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Feedback on Math Curriculum Please...


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#1 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 04:41 PM

Hello,

This is my first post.  My son is starting "kindergarten" in a few months, and I have been visiting this forum every now and then as I have been researching.  After doing a lot of reading, the Well-Trained Mind mindset (from the articles I've read) seems to be really fitting with our style.

 

In any case, my son is turning 5 in July.  He is somewhat advanced because he is an only child (well, until now...I am 20 weeks pregnant after thinking we couldn't have anymore).  He definitely has asynchronous development which I'm trying to really take into consideration as I plan his upcoming Kindergarten...very hyper, reading at an early 2nd grade level, impulse control problems, etc.

 

We started Math-U-See Primer last fall and got through that by Christmas.  We then started Rod & Staff Math 1, which he said was "too easy" and I couldn't get him to focus on it.  So then we switched to Horizons Grade 1 but that was too spiral and within the first 20 lessons, the book called for kids to start memorizing math facts through 20, which I didn't feel comfortable doing with my son while technically in "preschool." So, then I got Mammoth Math Level 1 which has rave reviews. My son, who loved math, started really not liking most of it.  It was like he dreaded it most days (except for the fun stuff likes clocks, measuring, shapes, etc.)  It seems like over half of the addition problems are solving for the unknown before the child gets to become familiar with the math fact at all...which did not work well for my son.  I started going back to Rod & Staff for review work over the last couple of weeks and finally told my son today, "Well, you didn't want to do Rod & Staff because it was too easy, but now you have seen a really hard curriculum..would you like to just go back to Rod & Staff now and we can work through our Horizons and Mammoth Math curriculum when you are ready and they will be more fun?"  He said yes...I hope this works!  

 

Is it just our family or has the Mammoth Math style curriculum not worked for anyone else?  Is it because my son is just too immature for it, even though he should be prepared having been through Math-U-See Primer?  Any other math curriculums you can recommend or similar stories?   I'm a little worried because people comment Rod & Staff is too easy and doesn't prepare for tests, etc.  That doesn't matter now but we could move states. 

 

(BTW, at this time we only do school about 3 to 4 times a week for an hour and Classical Conversations.  We started "formal school" early because it was the right fit for our family, but I know its not for everyone.)



#2 wendyroo

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 04:59 PM

Is there a reason you are not moving on to Math U See Alpha?

 

Another option might be Singapore (Primary Math or Math in Focus).  It is conceptually very similar to Math Mammoth, but more "fun" with less problems on each page, more pictures, etc.

 

Miquon is a very rigorous conceptual/thinking/problem solving curriculum that is very different than Singapore or Math Mammoth (or pretty much anything else).

 

Otherwise, I might just wait a bit.  My kids started "formal school" pretty early, but just played around with math for the first half of kindergarten.  By the second semester of kindergarten, they were ready to jump right into Singapore 1 or Math Mammoth 1, and both cruised through those first grade curricula by the end of their kindergarten year.

 

Wendy 



#3 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 05:16 PM

Thanks!  Math U See just didn't seem like the right fit, but we benefited from it.  My son likes seeing the manipulatives on paper sometimes, but he doesn't really like working with them.  I wanted a program without dvd, etc. 



#4 Jackie

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 05:38 PM

Math Mammoth wouldn't have worked for DD. We did use some of their topical books to fill some gaps left when we swapped between other programs, and I can definitely appreciate the program. But DD would get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of problems/print on the page. Plus, her math abilities outpace her fine motor by a chunk, so she just plain can't fit her work onto the page.

Use what works for you. Miquon, MEP, and Singapore are frequently recommended here because they teach number sense really well. We used RightStart until it no longer fit, filled in with other stuff, and then moved to Beast Academy. Honestly, math "curriculum" is a fairly small part of our total math - we lean heavily on living math books, math games, and some supplemental curric. DD really likes variety, and her being advanced means that we can take more time to enjoy that variety because I'm not worried about the pace she advances.

#5 winterbaby

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

Have you considered MEP? It's not "fun" as such - for one thing it's black and white - but a lot of the activities are "out of the box" and puzzle-like. It takes virtually all of first grade to do addition and subtraction facts up to 20 by composing and decomposing numbers every conceivable way.

But as a mother of a 2E child, I would caution against constantly switching up curricula in response to temporary difficulties or resistance, or catering too closely to the child's feelings of enjoyment. Of course this is a balancing act and at age 4/5, if everything is a problem, the answer may be not another curriculum but to ease off and do home math, games and puzzles, etc.
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#6 Angie in VA

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:38 PM

Welcome to the boards! :)

 

This thread might help you. 



