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3rd Grade Math Curriculum


Mom2Blaze
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Hi!  I am new here to this forum, new to homeschooling, and feel new all the way around lol.  I have nailed down all of my son's curriculum for his 3rd grade year.  Except math.  I think because I am not so hot in math I get worried he won't excel.  Although in school he tested about half a year ahead.  He just seems like he struggles when I watch him do it.  Blaze turned 8 on Aug. 9.  He has ADHD and Autism.  (Asperger's)  He is very smart but has processing issues.  Things can take him longer to do due to his processing speed.  We decided to homeschool this year after he begged me.  He went through such bad bullying last year from two kids that it ruined his love of school.  I hate that because he really did enjoy going and playing with other kids.  I decided on My Father's World Adventures in US History, a free online spelling and language arts curriculum from k12reader, extra science requested by him is Apologia Astronomy, Handwriting Without Tears (he has dysgraphia), and Keyboarding Without Tears.  I am so stuck on the math.  I am leaning towards, Teaching Textbooks, Life Of Fred, and Singapore.  What is your experience with these programs?  Any help is truly appreciated.  We are starting the first week of September so I need to get on the ball haha.  Thank you in advance!

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I am using teaching textbooks with life of Fred as a fun supplement, and my 3rd grade girl is loving it! (She did not like math before this combination). Teaching textbooks gives just the right amount of new info and practice problems for her. Plus, she loves the encouraging little Animations When she gets a problem correct. I love that it gives a second chance before marking something wrong. Life of Fred gives very memorable and practice introductions to new concepts, teaches lots of math vocabulary, and is fun.

I don't know much about working with ld's, so I can't speak to that part of the equation.I hope you have a great first year home educating, and that the transition goes well!

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Teaching Textbooks has been well received here. My daughter also has ADHD and working memory issues so the fact that it spirals and the lessons are short and to the point is a positive for her. She found Life of Fred to be too "weird". Math Mammoth was another one we tried but it wasn't enough review and too many problems on a page for her.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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You couldn't have picked three more different programs if you tried!   TT is generally considered on the lighter side and good for kids who really struggle with math. Singapore PM is usually considered more challenging, teaches the Asian style, and is good for stronger math students. Fred is told through a story with small problem sets, and works best for nontraditional learners. Of course there will be exceptions to all three of those statements!

 

If he doesn't pick up math intuitively I'd skip LoF, no matter how fun it sounds. My ADHD kiddo could NOT learn new concepts with Fred, but it made good review after he'd learned it elsewhere.

 

TT vs Singapore really depends on your goals and individual kid.

 

Mine was most successful with Rod and Staff. It's very plain, mastery style so the whole lesson is focused on one main concept, with a little review section at the end to keep old concepts fresh. There was no fluff or gimicks. Just straight, traditional math. He did struggle and find math difficult for years, so it was often one step forward and two steps back method to get him through the books (any math book truly), but his arithmetic was rock solid when he finished those books. 

 

My younger kids who enjoy math and are naturally good at it have done fabulous with Horizons math from Alpha Omega. This one is spiral, so it has small sets of several different concepts within each lesson.

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CLE is good for giving lots of review for promoting retention of facts and concepts, even more than you'd find in Teaching Textbooks. It's a bit more advanced, too.

 

It has lots of white space for writing and that was really important for my kids with writing difficulties.

 

Con: Lessons are long. But you could cut out problems.

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CLE is good for giving lots of review for promoting retention of facts and concepts, even more than you'd find in Teaching Textbooks. It's a bit more advanced, too.

 

It has lots of white space for writing and that was really important for my kids with writing difficulties.

 

Con: Lessons are long. But you could cut out problems.

 

I agree.  I'm not against TT, but my first thought when reading the original post was CLE.

 

You can go to the Christian Light Education website and look at the samples.  It may help you with your decision (or what level to purchase if interested).  They are smaller workbooks, so it doesn't appear as overwhelming as a thick text. 

