Homeschooling High School–Dealing with Frustration

In a house full of Teen Boys, how do you get through through frustrations?

Nathan started Algebra 2 on Monday while we were at a Doctor’s appointment out of town. He mention that he thought he got them all right except for the last 4. He wasn’t sure how much of the video he was supposed to watch, and it the work was weird. That evening I went to check his answers,  and was shocked when he got 4 correct out of 28. (All of last year he never missed more than 2.) My emotions unraveled. I was so sure that Math U See was going to continue to be the answer for Algebra 2. If Nate can’t do the first lesson, after the video, what would our choices be?

Tuesday morning I woke up early, prayed, after praying all night, and popped in the video. Can I just say I love Mr. Demme? He was giving a review of Exponents, with five exercises. Each exercise would have 8 practice problems, with the 8 solutions following. What my son failed to hear, apparently, was the entire opening conversation. Of how this course would be different in that you would have to use the book. Previous years we only used the book if we forgot a step and didn’t want to re-watch the lesson.

He also said he would pause, so you would pause, go work on those 8 problems and come back to the video. He said a lot more, but this is more about frustrations than Alg 2.

So the worksheet (1A) that he did, didn’t match the 10 minute video tid-bit that he watched. I worked through the exercises, did the practice problems and was ready for the boys.  (We are doing Algebra as a Co-op.)

The first day, Tuesday, I had the thought in my head that we needed to start our day in the Word. However, since it was co-op, I felt silly leading others through our simple routine.  And since they were all eager to start, I explained where Nate went wrong on the first lesson, and we started as a group together.

The first three exercises went well, and then they couldn’t figure out #4. They both showed quite a bit of frustration and defeat. I had not been in the room at the time, so we called it a day and planned to continue the next morning.

Again – I thought – we should start our day off in the Word. I had talked to the Co-Op moms and they agreed that using Plants Grown Up, Projects for Sons on the Road to Manhood, would be a good idea. So we started with that.

We are working through Leadership and are on Faithfulness in Family Worship. We read the verses suggested for memory, among those is:

Colossians 3:16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (includes 17)

We got to chat about doing our work as Unto the Lord. Not unto the state, or a college entrance exam, or to me, or to the other parents. If this is one of their goals to learn, then the Lord will be faithful to help them through it. We can ask Christ for “All Wisdom”.  We can be thankful for our resources and supplies and time.

And then we put in the DVD. We literally laughed out loud when we realized, that again, they watched a part of the DVD that wasn’t quite lined up with their problem set. There were not any problems for the next section, so they had moved forward. Once we watched all of the videos – they were good to go. They got to re-do the 1A worksheet, and got 2 wrong out of 28, and today they did 1B without any troubles or needing to look up how to do the problems.

We got to enjoy a great conversation about how we asked for wisdom and understanding, and the math was instantly understandable. Them seeking help from me, to help them slow down and hear Mr. Demme’s words. Taking the time to really listen to him, and follow his instructions. They assumed that the first lesson would be 1+1=2 type of easy, so they didn’t pay attention. It was more like 17+3=20 easy, but you had to follow the steps.

I think the stopping to pray, be in the word, flip our hearts to thankful – helped to turn around the self doubt, frustration, ‘can’t do it’ attitude. I believe that the Spirit helped them to hear what they needed from Mr. Demme and move forward.

So – I write this story – to give you hope, and a tool, and an example – of how you can stop your day – to ease frustrations. You don’t have to have Plants Grown Up, you an just use the Word, or Prayer. We liked using For Instructions in Righteousness when they were younger, and still use it occasionally. The point – is just to be intentional. And when you start to feel your emotions spiral – it’s a good time to walk away, grab a cup of tea, and Seek Him.

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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