For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Math, Math and more Math


This week is week 2 in the Virtual Curriculum Fair Hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts and Minds, and it's time to talk about Math.

Math in our homeschool is not so much of a headache, but does take lots of re-evaluating. Both my boys learn differently but I can't afford to invest in 2 different curriculum.

When we first started I picked up Horizon K. I liked it but my oldest, then 5, did not think much of it. For him it was too much writing.

In grade 1 I switched to Singapore and it was a good fit until grade 2 when he started complaining again about too much writing.

Since I had noticed that Zach did not know his facts I experimented with Professor B (which two years ago was the choice if you wanted to later on move on to Life of Fred). This lasted for about 4 months. The boys really did not like it, even though I thought the concepts were well taught and the drills and exercises would indeed help them master their facts. It was a bit overkill but I could anticipate the result if it weren't such a drag to have them do Math. So I dropped it.

At the end of last school year we started with  Math on The Level. So far it is working well for both my boys.

With my youngest, I have used Jump Math, as a friend had given us a copy. It was  working well for him, but I personally thought there was too many repetition, so I did not pursue it. I might get back to it in higher grades for him when concepts will be more challenging.

My comments on the different curriculum I used are as follow:

  • Horizon Math I think is a great curriculum for the workbook child and the sequential thinking child. It would have been a good fit for my second child, as he is very sequential, but I just did not want to spend extra money in having 2 curriculum. It is spiral not mastery based, so you do several topics at the same time progressively.
  • Singapore Math as well is a very good program. This program however is more conceptual and, I find, more challenging. What I really like about it is that it forces you to think through the concepts as opposed to just practice a method of solving operations. When all is said and done I would pick that one as my favorite. One con would be that it is fast-paced.
  • Math on the Level is a great program, but is very teacher intensive. It is not workbook based and that is why it works for my oldest. It demands a lot of prep work but what is very attractive about it is that you get all the concepts that you need to teach up until grade 8 in one single package. You teach what you think your child can understand at a particular point in time and move up accordingly. It is mastery based and at the same time spiral, because you get to review things progressively, either daily, by-weekly, weekly, every other week or once every 3 weeks depending on your child's mastery of the concept. It is self-sustaining as a math program but you are more than welcome to supplement which is what I do, just because I find that it is lacking in word problems and I think that's a must in Math teaching (one strong point of Singapore Math). The curriculum comes with a whole book on Math resource which is very valuable as well. basically with this program you choose what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach it. I find that this is great when you have kids that are atypical, which is my case. 
Both Horizon and Singapore Math would be welcomed on my homeschool shelves any day.

In addition to having used these curriculum I have come into contact with Math Mammoth and have found it great as well but heavy on excercices.  So, I use the one I have as supplements if I want the boys to practice something more.

I find that when it comes to teaching Math, online curriculum and/or activities are always welcomed by the boys, and are great for extra practice. I would not necessarily purchase any but I have been blessed with being part of the TOS Review crew and been able to enjoy a few. However, you can find quite a few ones on the internet by googling math games.

Also here is a little list of site I use to print extra worksheets for the boys when needed:
Finally another addition in our homeschooling when it comes to Math is games. I do not have many but always grab one if I come across any. They make Math more relevant and more alive. To name a few: Smath, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Snakes and Ladder, Fratzmatic. For developing logical and critical thinking: Chess, Sudoku, Battleship  etc...

I know I said finally already but I have to mention videos. I have been able to add videos in teaching Math and that has helped lighten the mood when it comes to Math. My favorite one has been Light Speed Math.

Now make sure to go have a look at the other homeschooler's posts participating in the fair.

Math Lapbooks---Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 2 Angie Wright @ Petra School

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week Two: Discover Patterns, Mathematics, Logic and Some Science by Leah @ The Courtney Six Homeschool

Our Choices For Math by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

A Magnificent Math Manipulative by Letha Paulk @ justpitchingmytent

Our Math Choices - Virtual Curriculum Fair by Tristan @ Our Busy Homeschool

Math Literature?!?! by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Learning Math at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Math Using Hamburger Paper by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Math Facts or Fun? Why Not Both! by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details- Part 2 Science by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Learning Math Block by Block by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

Plugging Along with Math by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

What's Working and What's Not: Math Edition by Leann @ Montessori Tidbits

Math Anyone? by Cindy @ For One Another

Ahh, Math. by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

FlyingWithout a Parachute: Math with no Curriculum by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Math in Our Homeschool by Christine T @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Math, Math, and More Math by Dawn Chandler @ tractors & tire swings

Thinking Mathematically- How I Choose Math Curriculum by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Discovering Patterns: Math, Logic, and Some Science by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

The Science of Math by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

"Mom, did we do math today?" by Chrissy at Learning is an Adventure

1 comment:

Susan said...

This is a great post, Joelle. Thank you for sharing with the Virtual Curriculum Fair.

It looks like we have had similar challenges in the math department. ;0)

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