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mangomegan

Best math curriculum for encouraging "thinking outside the box"?

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DS (6 y.o.) absolutely loves math. He has already finished all of the early math on Khan Academy, and we are anxious to get him started on somehting else. What I'd like to encourage with him is "thinking outside the box"--he's very detail-oriented and rigid.

 

He's probably at around second grade math level.

 

Right Start math?

 

Open to any and all suggestions :)

 

Thanks!

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So, not a curriculum, but I've been supplementing RightStart with Highlights MathMania and a variety of living math books. If Khan is working for you and you would like to keep it, then there are lots of options for outside the box math without changing your entire approach. In addition to MathMania and living books, there are Math Kangaroo practice problems, Zaccaro's Primary Grades Challenge Math, and other options I'm not remembering at the moment.

 

While I really like RightStart and I find their approach to math to be different than what is typically taught, I do not think they are out of the box. RightStart is straightforward math taught differently.

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I think CSMP, MEP, or Miquon could all work really well for pre-Beast. I'd probably look through CSMP and MEP first because they're free.

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What do CSMP and MEP stand for?  I have a similar situation with my 7 year old.  He's learned almost all his math facts already - most without any help!  He's always asking me math questions throughout the day - I need to keep him challenged.

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He's probably ready for Hands-On Equations and Zacarro's Primary Challenge Math.  You might also go another direction and do stem and building math.  He could do some of the middle grade K'nex science kits (like I'm using with my ds) and explore the math, even just conceptually.   So, for instance last week we were using the gears kit and built a crank fan and explored the difference the size of the gears made, the number of teeth, compared the ratios of the speeds (crank: fan), etc.  The cds in the kit will take it farther, with the equations and exploration questions.

 

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Definitely Miquon, although it could be frustrating for a child w/ a rigid-thinking personality.  (It is for mine...but we still use it.  His conceptual understanding is amazing.) 

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I agree with Jackie, RightStart is straightforward taught differently.  Although, if you think that out of the box is something taught different than the traditional algorithms/textbook approach, then RS would be out of the box.  And, it really teaches the 'why' behind the concepts.

 

The author of RS has degrees in both engineering and mathematics education, with a focus on Montessori.  It would then follow that her curriculum would be from that perspective.

 

While completing all levels of RS, we supplement with Beast Academy once the kids were either finished or were mostly through RS level C, with plans to move into AoPS as soon as oldest is done with level G.

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Miquon. Trust it, use it, don't give up on it. My so loved it so much and I truly wish I had stuck with that this was a long time ago but it's still awesome

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Miquon. Trust it, use it, don't give up on it. My so loved it so much and I truly wish I had stuck with that this was a long time ago but it's still awesome

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Agree with MEP and Miquon!!!

 

DD called MEP Puzzle Math.  It was great fun and she still uses it to supplement AoPS.  

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Since your DS is just 6yo, I'll chime in with another vote for Miquon. It is discovery-based which totally helps lead towards making math connections and "outside the box" thinking. It is set up as 6 workbooks, each with workbook pages of increasing difficulty on a range of math topics. That way, you can use it as a mastery-based program (pick a math topic and follow it from workbook to workbook), or spiral-based (start with the first workbook and work through the different topics, then move to the next workbook, which "spirals" back to those topics and takes them further).

 

My biggest suggest would be for all of your elementary grades and for as long as you manage it:

Use two math programs, each coming at the math topics from very different points of view. It's one of the best ways to encourage math thinking, making math connections, and thinking outside the box, because it helps the student see there is more than one way to get to the answer, or more than one way to see how the concept works, or fits in with other concepts.

 

Also, starting about 3rd grade these programs emphasize problem-solving, which provides lots of opportunities for thinking outside the box:

- Beast Academy

- Singapore

- Math Mammoth

- Life of Fred

 

 

 

If you opt to do two math programs, here are some of the "big names" broken into very general categories, to help select two from different categories:

 

traditional

- Saxon

- Teaching Textbooks

- Horizons

- Rod and Staff

- Khan Academy

 

Asian-based

- Miquon (which is also discovery-based)

- Singapore

- Math Mammoth

 

Other

- Math-U-See (visual/hands-on "big picture" explanations of concepts through teaching videos and rods)

- Life of Fred (math uses and problem solving in real-life stories -- can give purpose to math for non-mathy students)

- Right Start (use of abacus and games) 

 

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Quick miquon question - for someone looking to use it as a supplement should I start with the first book or more advanced?

 

DS didn't really like cuisinaire rods as a manipulative but with such rave reviews I may give it a fair shake to our routine.

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I didn't see it listed so I will throw it out there, Shiller Math has taught me how to think outside the box a bit. It is organized in a way that seems very logical to me. It is also very heavy on internalizing math and not just rote memorization. I am probably not explaining it well but it is a great program and one that is under mentioned/valued if you ask me.  I am not sure where your son would fall with it, but there are free placement tests online that you can give him. 

 

ETA It also builds on what your child already knows and doesn't make him repeat it. If your child has already mastered a topic but is weak in another, you don't have to do it to get through the book. It is very, "do what your child needs" type of program. 

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For those of you mentioning Miquon, do you have any websites/videos to recommend?

 

I remember buying the orange book, the first grade diary, and I'm not sure what else...and I never really figured it out.

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For those of you mentioning Miquon, do you have any websites/videos to recommend?

 

I remember buying the orange book, the first grade diary, and I'm not sure what else...and I never really figured it out.

 

The Education Unboxed videos by Rosie might be helpful to watch with your student, to see how to discover concepts with the rods. And the Liping Ma's book, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, might be helpful in explaining not only the philosophy that undergirds Miquon, but give you a great foundation for teaching math to your DC.

 

I also think that there are some "mysterious" pages in the first part of the Orange workbook, but after that, the "how do you do this" is much more clear, and once you use Miquon for a few months, the way of thinking starts "clicking" for you. At least, that was my experience. ;)

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For those of you mentioning Miquon, do you have any websites/videos to recommend?

 

I remember buying the orange book, the first grade diary, and I'm not sure what else...and I never really figured it out.

If you still need help, the gattegno books use a similar method with more handholding. Just search for threads on here (sorry, I'm on my phone or I'd do it for you) for a link to his first book in its entirety.

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