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Questions for those who have used Jacobs' Mathematics: A Human Endeavor

harold r. jacobs human endeavor jacobs math mathematics

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#1 songsparrow


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:55 AM

I am preparing to homeschool my dd who is going into 5th grade this fall. This will be our first year homeschooling; until this time she has attended public school. She loves math and picks up concepts easily. From K through 4th grade, her school used Everyday Math for her mathematics curriculum (which she did not like at all). ETA: My plan is to begin the year with a review of multiplying 2- and 3- digit numbers, division, and fractions and decimals (especially addition and subtraction of fractions) - all of which were covered at the end of 4th grade. While my daughter could do the work, I know that she doesn't understand deeply why she should solve the problems in that way.

Based on recommendations here, I ordered Singapore Math, Life of Fred: Fractions, and Jacobs' Mathematics: A Human Endeavor to check out as possible resources to use for her mathematics curriculum this fall. (I was planning on some combination of the three.) I am also looking at working on math using Montessori materials.

Now that I have the books in hand and have looked through them, the book that captivated me the most - and that my instinct says will also engage my daughter the most - is Jacobs. However, the concepts introduced in it seem very different in sequence and scope from typical 5th grade curricula.

So, my question for those of you who have also used Jacobs:

1. At what grade level did you introduce it?

2. How did you use it? Did you work through it from front to back like a regular textbook? Did you combine it with another curriculum? If so, how did you integrate them?

3. Do you recommend the Student Workbook? Is there a Teacher's Manual?

Thanks for any advice!


Edited by songsparrow, 08 August 2011 - 10:03 AM.

#2 EKS


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:12 AM

I have used MHE.

We used it for a while when my son was still learning arithmetic (4th-5th grade level). He loved it, but it was too much at that time.

Then after my son had finished Algebra I using Jacobs, my son did it again, this time on his own, using the workbook. He did it like a regular textbook. I liked the idea of the workbook, but it looks like it was produced in the 1970s and my son didn't like the extra problems it inserted.

The problem with doing it after algebra, particularly Jacobs Algebra, is that my son already knew a lot of what was presented. He felt it was a waste of his time.

I don't know where your daughter is skill-wise, but I think the prealgebra level would probably be good. The first few chapters are pretty mellow, but it gets more intense as you go on.

There is a teacher's manual.

If you use Jacobs, keep in mind that it is completely outside the normal sequence of elementary mathematics. If you do standardized testing, her scores might reflect this by dropping. As she is coming out of Everyday Math, you might want to have her take the placement test for Singapore math and start where she places. You could also do maybe one chapter per week of MHE and get through it in two years. That way, you can do both things. As for Life of Fred Fractions, it is good for a fun review of fractions, but I wouldn't use it as a primary program. My younger son got through it in a week (and he loved every minute of it). Sorry, I know you didn't ask for opinions on this other stuff, but I couldn't resist.

I hope something here helps.

#3 Momling


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:18 AM

I've always been curious about the book, but understood it was intended for non-math-oriented high schoolers. I figured we might get more out of it later on -- I also have a 4th grade daughter.

I'm really happy with Singapore math. Life of Fred is fun too, but at 4th grade, it's not going to offer a very complete semester of math. Another alternative, if you are looking for some interesting math reads is "Murderous maths". My daughter thinks they are the funniest things ever and adores reading them for fun.

#4 KarenAnne


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:48 AM

If you decide not go to with Jacobs, you might take a look at some of the Marilyn Burns math books, which are the best thing I've found for approaching math with an emphasis on understanding the "whys" behind concepts and practices. Many libraries carry at least some of them, so you wouldn't necessarily have to buy.

The books are not math curricula per se; they're a series of books with a group of problems/lesson plans centered around particular concepts. Some of the books have data charts or a worksheet or two; most do not -- you approach the problem through various angles, with a hands-on activity usually, discussion, writing, and symbolic math. The idea is to engage kids intellectual curiosity, look at the problem or practice in different ways, work through a couple of related problems. You could use this as a supplement to your regular curriculum, or do the Burns books first and then return to your regular curriculum for further practice.