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annamlane

Piecing Together Math Curriculum Using Multiple Resources

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I just finished my first year of homeschooling.  I have a son, who will be in first grade this fall, and I also teach math to my nephew, who will be in fourth grade.  I used mostly MEP with both kids, and my kindergartner did Miquon orange some too.  I also used the Right Start games and a few of the abacus activities and used some Math Mammoth toward the end of the year with my nephew.  MEP was our consistent, almost every day curriculum though.

 

When I taught in public and private schools, I never used one curriculum exclusively and almost always pieced things together and made up my own things.  I am thinking about piecing together their math curriculum this year, using a combination of all of the above for several reasons.  

 

I love MEP for so many reasons, but there are so many lessons that I feel like we will never finish unless we do one a day.  My nephew really struggles with math, and it takes us forever to go through one MEP lesson.  I would really like to shorten his math to 30-45 minutes a day because after that, it really becomes pointless with him.  I would just pick and choose from MEP and skip things, but I feel like there is a reason for every single activity in MEP and that he will struggle with something later if we skip around too much.  Also, since I also have a 4 year old and 2 year old, MEP was just becoming too teacher intensive.  I was doing MEP 1 with my kindergartner, and that wasn't taking so much time, but I was working on MEP 2 with my third grade nephew, which was taking way too long.

 

My son, who will be in first grade this year, really picks up on math quickly.  I want to keep him enjoying math, and doing the same type of thing everyday is not going to achieve this for him.   He and I both need variety!  And he would be fine with only about 20 minutes of math a day.

 

So this is what I am thinking about doing.  I would like to make a list of what I want to accomplish with them in math for the year.  Then, every week, I will decide what we will focus on that week and just use whatever resources I think will accomplish that best.  For my nephew, I will probably use Math Mammoth as a spine and use some of the Right Start abacus activities (we have the abacus activities book) to introduce some of the concepts.  Then, I will add in maybe one MEP sheet a week because I love the problem solving required in those.  I will also use the Right Start games. I think this will be good for him because he struggles in math, and I need to be able to skip around because a curriculum that is below his grade level will contain some things that he already knows.

 

 For my son, the first grader, I will probably not use any particular spine but just a list of what I want him to accomplish, and use a mix of all of the resources I have.  I will let him choose pages from Miquon to work on and follow his interests with that.  I have also ordered Primary Grades Challenge Math to use with him some.

 

Does anyone else do something similar to this?   I am just starting to feel like once I start using a curriculum exclusively, for me it becomes more about finishing the curriculum than what I really want them to accomplish.  I know this will be more work, but I think it will help to use Math Mammoth as a spine for my nephew.  

 

Any thoughts, opinions, or experiences with this are welcome!

 

Thanks,

Anna-Maria

 

 

 

 

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Absolutely!

 

I hardly ever use just one math book. My 5th grader will do Saxon as the main spine, but he also is working with Key To books and a Scholastic math logic book Logic Posters. He also has some fractions/decimals/percents foldable games that he plays. I also want to introduce some Hands On Equations near the end of the year. And I'm still looking for some good consumer math book supplement. We also read from the LivingMath.net booklists.

 

My 1st grader is doing Miquon, some MEP, RightStart card games, extra math games from a Scholastic book and self paced work through Mathematics in Action (a public school text that was gifted me). 

 

I also like variety and having them do math in different formats. 

 

As long as they are doing math daily and there is a consistent and logical progression forward, I say piece it and supplement it all you want. 

 

I understand about MEP being a bit teacher intensive. I'm sure I could utilize that free resource and make it work for us, but I just don't like the website navigation and printing involved. Much easier to just buy a book. 

 

I do however feel more comfortable when my kids finish whatever math book they've started. It's easy to miss something and I trust that the book publishers have a better idea than me. But if you're comfortable knowing when enough is enough and it's done, that's great! 

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I do something very similar in an totally anal and overorganized way!! I use MM as a spine, and I put each lesson into a spreadsheet.  Then I add columns for each of the other resources I use (or types of resources) and add relevant material from them, linked to the spine.  So I have this 120+ row, 5+ column worksheet for math with all the resources linked topically.  So then to create daily lesson plans, I'll copy 1 MM chapter's worth - all the columns that go to it - into a new sheet, and then organize and consolidate it logically.  I go through the MM book, decide what we'll skip and what we'll do orally, and print out the relevant worksheets.  I look at the other resources we'll use, and decide where in the sequence they fit, paying attention to days of the week and what can be independent and what I need to teach (she works independently on Fri while I work).  She gets a simplified 3-column printout, with "main lesson" (which involves some teaching/discussion, then indie work), "independent math" (stuff she can do on her own) and "problem solving" (stuff she needs to try on her own, but which we'll work on together if she gets stuck).

 

So I have an overall idea of what I'll use when all year, but a detailed plan for the next 2-3 weeks.  It works out pretty well.  Of course it gets adjusted based on what actually gets done in a day, but . . . it gives us a lot of variety and makes sure I actually use (or consciously decide not to) all the resources that I planned to!

 

RIght now, here are the things included:  MM6, LOF Pre-Algebra w/ Biology, HOE (the verbal problem book), Zaccaro Challenge Math & Real World Algebra, Math for Real Kids, and Kiss My Math & Math Doesn't Suck.  Later in the year, when we get to geometry & probability, we will add in AoPS PreA & Alcumus, because I prefer how it covers those topics.  We'll be done with MM & LOF at that point, but will probably continue with the other resources.