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You couldn't have picked three more different programs if you tried!   TT is generally considered on the lighter side and good for kids who really struggle with math. Singapore PM is usually considered more challenging, teaches the Asian style, and is good for stronger math students. Fred is told through a story with small problem sets, and works best for nontraditional learners. Of course there will be exceptions to all three of those statements!

 

If he doesn't pick up math intuitively I'd skip LoF, no matter how fun it sounds. My ADHD kiddo could NOT learn new concepts with Fred, but it made good review after he'd learned it elsewhere.

 

TT vs Singapore really depends on your goals and individual kid.

 

Mine was most successful with Rod and Staff. It's very plain, mastery style so the whole lesson is focused on one main concept, with a little review section at the end to keep old concepts fresh. There was no fluff or gimicks. Just straight, traditional math. He did struggle and find math difficult for years, so it was often one step forward and two steps back method to get him through the books (any math book truly), but his arithmetic was rock solid when he finished those books. 

 

My younger kids who enjoy math and are naturally good at it have done fabulous with Horizons math from Alpha Omega. This one is spiral, so it has small sets of several different concepts within each lesson.

This. My son with HFA really struggles with math and we've found R&S to be by far the easiest both for me to teach and him to learn. It's been a lifesaver for us. 

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My first thought was CLE also. DD2 has attention/aspie like issues but it still works well for her. Clear layout and spacing are God sends and the spiral review is amazing!

 

They do have a free printable placement test online since no two math programs have he same scope and sequence :).

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I think for an ASD/ADHD kiddo, you're going to want something clearly laid out, visually pleasing, and that presents the big picture instead of just going piece by piece (without the "why") or you'll get resistance. DD has ADHD and Galore Park has been the best for her. You could use either Junior Maths 1 or 2, depending on what he already knows. He may also enjoy Beast Academy, once he gets some of the basics under his belt. 

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My son is the same age with the same diagnoses :) (Well, the ADHD was never made official lol)

 

Any math program will be fine if you are at his elbow helping him through it. 

 

We use Math Mammoth. It is straightforward and if he can't handle the handwriting then I transcribe for him. I think Horizons has a clean look as well. We've done some LA and Bible through CLE and I agree that the layout is nice. Plus, it's broken into lots of booklets so there might be a nice sense of accomplishment in completing 8-10 workbooks over a year vs 1 or 2.

 

Any "hands on" suggestions that your curriculum may have (like for measuring, we measure how many "Ethans" long the room is) DO THE HANDS ON THING. 

 

I read an article by Maria Miller (author of Math Mammoth) where she quoted a study suggesting that you should start with word problems. Usually in a lesson, they are at the end - consider putting them at the beginning. I do think word problems are super important for our kids. And it might take lot of handholding. I have the Singapore Challenging Word Problems book, and we are working at it two levels lower than Math Mammoth. Perhaps that is why Life of Fred can be so hit or miss. 

 

Last, this age can be very frustrating and if your son has any anxiety about his abilities, it may manifest itself in ways that you find aggravating. I love my child and I celebrate my kids' uniqueness, but sometimes I really fail at showing them patience. My son is bright and when he struggles with simple things, there is a part of me that wants him to "just write the answer already."

 

If you feel like bopping him on the head and saying "c'mon, you KNOW this!" step away from the child and come vent to the Hive ;) Also, those days when your kid appears to not know any basic facts are good days to keep the academics light. That's probably obvious to most people but it took me some time to learn. 

