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Math in Focus Vs. Horizons


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#1 soror

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 02:16 PM

Well, I'm going bonkers here trying to decide Math for next year. Logic says I should just continue with Right Start as I have that for dd already and it did lay a good foundation. However, I keep getting flashbacks of super long lessons in B I had with my son and I want something a little less teacher intensive for dd. I think she could thrive with a more traditional approach then he did. I'd also prefer something that makes slow and steady progress, although still challenging whereas RSB has some pretty big leaps towards the end especially.

Then there is the issue of ds' Math. We were/are doing Beast Academy this year, which he really likes. However, with the publication schedule we won't be able to do a full year next year. Besides the fact that after a while I missed our spiral review with Right Start. I've added back in doing some RSD lessons as well but I'm undecided about it as it seems there is a lot of review. I really prefer just to have one program but I don't want to deprive him of Beast Academy as I really love the problems and the approach and he loves it. I'm considering doing some work with Hands on Equations as well to continue our variable work we did in BA.

It seems easier to me if I pick the same main program for both of them. From reading reviews it seems Horizons is considered a strong program and with the teacher's edition does have a lot of the mental and conceptual work as other programs. I really like that it is spiral as well. I've been intrigued about the Singapore approach so I'm drawn to Math in Focus and I do like the samples that I've seen. I'm not sure if it is spiral or Mastery though, it appears more Mastery from what I've looked at so far.

So, any opinions from those who've used both?

If you've used either one can you tell me:
-How long were the lessons? (I'll be doing 1st and 4th next year).

- Were the lessons really writing intensive- how much writing per average lesson?

-How strong of a mental math foundation did you feel it made?

- Which books do I need?
from reading I think I need the Teachers Edition and Student Workbooks A and B for Horizons but just the Student Books and Workbooks A and B for MiF(however there are tons of other books and it is a bit confusing).

- Spiral Vs. Mastery
How did you feel the progression went? Does it feel disjointed at all is there enough review work with past concepts? Is there review of concepts in hands on or other ways- ie not just drill and kill but games and such as well.

-Did you feel that anything was missing from either program? I prefer to keep dd just using one program if at all possible, although I know I'll be supplementing ds some w/ Beast Academy.

#2 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 02:47 PM

I'll give answering a try. I'm not a huge SM fan, so keep that in mind b/c I can't be completely unbiased. :p

Horizons is very straight forward and does not take much time to complete. All of my kids that used just Horizons (and absolutely no supplementing) have been very strong math studentsand have had zero problems with advanced math.

That said, my 5th grader has been using a combo of Horizons and MiF for the past 2 yrs plus HOE thrown in in spurts. Why? She can be lazy and a challenge increases her focus on what she is doing. She also wants things to be engaging. MiF has color, etc which she also likes (compared to SM). MiF is very similar to SM and uses bar methods, etc and takes a lot longer to complete.

HOE is a favorite. We both love HOE.

As far as how they teach, I don't see much difference in methodology between Horizons and MiF. The big difference is in the application problems. The word problems in MiF often need bar models. Horizons are simpler problems that are typically just setting up equations and solving. My older kids never had a problem with problem solving, so I have always had mixed feelings about the necessity of bar models vs. solving algebraically when they are older.

Ironically, you would think that my 5th grader would be one of my more confident elementary math students. She isn't. She really doesn't exude the same sense of confidence that my older kids did at the same age. She does extremely well solving the problems in MiF, so I can't really explain it other than while the challenge makes her focus more, it may undermine her complete confidence in herself??? But she will tell you that she really likes MiF. I just asked her and she said that Horizons is easier to do but that she feels like she learns more from MiF. And she says she likes doing the parts of both that she does.

I have no idea if that helps or not.