 

Anyway, this is something that works for me.  Having the spine makes me feel confident that we aren't skipping anything, but having all the other resources makes sure I'm covering it at an appropriate level of challenge, including a lot of variety & problem solving, and keeping it interesting.  

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:svengo:

 

How long does that take?

 

Or is it a situation where once you get started it goes quickly? 

 

I'm not answering after Rose. She's a tough act to follow. ;)

 

ETA: In all seriousness, I'm in the planning stages right now, so I'm reading the thread for ideas. :)

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:svengo:

 

How long does that take?

 

Or is it a situation where once you get started it goes quickly? 

 

I'm not answering after Rose. She's a tough act to follow. ;)

 

:lol:  but, but, we've already established that I'm a geek!   I don't get out much.

 

It took awhile (ok, hours)  to set up the spreadsheet initially, but it only takes maybe half an hour every 2-4 weeks to keep it running.  

 

You better not turn me into a thread killer!!!  :toetap05:   Answer, already, or I'll delete mine!!  :smilielol5:

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:smilielol5: 

 

 

For math we're using a spine that's a great fit, so we just supplement as needed. See? No real help from me. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm glad the thread was started because I'm hoping to get ideas to maybe use for other subjects.

 

Peer pressure....gotta love it. ;)

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Sorry for the slight derail, OP.

 

I'm not familiar with all the resources you've mentioned, but we used a big mix when my dd was younger. I have no regrets.

 

It sounds like you're off to a solid start.

 

You've been given some great ideas, hopefully those and the ones that follow will shed some light on the path.

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I have the same issues with MEP so I'm really interested in what you and others do. I wish there was a 3 lessons/week plan, then I could add in Practical Arithmetic, Zaccaro and other cool living math stuff.

 

OP, you might search here for math journals. There are some good ideas about taking from various sources.

 

ETA: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/319059-do-you-use-a-math-journal/

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This year I have used Horizons 1 (we do not do all the problems in it), Singapore 1b and 2a, and MEP 1 and I have patched it together from those as well as a number of other resources including computer games, living maths books, other workbooks and even school textbooks that I get my hands on. I like to have a spine that I can fall back on and to make sure I have not left any gaps, but I also need to use different things for variety.

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I love your idea. I think it can work just fine as long as you stay organized and on top of things. I'm a former teacher also. I totally understand what you are saying.

 

I used MEP for this past year as our main curriculum. I really love MEP. It is a good fit for me. However, as I add in a third child it is getting to be too much for me. I also found that we didn't really have enough basic operation/fact practice with MEP. It looks like it should be enough but for my guys it was not. So this year I'm going to go an opposite way and use a more traditional arithmetic curriculum for each child and add in MEP.

 

I love Rose's spread sheet idea. It actually made me laugh out loud though because I SO identify with being hyper organized.

 

If I did a spread sheet, I would do it with my math objectives or topics for the year and then list out my resources. However, instead I'm going to go with my dual program of one main spine of traditional (less teacher intensive) arithmetic and a secondary math program.

 

I think your plan sounds great!

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Well, previously I was a one program kind of gal, however that changed last year w/ the release of BA. I used BA as our main spine for awhile, then RS for awhile again. Now, this year I'm using RS as our spine but throwing in bits of HoE and BA as we have time and it fits. However, I'm not nearly as organized as Rose either! It is pretty laid back here. We started in on division in RS then I broke out BA to do division with it. I went back and forth for awhile now we're working on some new lessons in RS but still doing a bit of long division w/ BA, about 1 problem a day. I need to read through RSE to see what is coming up to coordinate w/ BA a bit better. I think I will likely have us do some BA for a second time depending on the topic progression. I am however trying to limit us to 1 hr of math a day so that kind of puts a damper on doing quite as much as I like.

 

 

Now, with dd I was all over the map. I was using and liking MEP but I did not care for its presentation of quantities greater than 10 and I wasn't happy about all the lessons either. Now w/ RSB I'm happy that there aren't so many lessons so we have plenty of time this year even if we hit some walls or we want to explore other programs a bit. I'm planning to mostly stick w/ RS for her though.

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Thanks so much for the replies, everyone.  They were really helpful.  I think I will go ahead and try it.  I might try the math journal too.  I really like that idea!

 

Anna-Maria

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I have the same issues with MEP so I'm really interested in what you and others do. I wish there was a 3 lessons/week plan, then I could add in Practical Arithmetic, Zaccaro and other cool living math stuff.

 

OP, you might search here for math journals. There are some good ideas about taking from various sources.

 

ETA: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/319059-do-you-use-a-math-journal/

Thank you! The math journal idea is definitely one I want to think about some more.

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We've used lots of programs, but I can't imagine being so organized about it.  I just let the programs do their thing and since I have these goals, I feel free to skip sections knowing we already covered it or will cover it in a different way with a different program.  One of my ds has been all over the map.  We're doing Beast Academy now as the main program, but there's Primary Challenge Math, some bits of Right Start, Hands on Equations, some C-rods books for upper elementary, some review packets I put together, and the Key to Math books...  Eeek.  When I spell it out like that it sounds crazy, but we're really very relaxed about it.  I have just found that this particular kid, who suffers from anxiety, does so much better when we jump around with math a little bit. 

 

For my other ds, he uses MM.  That's it.  Just MM.  That's easy at least.

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