Hello! Sorry in advance that this is SO long!
After three years at a lovely Montessori school, we will begin homeschooling at a homeschool academy this fall. One of the reasons (among many) that we have made this decision is because our current 5th and 3rd grader are 1-2 grade levels behind in math and language arts. We expected this - to some degree - understanding that Montessori schools do not follow the same schedule as more traditional options. However, it's still a bit of a shock to discover how behind they are in these subjects. (To be fair, I should mention that they are way ahead in science and history and I could make a very long list of the intangible benefits of their time spent at this school.)
But back to math/LA. My very brainy 5th grade son (who was in the gifted/enrichment program in public school), still has not been introduced to fractions/decimals/percents. Even though he is in the "advanced" math group. He's been doing 4th grade Mammoth Math at home for about a month. He keeps saying it feels like he's never used his brain this way before. I think he's referring to mental/conceptual math. He loves writing, and has learned what I would consider somewhat advanced grammar (transitive vs. intransitive verbs, for example). But his papers are only self or student edited, and full of run-on and fragment sentences and missing capitalization.
My head-in-the-clouds 3rd grade daughter has been attempting to work through the 2nd grade Mammoth Math book at home. The concepts in the beginning review section (so 1st grade problems) were very challenging for her. She had no concept of place value. If you asked what 20 + 5 was, she'd have to count it on her fingers. She has not memorized any math facts. I'm talking basic addition. She has to count on fingers or draw dots. Mammoth Math is not a good fit for her at all. It's just conceptually too advanced.
Now that I realize how much basic ground they need to cover between now and September, I'm looking for a math and LA arts program for afterschooling and this summer. I think CLE math will be a really good fit for us. I don't mind if they are still behind in math when they start in September. I am not necessarily in a rush to catch up in math. Slow and steady is fine, especially since they are used to and will continue to school year round.
I'm more stuck with LA. My daughter doesn't know what a verb is, what to capitalize, etc. Her spelling is very phonetic (not sure if that's the right word - I mean she writes what she hears). She is an advanced reader. Her handwriting is okay. She has learned cursive.
My son has a ton of grammar knowledge, but lacks writing basics. His spelling and reading are way advanced. His handwriting is below par. Both have been doing daily Handwriting Without Tears for years and years.
So my questions are:
- Does using CLE math now and for the foreseeable future seem like a solid plan for math? We get to choose math curricula for this homeschool academy, so they don't NEED to be at grade level by September, although being on grade level (or possibly ahead, in my son's case) is the eventual goal.
- Do you have any recommendations for a basic language arts program that will cover the things they've missed and help prepare them for the language arts/writing curricula they'll be jumping into in September? I like the look of CLE's LA workbooks, but my son hasn't done any sentence diagramming before. Would you start them at 200 and 400? Or 300 and 500, since they are strong readers? Or something else altogether?