#3 soror

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:10 AM

Thanks for the info. I do know both of the kids would like the color of MiF. I do however know that ds likes things that are straight forward. I really like the organization of the TE of Horizons. However, it seems from samples that Horizon has more worksheets/writing which I know wouldn't be good for ds. UGH

#4 Danielle1746

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:33 PM

I'm using Horizons, levels 1, 3, 5, and 6, this year (our first year homeschooling). For levels 1 and 3, each day's assignment is one sheet, front and back. For levels 5 and 6, each day's assignment is one and a half sheets. If I had the kids do every single problem on every worksheet, it would not be fun for anyone. But, there is a LOT of spiral, so I have never made any of the kids do the entire worksheet. If there is a new concept, they have to do all of those problems, but for any review, assuming they EASILY understand the concept, I may only have them do half of what is on the page. If it's something that's been reviewed for a long time, they may not even have to do that much. And it's been a great motivator too, because if my kids balk at the problems they have to do, I kindly point out how many they COULD be doing. That usually shuts them up quickly. lol I am very happy with it.

#5 soror

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:35 PM

Thanks for your thoughts Danielle.

I'm buying K Horizons used so I can test it out for dd and myself. I'm really anxious not to have super long lessons and I prefer things to be more straight forward. I really like the layout of the Horizons TM as well and think it would suite me as a teacher. I am happy to see info about using manipulatives and games in the TM. I'm still undecided about ds. He isn't all that far from pre-A as it is and as he's always done RS it might make sense just to keep him in that. UGH. I hate having to use more than 1 curriculum though and I hate being undecided. I'm for sure buying HoE though as I believe it will be a great program for him. WE will continue as well with Beast Academy as we can. I somehow went from 1 program to three though! If I end up buying him Horizons I will just have him do selective review though and new topics as needed.

#6 sbgrace

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:46 PM

Well, I can try to add from a MIF perspective. We've used RS (A, B, 1/2 C) and then MIF 1b-3a now.

If you've used either one can you tell me:
-How long were the lessons? (I'll be doing 1st and 4th next year).
The lessons don't take me long. That includes doing them with a child who has major focus issues/severe ADHD. In fact, the number of problems each day seems as perfect for him as one could be. Because one child here is probably done with a lesson in 1/3 the time of the other child, or even faster, I don't think my time spent on a lesson would probably be helpful. With my poor focus and math issues child I'm actually adding two word problem resources nearly every day to our MIF and the time is still doable. I want to add that I actually think MiF does a good job with word problems--there are lots built into the program in every unit. I am just adding because he's weak in that area, probably due to special needs, and I think the extra practice is good for him.

- Were the lessons really writing intensive- how much writing per average lesson?

I don't think they are particularly writing intensive. It's more writing than we did in RS though. I just opened to a random workbook page in 3A. It's word problems. There are 5, 2 part problems for this lesson. Example: A middle school has 3,765 students. It has 455 fewer students than an elementary school. How many students does the elementary school have? How many students do both schools have in all? So this problem would have a model (we use bar models ala the MiF approach and also whole/part circles per RS depending on the problem) and then a single resulting addition problem for each step. I do sometimes write for this child and it looks like I did that on this lesson. That has more to do with focus on his part--it's a faster lesson if I write as I can set the pace a bit better. Neither child complains about the writing that I can remember.

Looking at another random lesson, I see 9 subtraction problems (4 digit, regrouping) and one word problem.

-How strong of a mental math foundation did you feel it made?
Based on Singapore materials I own, I think the mental math in MiF follows the Singapore approach, which is regarded as strong. That said, I think RS is stronger. I just prefer RS's way of introducing and completely mastering the mental math first.

- Which books do I need?

All I have needed, for the MiF levels we've done, are the student books and workbooks. Starting in 3rd grade there is an assessment book for MiF. I purchased it and wish I hadn't. The text includes unit tests that are more appropriate for the material covered at the end of each section than those in the assessment book. I'm not using it. I know some people purchase another workbook, I think it's an extra practice or similar.

- Spiral Vs. Mastery
How did you feel the progression went? Does it feel disjointed at all is there enough review work with past concepts? Is there review of concepts in hands on or other ways- ie not just drill and kill but games and such as well.

I do think MiF is more of a mastery approach. I wish there was more integrated/daily review. There are reviews built in, but I don't consider it spiral. I don't feel anything about MiF is drill and kill. In fact, I can see value in that extra practice book perhaps! But the reviews are in the form of cumulative tests. So you get a review test every 3 units or so that covers the concepts to that point, focusing on the (say 3) units that came just prior to the cumulative review. This is the weakness for me. I'll write a bit on that in the next question.