 

Good luck! :)

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My suggestion isn't going to be the popular one, but we use Abeka for the 3rd grader with HFA and ODD. That's what we started with in first grade, after MM (nothing wrong with MM but I think he needed the spiral approach with more reviewing), and he just doesn't want to switch. His 1st grade ADHD brother, however, is getting ready to start Miquon once I get it ordered. He is finishing off the last several lessons of Abeka kindergarten (without the teacher manual) and we just modify things a bit. Today we worked with LEGOS, I made a little plus sign and put it in the middle. He then had set up an addition or subtraction problem. He had mostly the 2x2 square pieces but he also had a 2x4 rectangle piece. One problem he needed to have 4 pieces on one side of the plus sign. When *I* looked there were only three, two 2x2s and one 2x4. I told him that it wasn't right and then he pointed out that the 2x4 was just two of the 2x2 pieces joined together. That makes me feel better about my Miquon choice. The eight year old would NOT have put that together. 

 

ETA...when we finish up the tail end of our second grade Abeka we will likely be switching to CLE. He likes to get the lesson and get it done with very little playing. He doesn't even like the tiles on All About Spelling! (talking about the eight year old HFA and ODD child)

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My HFA girl is doing well with CLE, so that's what I thought of when I read your post. Really, if your son is anything like my daughter, I'd skip Life of Fred. She has a tricky time with language and extrapolating things so CLE's direct, spiral approach works well for her. Bonus is that it is fairly independent, even at the first grade level she is doing. Of the ones you listed, I'd probably choose TT and it is on my radar for my daughter when she gets a little older. We'll see. But yeah, Singapore will probably require more from you. CLE or TT are both fairly independent.

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Oh my gosh.  First of all, thank you all so much for the information!  So helpful for this newbie!  I had never heard of CLE so I went to look into it after reading the responses and I do believe I really like their approach.  Especially after looking through the samples they have.  The layout looks very neat and orderly and nice but not overly distracting.  Blaze tests half a year ahead in math but I see him struggle to recall his basic facts.  Plus as I was looking through the samples, not just for CLE, there are things in the 3rd grade curriculums I know he isn't ready for and things in the second grade curriculums I never saw him bring home at all.  I am shocked.  Can the public school math really be that much behind?  Blaze has receptive and expressive language delays, processing speed issues and he is very hard on himself.  If he can't so something perfectly the first time he doesn't want to do it.  The anxiety of doing something wrong can sometimes overwhelm him.  He has done a lot better since school let out and I am working on some brain quest 2nd grade worksheets here and there to help him review.  I just really think he should be able to do more than I feel he can do.  Does that even make sense?  I can't see how he tested above level.  Not meaning that in a mean way either.  i don't mind what ever level he is on as long as I know he knows what he is doing.  I don't want him to not have a complete grasp on math and just keep moving.  I feel that is what the public school was doing.  Because he had an IEP I think they "helped" too much. 

 

I believe I am going to try the CLE but start in the 2nd grade to make sure he has retained info and concepts he should have down pat.  After all, if it doesn't work then I can change it! 

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My suggestion isn't going to be the popular one, but we use Abeka for the 3rd grader with HFA and ODD. That's what we started with in first grade, after MM (nothing wrong with MM but I think he needed the spiral approach with more reviewing), and he just doesn't want to switch. His 1st grade ADHD brother, however, is getting ready to start Miquon once I get it ordered. He is finishing off the last several lessons of Abeka kindergarten (without the teacher manual) and we just modify things a bit. Today we worked with LEGOS, I made a little plus sign and put it in the middle. He then had set up an addition or subtraction problem. He had mostly the 2x2 square pieces but he also had a 2x4 rectangle piece. One problem he needed to have 4 pieces on one side of the plus sign. When *I* looked there were only three, two 2x2s and one 2x4. I told him that it wasn't right and then he pointed out that the 2x4 was just two of the 2x2 pieces joined together. That makes me feel better about my Miquon choice. The eight year old would NOT have put that together. 

 

ETA...when we finish up the tail end of our second grade Abeka we will likely be switching to CLE. He likes to get the lesson and get it done with very little playing. He doesn't even like the tiles on All About Spelling! (talking about the eight year old HFA and ODD child)

 

I'm using Singapore with my youngest, and she just wants to get it done, too. She loves it and appreciates the short lessons but I suspect at some point I'm going to move her over the CLE. None of my kids ever had any patience with manipulatives, and they like having the instruction right there in the book.

