If Your Child Doesn’t Understand a Concept, Let It Go!

let it go

Parents. Relax! Your child will get it! Last Spring I was teaching my teen the final grade 9 concepts in measurement – trigonometry in order to prep for high school math. He was unschooled until he was 18 and decided to enroll in high school math to get credentials for university. I had to learn sine, cosine and tangent ratio 6 times – once when I was in high school (which as a humanities major I never even partially understood) and 4 times to help my older children understand it in grade 9 or 10 to meet high school credentials. Each child that moved up, I forgot it (because I didn’t use it on a daily basis and had to relearn it all over again to help the next kid in line). Ugh.

My last and fifth child was not getting it. We tried and tried last Spring and he was in tears and I was frustrated. I tried to explain it in different ways as it was the 6th and last time that I would ever have to relearn it to help my kids with assignments!!! As the tears and frustration mounted, we took a break. As we usually do, the best thing we did was LET IT GO! Now it is December, six months later and he is taking it again in grade 10 math. He has progressed so much further ahead and IS GETTING IT!

The takeaway? If your child is not understanding, LET IT GO! The brain develops in spurts, not linear progression, and what they find so difficult last month, comes easy this month, without any outside intervention. Relax. Enjoy your child. If they don’t get it now, it doesn’t mean that they will never get it. It means the brain needs a bit more development that will come entirely on it’s own. The pre-frontal cortex does that. It matures on its own. You can relax. Your child will have many more opportunities to learn what they are not understanding today – they will not get behind. Let it go. Build the relationship and the resume will take care of itself. They can always learn trigonometric ratios, but you only have one chance to build a life-long loving parent-child relationship. Don’t let that go.

About Judy Arnall, BA, DTM, CCFE

BA, DTM, CCFE, Certified child development specialist and master of non-punitive parenting and education practices. Keynote speaker and best-selling author of "Discipline Without Distress", "Parenting With Patience", "Attachment Parenting Tips Raising Toddlers to Teens", and "Unschooling To University."
This entry was posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Democratic Parenting, Elementary-Primary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University-College Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to If Your Child Doesn’t Understand a Concept, Let It Go!

  1. Aganetha Klassen says:

    Thank you for this encouraging word, I am home schooling my 15 year old son and so often I feel like we’re staying behind. He is doing grade 8, English grade 7, which is his hardest subject. He loves playing outside, and I keep pushing him to get his school done first. I have been going all wrong about it. Thank you so much for your post


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