-Did you feel that anything was missing from either program? I prefer to keep dd just using one program if at all possible, although I know I'll be supplementing ds some w/ Beast Academy.
I don't think there is anything missing in MiF. I am wondering, though, if some kids might need the extra practice type books. So far retention here has been good for most things but a chapter of fractions in 2nd grade, for example, wasn't enough here for retention into the next year for my kids. I think lack of extensive or repetitive review may be a weakness for some.

I'm using other methods for multiplication and division here (c-rods and Times Tales). I've found I don't like the way Singapore or MiF present those concepts. But that may be my own issue--perhaps my kids would have done well with the style. I looked at my RS division and didn't like that presentation either so I think it's probably me/my kids and not the program.

#7 soror

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:38 AM

Thanks so much sbgrace. I think my ds needs at least some practice as it seems he was forgetting some stuff with using just solely BA. I'm not sure how much though and don't want it to be overkill. He did division first through BA here and it seemed to be an easy introduction.

#8 Saddlemomma

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:53 AM

My dd has been using Horizons since K. We both love it. She needs the spiral method in Math. She is now in book 4. To cut down on the length of each lesson, I only choose half of the problems or less if they are review. She needs to complete all of the problems for new material. This has cut down her time tremendously and keeps her on track and happy. If your dc has a good grasp of a concept, just don't do all the problems. One or two for review is just fine. It's working great for us.

#9 Mrs Twain

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:44 AM

Just a couple of general thoughts.

IMO spiral is very important in math. Your child needs to remember how to do all of the types of problems all the time, not just for the portion of the year that a mastery program spends on them. If you use a mastery math program, then you need to add something as a supplement to get the spirial.

As for Horizons not taking long, those people are probably not using the TM in earnest. In 4th Horizons, it takes at least an hour which includes going over concepts from the TM as well as the workbook problems. I have my kids do all of the problems in the workbooks. There are a reasonable amount of problems which are necessary for practice IMO.

Horizons is my main math program. I have used K-4th. It is a strong program, but only if you follow the TM including all of the drill and speed work. Horizons doesn't have much mental math, and the word problems are not strong. Therefore, I add the "Challenging Word Problems" and "Mental Math" workbooks from Singapore. Doing Horizons with the TM, CWP, and Mental Math workbook makes a great program IMO and in my engineer dh's opinion, too.

I recommend adding CWP (one level lower than current grade) to any math program you are using. The reason is that this will test the child's conceptual understanding of math. If the child can understand the question, formulate the equation, solve it, and label it correctly, then he understands the math concepts involeved. IMO this is the best way to test how effective your math program is.

#10 soror

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:33 PM

Thank you Mrs. Twain for your thoughts.

#11 Calming Tea

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:15 PM

But if you use CWP you have to start it by the 2nd grade book because that's where bar diagrams are introduced! Otherwise it's nearly impossible to start at a higher level in CWP!

#12 Danielle1746

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:54 PM

As for Horizons not taking long, those people are probably not using the TM in earnest. In 4th Horizons, it takes at least an hour which includes going over concepts from the TM as well as the workbook problems. I have my kids do all of the problems in the workbooks. There are a reasonable amount of problems which are necessary for practice IMO.


I can't speak for anyone else, but I definitely do not use the TM as directed. If there is a new concept that I do not feel completely comfortable explaining, I will consult the TM before proceeding, but so far that's all I've used it for--that and grading the level 5 and 6 work.

For drill and speed work, we use Mad Minute timed worksheets daily as well as flashcards. My K'er enjoys playing with the Cuisinaire rods too. But fortunately for me, my kids have been pretty quick to grasp math concepts, including mental math, so I am not too worried about leaving out most of the TM stuff.

#13 jer2911mom

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

Just a couple of general thoughts.

IMO spiral is very important in math. Your child needs to remember how to do all of the types of problems all the time, not just for the portion of the year that a mastery program spends on them. If you use a mastery math program, then you need to add something as a supplement to get the spirial.

As for Horizons not taking long, those people are probably not using the TM in earnest. In 4th Horizons, it takes at least an hour which includes going over concepts from the TM as well as the workbook problems. I have my kids do all of the problems in the workbooks. There are a reasonable amount of problems which are necessary for practice IMO.

