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We are back up to where we were in Joy’s first grade math when we stopped and started back again from the beginning, as it had become suddenly and painfully obvious that she’d been faking her way through almost all of it without actually understanding any of it, and was now in serious trouble because of that.

This time around, she’s still not happy about having to do this (we’re at the “adding numbers that equal more than ten by first making ten and then adding what’s left” stage), but she’s actually starting to grasp the concept.

I can tell I’ve improved as a teacher, too. When we were here before, I got frustrated because no matter how many times I explained the concept, she still just stared at me blankly until I got so frustrated school was definitely done for the day. Now, if I’m explaining it and she doesn’t understand, I take a step back, think about another way to explain it, use some different teaching tools, try to think of why she’s not getting it.

(On a related note, teacher’s manuals: excellent things. Should have bought one along with the textbook and workbook. Glad I have it now, even though Carl thought it unnecessary. “Unless you’re going to take over teaching her math, it’s necessary,” I informed him. Then I bought it.)

We’re only two days into official school, and I know we’ll have more troubled waters ahead, but nevertheless, I am deeply thankful for signs already as to where we’ve improved since last year.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to make a success of this homeschooling gig after all.