Struggling with math is common for all of us, even those with a knack
for it. The truth is that math requires a kind of growth through stages,
which every child (yes, yours too) can survive 🙂 Here are 2 ideas
that will make the difference. In fact, if your child is struggling,
it’s probably one, the other, or both.


Dr. Lybrand and his wife (Jody) of 40 years homeschooled their 5 children from birth to college, where they all excelled in academics and community (University of Texas & Abilene Christian). Dr. & Mrs. Lybrand have combined degrees of 2 BA's, 2 Masters, and 1 Doctorate), Fred and Jody have stuck with their faith and their obsession with practical learning. As a result, the overall theme of "Teaching Them to Learn How to Learn" invades everything they offer. Dr. Lybrand pastored for 25 years and currently coaches, consults, and trains leaders in businesses, churches, and non-profits. Among his client list are the U.S. Air Force, CRU, Be Broken, Continental Resources, State Farm Insurance, and Pioneer Natural Resources. Of course, one of his favorite interests is helping homeschoolers excel, and he does so with the 10 Courses of The Independent Homeschooer Curriculum & directly mentoring parents who belong to the tribe. Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.

    10 replies to "Fixing Your Homeschooler’s MATH Struggles"

    • Fred Ray Lybrand

      Hi Riri,

      There is not another way to learn math except to learn it. Since we can’t yet directly download it into their brains, we must insist/guide them through the challenge of learning.

      Learning math is normally an issue of slowing down to REALLY learn it. A kid that is not progressing is most likely not grasping something more basic. It’s best to go find it and work on it until it’s mastered. Fewer problems really learned will produce the results you want if it’s continued over time.

      If a child isn’t doing the work, then there won’t be progress (more of a motivation or ‘bad’ process issue).

      Hope this helps,


    • Riri

      I agree with you Fred, math does build progressively, i remember when my kid had problems when he was on the third grade. We did homeworks after school 1-2hrs a day. He got better and better everyday. I have a question though. What if the kid does not progress, is there any other way?

    • Laura

      LOVE your videos and advice given!!! I am going to try the 100% principle in her math.

      My daughter struggles with math every day no matter what program we use. She is capable of learning new concepts, but later does not seem to retain them. Therefore, while doing her daily math, she will make mistakes on things she has already learned and that I thought she had already mastered. I cannot pinpoint one particular problem area. She will make a different mistake on every problem; one time it will be failing to carry, another time it will be starting out a problem doing multiplication and then for some reason switching over to addition. Every single math problem reveals a completely different mistake. It is very frustrating and I cannot figure it out.

      You mentioned starting over. How would I go about doing this?
      Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

      • Fred Ray Lybrand

        Hi Laura,

        You may be slightly mis-defining what ‘mastering’ really is for a student. The idea is that you want her to ‘over learn’ or know something ‘automatically’. This skill can only come with time and practice.

        When a child ‘can do it’, it does mean she has yet mastered it. This is exactly why I like Saxon…it keep reviewing the old stuff they ‘learned’ so they get it to the mastery stage while learning new stuff.

        It sounds like she’s fine; just need to separate ‘know how to do it’ from ‘can do it automatically’.

        As to starting over (or going back a bit), I’d just give her tests / problems from earlier books until I find out where she doesn’t ‘totally know’ that stuff!

        Hope this helps,


        P.S. Sorry about all the quote marks!

        • Fred Ray Lybrand


          When a student misses something in math it’s either from carelessness or a lack of understanding. It’s always a good idea to figure out what your facing if you are seeing it often.

        • Fred Ray Lybrand

          P.P.S. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Katherine

      Thank you!!! This is awesome!! My oldest is 7 and we’re already doing this……I just didn’t know it was a good thing. She’s only 7 so she usually gets a 100 on the first try but if she misses a problem, I just erase it and call her to re-do it. No judgment whatsoever. Let’s just re-do it. She does and almost always gets it correct the second time. Then we’re off to the next thing.

      I really appreciate your video on this.

      • Fred Ray Lybrand

        Great Katherine!

        This is a way to get the kids to become solid in math (not missing anything). It’s also a way to teach them that there really isn’t such a thing as failure (exactly), rather, it’s all about just learning from the ‘miss’ and moving on an upward.



    • April

      Great video as always! We have always done math to 100%,but to lower the problems if the first lesson isn’t at 80% was new to my memory, because I have probably heard you say it before. 🙂

      That makes me wonder what other wonderful homeschooling advice I have received from you, that I have forgotten, about writing and reading. Where would I look for this? How We Homeschool videos?

      Did you ever have your kiddos write book reports or did you and Jody use verbal narration? At what age did you start the essay course?

      Do you still have a forum?

      Thanks in advance, Fred!

      • Fred Ray Lybrand

        Hi April,

        Yes, lower the problems if they are making below 90% (that’s the number we used, some say 95%) as an average pattern over a couple of weeks.

        We are about to start having 2 meetings per month for advice/coaching 🙂

        Look for an email soon (since you own one of our courses)!

        Thanks so much for the encouragement,


        P.S. How We Homeschool Videos, yes. Plus, on this site…blogs, videos, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.