Horizons is my main math program. I have used K-4th. It is a strong program, but only if you follow the TM including all of the drill and speed work. Horizons doesn't have much mental math, and the word problems are not strong. Therefore, I add the "Challenging Word Problems" and "Mental Math" workbooks from Singapore. Doing Horizons with the TM, CWP, and Mental Math workbook makes a great program IMO and in my engineer dh's opinion, too.

I recommend adding CWP (one level lower than current grade) to any math program you are using. The reason is that this will test the child's conceptual understanding of math. If the child can understand the question, formulate the equation, solve it, and label it correctly, then he understands the math concepts involeved. IMO this is the best way to test how effective your math program is.


Which "mental math" workbook from Singapore do you add? Do you feel doing CWP gives you a good explanation of the bar modeling approach?

Thanks,
Kathy

#14 Mrs Twain

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:58 PM

Which "mental math" workbook from Singapore do you add? Do you feel doing CWP gives you a good explanation of the bar modeling approach?

Thanks,
Kathy


It is just called Singapore "Mental Math."
http://search.rainbo...ore-mental-math
I don't know if it is published by the same Singapore math company as many people use on this forum, though.

I think CWP explanations are fine, though I do a lot of teaching the bar method myself in addition to the book. I haven't used Singapore for my math curriculum, so I don't know if the explanations are good compared to the regular curriculum.

#15 soror

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

Well, since this is bumped a bit of an update here. I've decided to go ahead and go on with RSE for ds along with Hands on Equations and some BA in there as well. I think I might just use the BA3 and go into the 2 starred problems and such. I went ahead and ordered both so I can stop fretting about it!

With dd I'm still undecided. I ordered a copy of Horizons K but the order fell through. In the meantime I've been using the online sample of MIF with her and she likes it pretty well. I went ahead and ordered one of the books from Amazon as I found it used for $4 w/ shipping. I'm thinking we might go ahead and do RS though as I already have it. I can just do it slower with the lesson times shorter and take longer to go through B so the lessons are not so long. I really did love the foundation RS has provided ds, especially in the area of conceptual and mental math. I also bought some c-rods as I've always wanted to try them. I thought we could try the education unboxed videos as a nice supplement.

#16 jer2911mom

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

It is just called Singapore "Mental Math."
http://search.rainbo...ore-mental-math
I don't know if it is published by the same Singapore math company as many people use on this forum, though.

I think CWP explanations are fine, though I do a lot of teaching the bar method myself in addition to the book. I haven't used Singapore for my math curriculum, so I don't know if the explanations are good compared to the regular curriculum.


Thank you! The Mental Math book looks like it is a Carson-dellosa product.

Can anyone else speak to how well CWP explains bar modeling compared to using the actual PM program?

Thanks,
Kathy

#17 Paradox5

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:02 PM

:) bumping because I would like to know, too.

#18 kaymom

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:42 PM

Well, I'm going bonkers here trying to decide Math for next year. Logic says I should just continue with Right Start as I have that for dd already and it did lay a good foundation. However, I keep getting flashbacks of super long lessons in B I had with my son and I want something a little less teacher intensive for dd. I think she could thrive with a more traditional approach then he did. I'd also prefer something that makes slow and steady progress, although still challenging whereas RSB has some pretty big leaps towards the end especially.

Then there is the issue of ds' Math. We were/are doing Beast Academy this year, which he really likes. However, with the publication schedule we won't be able to do a full year next year. Besides the fact that after a while I missed our spiral review with Right Start. I've added back in doing some RSD lessons as well but I'm undecided about it as it seems there is a lot of review. I really prefer just to have one program but I don't want to deprive him of Beast Academy as I really love the problems and the approach and he loves it. I'm considering doing some work with Hands on Equations as well to continue our variable work we did in BA.

It seems easier to me if I pick the same main program for both of them. From reading reviews it seems Horizons is considered a strong program and with the teacher's edition does have a lot of the mental and conceptual work as other programs. I really like that it is spiral as well. I've been intrigued about the Singapore approach so I'm drawn to Math in Focus and I do like the samples that I've seen. I'm not sure if it is spiral or Mastery though, it appears more Mastery from what I've looked at so far.

So, any opinions from those who've used both?

