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Opinions on Shiller Math?


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I have used this math for a couple years now. I really like it and so do my kids. It is very well laid out for the teacher. Just open and go. It is very hands on and includes a lot of great manipulatives. There is not much writing at all. Most of our work is done on a white board, with manipulatives and/or orally. It is great for my son, who is 10 and struggled with a workbook approach. I set the time for 20 minutes and it takes a lot of the stress off of him. My 7 yo dd also really likes it. It seems to teach them to think mathematically pretty well. I suppliment with challenging word problems from Singapore and flashcards.

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Thank you Lenora! I keep going to the website and reading about it. I think my youngest two kids are just a lot more hands on and less intuitive than my older three were. I think this program might be a better fit for them than what I 'm doing now.


Thanks for your input!

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I'm sorry I didn't get to respond yesterday. I was swamped.


I use Shiller and I like it very much. I should give you some caveats. I am a math person. I always like to tell people that because what I find easy to use may not be for someone very uncomfortable with math. My two oldest children also went to Montessori school from the time they were 3 until Kindergarten ( I was a working mom at the time) so I am familiar and comfortable with the Montessori approach.


That said - here are some things to know about Shiller. It has great manipulatives. It is easy to use. It expects teacher-student interaction. This is not a workbook you can just show then how to do one problem then hand to them. This doesn't bother me because I feel like math should be a taught subject rather than an independent one. As the kids get older there are problems that they do after you do the lesson and you dont' have to sit through that part but for younger kids you are there for the full lesson.


Shiller does not do one topic for an extended period of time and then move to the next topic. It builds and it does a variety of topics then revists. It has a different approach in several ways. First, you don't just do a lesson a day and be done. Some days your student will get the lesson right away and you might do several lessons. Some lessons you do over and over for several days until the student is understanding. There is a log that helps you keep track of what lessons you did what day and which ones you might want to revisit. The program revists concepts as well but I like to go back to lessons that took time to pick up the first time around. Every 30 lessons or so is a test and each problem associates with a particular lesson. If the child doesn't get that problem right, you know exactly which lesson to do again.


Here is a post from the shiller yahoo group from Larry Shiller that can help explain the philosophy. He is responding to someone who was not happy with skipping around of topics.



ShillerMath is very different from every other math program on the

market, whether it's Saxon, Math-u-see, RightStart, Miquon, Singapore,

etc. One key difference is in our philosophy, which is that each

student has his or her own potential curve and a math curriculum must

provide students with an environment that allows each of them to learn

at their own pace.


We are all familiar with the classroom where a specific topic is

covered in a specific amount of time. But that's not how humans learn,

even if that's how the school bureaucracy would like them to learn.


With ShillerMath it is not uncommon for a student to go through 15

lessons in one day and then spend four whole days on the next lesson.

The student is driving the pace, only moving on when closure has been



You wrote it was you that felt frustrated by "skipping around." But

lets focus on the student if we may. If the student feels frustrated

by "skipping around" then the student is being rushed. Take a step

back and let kids do what we were all designed to do: be great

learners. Define progress not as a certain # of lessons done in a

certain time but only how well they are performing to their potential

given their unique set of learning styles and capacities. Allowing

students to get closure is critical to math success, and sometimes

kids need more time (sometimes a lot of time!) to get closure even

when we feel they are ready to move on. That is what truly builds a

solid math foundation.


I hope this helps.



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Hi Heather,


Thanks for your input. Your caveats actually make the program sound more appealing to me! I don't mind skipping around, we seem to do that naturally around here anyway. We've have never worked through a workbook consistently until the kids hit Saxon in 7th or 8th grade.


I also teach my kids directly and don't expect a workbook to do the work. I have too many add kids. They simply CAN'T learn that way, so I've always wind up actively teaching. I always kind of envied those moms who could resort to workbooks but it has never worked here.


So I think Shiller might be it. Thanks so much for your input!

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Yeah..now even I have started looking in to it. My son is a self teacher so I have been trying to find something where he could teach himself. He has learned so much on his own from things we have around here already or just figuring things out, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Everyone has said great things and described the program pretty well. I just want to add that what I like best about the program is that it has helped my girls 'think' in terms of math. Anything in everyday life becomes a math problem or equation to solve. I do wish it had more drill sometimes but I use singapore for that.




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