Riley + Dad = Whiz

Yesterday, we picked Seth up at school, on our way to the next activity. In the car, Riley and Seth chitter-chattered about their respective days. I’ve learned not to ask. I get a lot more info just listening.

Seth talked about what went on in the lunch room.

Riley talked about math.

In school math was a constant trigger. It was a big problem. It wasn’t that she isn’t capable. She just had so much anxiety around it, which resulted in meltdowns, which resulted in constantly being pulled from class which resulted in a fear of falling behind, which resulted in more meltdowns. 

For homeschool math, we got the Life of Fred Fractions book recommended by Kyra. Fred Fractions is a funny book. It keeps Riley in stitches and she can’t wait to tell Seth what Fred did each day. The book picked up almost exactly where Riley left off in school. In the first couple of weeks we caught some major blocks. She wasn’t solid on subtracting three digit numbers, but the class had already moved on to division. A fundamental building block was on shaky ground. We worked subtraction ’til she knew it inside and out.

In the last two weeks, Todd has pretty much taken over math. He’s home in the mornings and it’s just worked out that way. Man are they are cooking! He has a degree in chemistry, and a degree in pharmacy. He uses math all day every day. He’s patient. He’s smart, and he loves her. When she starts to flip, he says, “Riley, it’s just you and me, and I don’t care if you don’t know it. There is no one to compete with. We’ve got no time frame. Let’s figure it out.”

They’ve been figuring it out.

We are in week four of homeschooling and Riley has completed nine chapters of math curriculum. She’s solid. No shaky ground.

So in the car yesterday, after hearing about Seth’s lunch and recess, Riley said,

“Math was really fun today.”

Then smiling, she added, arms ticking away with excitement,

“I’m kind of a whiz at math.”

And so it is.

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19 Responses to Riley + Dad = Whiz

  1. naomi says:


  2. pixiemama says:

    Rock that math, Riley!

  3. Jess Wilson says:

    Love this.

    Love ‘there’s no one to compete with’.

    Love that she and Seth compare notes.

    Love that she loves math.

    Love that she’s a whiz.

    Love that she knows it.

  4. -e- says:

    You know, I was expecting your home school experiment to be positive, but never imagined it would be such an OUTRAGEOUS success that you would have us all wondering about it for our own families… All this confidence and joy building up in your kid, and all because you had the guts and intuition to make the (daunting) leap. Thanks, li’l miss inspiration!

  5. Penny says:

    Truly wonderful.

  6. Jerri says:

    What a joy to hear Riley seeing herself in such positive terms.

    Believing will make it so.

  7. Niksmom says:

    Isn’t it amazing how such a seemingly simple change (to homeschooling) can have such a huge and positive impact so quickly?! I really look forward to reading more about how Riley blossoms and comes into her own.

  8. Lydia says:

    It’s so exciting to see her doing so well. I can’t wait to see what she’ll be like this time next year!

  9. Wanda says:

    Ditto Jess.

    And love that you listen.

  10. Pie Maker says:

    Oh Michelle you and that family of yours, y’all inspire me!

  11. Wow, this is fantastic!

  12. Susan Hendrickson says:

    WTG Riley. I’m so happy to hear that homeschooling is working out so well for all of you.

  13. Carrie Link says:

    And so it is, INDEED!

  14. Sally says:

    You are so blessed. What a man. and rock it Riley.

  15. Amanda says:

    Who knew something so blindingly obvious like no competition and not caring she doesn’t know it could be the key? I read your stories of home school and I feel like I’ve been hit in the face with a cricket bat. In a good way. the more I read the ore I feel I have to do some serious research.

  16. Robin says:

    Another thought, Riley was sensitive enough to pick up on the teacher’s anxiety about math. I wish all kids could be taught math by teachers that understand and enjoy it.

  17. amber says:

    Gosh, this makes me so happy. 🙂

    Math was so full of anxiety for me, because I was always missing school or weeks at a time, changing schools, etc. It made me feel so dumb and sick. All the time… HT is a hero!!

    You guys just did the right thing. Period.


  18. Heather says:

    If you were still in radio I would insist you hit the applause button. Let’s just pretend you hit it, ok? Bravo!

  19. kario says:

    YAY! This is so great! You guys deserve a tremendous bravo.

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