let them skip some of the problems were the luckiest kids on earth.)  Math tests were an amazing treat, as there were only twenty problems!

At about 3 or 4 on Sunday afternoon, my dad would call me to the kitchen table and we’d go over the problems I’d missed.  Oh, I hated this, but looking back, I love that my dad invested that time into me.  Now, I find myself teaching my first grader the same things my dad taught me: Show all your work.  Keep your rows straight.  Don’t rush.  The simplest mistakes will kill you.

I never was an amazing math student, but thankfully, haven’t chosen a career path that requires a lick of algebra (though I suppose if I had be interested in a field that required advanced math, I would probably have enjoyed it a bit more).  Then again, I could probably figure it out now that I’m allowed to use a calculator.

I’ll write more about this later in the series, but during my senior year of high school I took College Algebra with Review at a local community college.  I had started, but not finished Saxon’s Algebra 2, but my parents had agreed that I could consider my high school math complete if I did well in the College Algebra course.

I passed College Algebra with flying colors and received a complement that I was one of the best students in class.  I felt a little gypped that I struggled so much with math in high school only to find out that I didn’t really have to know all that stuff in order to do well in basic college algebra, but I’m grateful for those Sunday afternoons with my dad and all the effort he put into making sure that College Algebra class was one of the easiest things I’d ever do.