I think our printer is dying. Or dead. We aren't sure yet. Last Wednesday, Sierra wanted to make a card on the computer for her friend. The computer gave an error message and I went through the usual fixes to no avail. Checked the paper feed, the ink cartridges, rechecked the paper feed, pressed the on/off and reset buttons. The buttons seem to be the problem. They have become decoration. I felt like someone waiting impatiently for the elevator during a power outage. I pushed buttons repeatedly hoping something would happen.
I feel like that sometimes when I homeschool. I remember the year I bought New Elementary Math. I had been using the Singapore Math books up to sixth grade with Marina, and New Elementary Math were the higher level books from that series. You would think I would have noticed a problem when I was still in Singapore 6A and called my mother or sister regularly because I had no idea how to do some of the problems.
But no, I carried on, blamed myself for my lack of math ability, and bought all the books for New Elementary Math. It did not matter that Marina was losing confidence and developing a dislike for mathematics. We had used this series for years and I knew it was the best math book for us. I wasn't going to give up. I would push that button until my thumb bled.
Sometimes things don't work. Sometimes things work for a time and then stop working. This is not a reflection on our abilities. The math books served a purpose for a time just as the printer did. Once they stop working, we need to be willing to let go. Sometimes we need to give up to find our way.
When I accepted that our math curriculum wasn't working, we made use of the library to find something that did work. For algebra, it meant getting both of us over our fear of higher math. I started with the book Algebra Unplugged by Ken Amdahl. This book approaches algebra from a writer's perspective. It was a beginning for us. I continue to use the library to test out math texts each year. Once we find something that works, we buy it. I wouldn't say she loves math now, but she is much more tolerant and less afraid of it.
Eventually, I will give up on the printer. But I may plug it in one more time and push the buttons a little longer. I'm a slow learner.