In all fairness, she's a great learner. But, the minute I put on my teacher hat and tried to directly teach my girl a new idea, she tended to shut me down. I could tutor everyone else's child, but it was hard to tutor my own.

No matter how skillfully, positively, and engagingly I tried to teach her directly, my daughter didn't reliably respond. Maybe she was worried she wouldn't get it, and would somehow let me down. Maybe she was used to me as "Mommy" and didn't like changing my role. Whatever it was, something was making the direct approach, the wrong approach.

So, I changed my ways. I stopped trying to directly teach, and gave her plenty of chances to listen to me think, and try ideas out when she was ready. I call it turn-taking learning. I play math games with her. On my turns, I solve my problem and explain my own thinking. On her turns, I listen as she solves, and let her choose her own strategy, even if it's slow.

It isn't perfect, and it doesn't work for everything, but I love the way it changed our relationship around learning.

I was playing one of my math games with my daughter today, and we worked on a math idea we haven't done in a while. At the beginning, she seemed a little on edge. But, as we took turns, and I talked out my thinking and gave her chances to talk out hers, she just relaxed. 

Taking turns gives her a chance to learn from me without feeling like she is being taught, and to teach me, too. She can try new strategies when she wants. There's something beautiful about teaching by example, and giving your child freedom to think.

And, oddly, now that we have this great dialogue, she lets me teach her. Sometimes.

getmathkit.com