If you've used either one can you tell me:
-How long were the lessons? (I'll be doing 1st and 4th next year).

- Were the lessons really writing intensive- how much writing per average lesson?

-How strong of a mental math foundation did you feel it made?

- Which books do I need?
from reading I think I need the Teachers Edition and Student Workbooks A and B for Horizons but just the Student Books and Workbooks A and B for MiF(however there are tons of other books and it is a bit confusing).

- Spiral Vs. Mastery
How did you feel the progression went? Does it feel disjointed at all is there enough review work with past concepts? Is there review of concepts in hands on or other ways- ie not just drill and kill but games and such as well.

-Did you feel that anything was missing from either program? I prefer to keep dd just using one program if at all possible, although I know I'll be supplementing ds some w/ Beast Academy.



#19 kaymom

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:01 PM

We used MIF this year for 4th grade and also had to go back and use their 3rd grade to do some catching up because my son had been in PS. We spent about 20-30 minutes on a lesson and then independently he spent another15-20, but many times we were covering more than one lesson in that time frame. When we worked on the more challenging word problems it was longer. We did everything on the white board, so there wasn't much writing. I think even if you didn't do it that way, there wouldn't be that much actual writing--just problem solving. I used the student book and the TE too because I don't want to have to work all of the problems, but if you are confident in your understanding of the material, you could just use the student book. You will also want the A& B workbooks, but don't need all of the other materials. It is most definitely a mastery program with some built in review every few chapters and longer cumulative reviews at the end of each book. You could build in more review if you like fairly easily. I have used 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B and am going to use it next year. I think that it builds a strong math foundation and has many outside the box challenge problems. It is very well laid out and has a nice flow. The only place it lacks is intensive review, but that is why it is considered mastery. We've just added extra ws from Math Mammoth on occasion if we need more review. Overall the concepts build on each other so in that way there is review of all the major computation methods. Hope this helps!

#20 kaymom

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:15 PM

We used MIF this year for 4th grade and also had to go back and use their 3rd grade to do some catching up because my son had been in PS. We spent about 20-30 minutes on a lesson and then independently he spent another15-20, but many times we were covering more than one lesson in that time frame. When we worked on the more challenging word problems it was longer. We did everything on the white board, so there wasn't much writing. I think even if you didn't do it that way, there wouldn't be that much actual writing--just problem solving. I used the student book and the TE too because I don't want to have to work all of the problems, but if you are confident in your understanding of the material, you could just use the student book. You will also want the A& B workbooks, but don't need all of the other materials. It is most definitely a mastery program with some built in review every few chapters and longer cumulative reviews at the end of each book. You could build in more review if you like fairly easily. I have used 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B and am going to use it next year. I think that it builds a strong math foundation and has many outside the box challenge problems. It is very well laid out and has a nice flow. The only place it lacks is intensive review, but that is why it is considered mastery. We've just added extra ws from Math Mammoth on occasion if we need more review. Overall the concepts build on each other so in that way there is review of all the major computation methods. Hope this helps!

#21 Tanikit

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:36 AM

I used Horizons K when my DD was in preK and now Horizons 1 in K. I do however use them with SM - CWP and the workbook only. Horizons was pretty writing heavy - my DD managed to do entire worksheets in K but now in Horizons 1 I have switched to asking only half the problems unless it is a new concept she is working on. I have not used any of the TE and have not needed them up til now. I do have manipulatives available all the time, though my DD only uses them about half the time. I have found the CWP helpful as certainly up til now the word problems in Horizons have been far too straight forward. Because so far we have only used CWP 1, bar modelling has not really been explained at all though I have taught it to my DD by myself - they are still expecting the students to draw pictures rather than use bar models. I actually found it easier however to teach the bar model during Horizons 1 lesson where they were asking problems such as 6 + 3 = 12 - ___ = ___ + 2 = ____. I also taught the bar models with manipulatives basically showing how to arrange manipulatives to obtain what looks like a bar model. For multiplication we have not yet used the bar model as my DD still needs to understand it more visually than a bar model allows right now. My DD is fast with Math and particularly with Horizons lessons are very short - we possibly do a half hour of Math per day covering both Horizons 1 and SM (CWP and a short part of the normal workbook). Because my DD is in K I also sometimes do the writing for her.


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