 

Having used it in the early years and having had many friends use it, my reservation with ABeka math is that many kids hit a wall halfway through third grade and if not then, in the fourth grade book. Up until then, it's rather gentle, but then it starts to introduce more complex concepts like multi-digit long division and solving equations with operations on both sides of the equal sign with rather little preparation for it. That's the point when we moved to CLE. Using CLE from the 300 level to the 800 level with one kid and the 100 and 200 level with another, I never remember seeing such big leaps. 

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Oh my gosh.  First of all, thank you all so much for the information!  So helpful for this newbie!  I had never heard of CLE so I went to look into it after reading the responses and I do believe I really like their approach.  Especially after looking through the samples they have.  The layout looks very neat and orderly and nice but not overly distracting.  Blaze tests half a year ahead in math but I see him struggle to recall his basic facts.  Plus as I was looking through the samples, not just for CLE, there are things in the 3rd grade curriculums I know he isn't ready for and things in the second grade curriculums I never saw him bring home at all.  I am shocked.  Can the public school math really be that much behind?  Blaze has receptive and expressive language delays, processing speed issues and he is very hard on himself.  If he can't so something perfectly the first time he doesn't want to do it.  The anxiety of doing something wrong can sometimes overwhelm him.  He has done a lot better since school let out and I am working on some brain quest 2nd grade worksheets here and there to help him review.  I just really think he should be able to do more than I feel he can do.  Does that even make sense?  I can't see how he tested above level.  Not meaning that in a mean way either.  i don't mind what ever level he is on as long as I know he knows what he is doing.  I don't want him to not have a complete grasp on math and just keep moving.  I feel that is what the public school was doing.  Because he had an IEP I think they "helped" too much. 

 

I believe I am going to try the CLE but start in the 2nd grade to make sure he has retained info and concepts he should have down pat.  After all, if it doesn't work then I can change it! 

 

One thing about CLE is that it is incredibly thorough in its coverage of topics, more so than other programs. It might make a student feel more behind than they actually are when they switch over to it. That can create anxiety unless you explain that to them and sit beside them for the first couple of weeks. Personally, I find a lot of the concepts are basic in the early levels and that they can be picked up by just going through the lessons every day without backing up, but you don't want a kid to face that alone. 

 

If you decide to go through the second grade level, be aware that you don't really have to do the first light unit of each level. The format is completely different from the other light units and it's meant to be used to catch weak areas and remediate after a summer break. You also don't have to do quizzes and tests as long as you are with him while he is working or checking his work everyday. So if you decide to back up, it's reasonable that he will be able to move up quickly...if that's an issue for you at all. 

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I love CLE for early math, 100-500 levels. It doesn't work for every child but worth a try, especially if he does not like to write problems down. BJU math is also very good - but much more expensive. It is colorful, while CLE is plain. BJU also seems to be a bit less advanced than CLE as you move through the program. You probably wouldn't notice that at first - CLE is very gentle and gradual.

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I bit the bullet and ordered the CLE this morning.  I did go with second grade though because I seriously haven't seen him do a lot of what was in the samples.  I guess that is the good thing about being home.  We can take it at his speed and he can review if he already knows it or pick up new skills he wasn't taught.  He is not very good at independent work so I assume I will be right there with him the majority of the time anyway so that is no big deal.  He is the only child I have so I can focus just on him if need be.  I am hoping a lot of his anxiety will dissapate and maybe using a lower level will make him feel more confident and give him the courage to try more on his own as well.  I really just want the facts and concepts to stick.  I am so thankful to all of you for your help and opinions.  It makes things so much easier to decide when I can talk to people who have kids like mine and have used different choices. 

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