#7 HomeAgain

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:49 PM

Have you considered MEP? It's not "fun" as such - for one thing it's black and white - but a lot of the activities are "out of the box" and puzzle-like. It takes virtually all of first grade to do addition and subtraction facts up to 20 by composing and decomposing numbers every conceivable way.

But as a mother of a 2E child, I would caution against constantly switching up curricula in response to temporary difficulties or resistance, or catering too closely to the child's feelings of enjoyment. Of course this is a balancing act and at age 4/5, if everything is a problem, the answer may be not another curriculum but to ease off and do home math, games and puzzles, etc.


My thoughts went to MEP, too. It doesn't require a long attention span - the teacher's guide has times written next to each activity and there's a good balance of active and written. It also appears to go slow, but really goes pretty deep into the work and builds steam quickly.

We eased into MEP year 1 by starting with manipulatives and an app called Archimedes' Roost, which is a virtual Montessori classroom. We made/bought similar items (colored blocks, c-rods, place value cards, number tiles) and continued the work in a more hands on way after doing it on the app. MEP helped give more exercises using the same manipulatives. They're not required for the program but it was nice. He dropped most of them partly through Year 2 except for occasionally multiplying in Year 3.

#8 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 08:58 PM

Thanks for the info on MEP!  I have heard of it, but didn't look into it very much since I don't have a great printer at home (I actually ordered the Mammoth Math book in hard copy) but I could always get it printed at Staples if it was a good fit.  In giving it a second look, it certainly does "look fun" and I think my son would enjoy it even it we used other stuff too for just memorizing math facts.  Thanks!



#9 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 09:23 PM


But as a mother of a 2E child, I would caution against constantly switching up curricula in response to temporary difficulties or resistance, or catering too closely to the child's feelings of enjoyment. Of course this is a balancing act and at age 4/5, if everything is a problem, the answer may be not another curriculum but to ease off and do home math, games and puzzles, etc.

 

Thanks for the advice! 

 

Our son may be 2E, we suspect he is but aren't sure yet.  He is on an ADHD type diet which has really helped his behavior.  I bet I could do some math games with my son, but one thing he will not do is store or pretend money.  We have tried many times to explain to him that at stores, people pay with money and I'm pretty sure he knows that.  But he insists that people be given money in his version when they buy things in his "pretend world."   Learning with play money would be really fun if only we could : ) !

 

Yes, I think this advice really applies to my son's personality...Part of why we started the "formal schooling" was to help create structure and reign in the problem areas of his behavior.  So I guess trying to create proper habits  (and mitigating any spoiling as an only child) was our first reason for starting, but at this point he has taken to the routine and structure well (comparatively to before) so I'm really glad we did it before official "Kindergarten."  But yes, there was a part of me that at the very beginning that said "We should stick with Rod & Staff!" but I felt guilty because of his young age and not sure how to handle that..I'll feel relieved when he is officially in "Kindergarten" since I won't second guess myself as much.



#10 Jackie

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 10:02 PM

Good luck with not second guessing yourself! I still do it regularly. :)

Some options for young, mathy kids:
- Penrose the Mathematical Cat books
- Zeus on the Loose game
- Rat a Tat Cat
- Chess
- Highlights MathMania magazine
- Sir Cumference book series
- Addition War (there are variants for the other operations as well)
- Yahtzee
- Stuart J. Murphy MathStart books
- Time-Life I Love Math series
- Balance Beans game

We do stick with one "primary" curriculum (RightStart, then Beast Academy in our case), but as I mentioned before the "primary curriculum" is less than half of the time we spend on math. I don't use other full, formal curriculum, but we do take full advantage of DD being ahead to take time to explore math in lots of ways. I originally meant for this to slow her down a bit, but that turns out to not work - all the math she is exposed to in other resources tends to mean that she flies through even faster when presented with the topics in her primary curriculum.
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#11 xahm

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:43 AM

We've done mep with a young learner. I looked at the teacher's manual and worksheet. I used or white board a lot. Early on, I'd put just one or two of the puzzle type problems at a time on the board. We would use the worksheet for the questions with graphics I didn't want to re draw. During the course of the day, we would do some of the activities from the lesson plan, some from the board, and some from the sheet. We were loosey goosey with this, but I'm sure you could be more organized. Later, when the kinds of questions changed, I'd put the long problem sets on the board and use the worksheet for the word problems. Writing on the whiteboard was more fun than me scribing or copying things onto a sheet of paper.