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Debating on Homeschooling and Question about Changes in Math Over the Years

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HI All. I am new here but I lurk from time to time. I have an almost 3 year old and my husband and i are starting to research homeschool vs charter vs public vs private schools in Texas. Over the years we have heard about a ton of changes to math and how it was taught when we were in school. 

 

I am concerned because I hear that "K" is the new 1st grade and i think our greatest concern is math. I was good at math in school but for some reason it scares me to teach it. What's funny is i am not scared of possibly teaching him to read but our world is so math oriented know that i want to make sure he gets a good foundation. Right now my almost 3 year old is just learning to count and know his shapes and colors. We are also using Memoria Press's Simply Classical A very loosly because it its perfect for him, helps us build a library for him, and gives us great books to read. He LOVES for me to read to him. He loves our book time and that is working great. We also play play and play. He is a very energetic and curious toddler with hearing loss and speech delays and we have been told in no uncertain terms that a energetic toddler that could turn into an energetic k'er is not always a good "fit" for public school. We are also getting ready to switch to our local school district for services so that is also prompting some of this research. 

 

So that is a little background.

 

Anyways, one of the private schools uses Saxon (I think in K they said they would use grade 1 of Saxon), another one uses Abeka, the charter school uses Math in Focus, and the public schools use Pearson Envision Texas 2.0. And i think if we homeschool we would have our choice since it appears that Texas is very open homeschooling and does not have many requirements. I was doing some reading a d found out that Texas switched to new TEKS standards and when we started looking at them even though TEKS is not common core it is pretty close and might as well be common core but that common core is illegal in Texas. We found a 1st grade math in focus student book on amazon used for 6.00 so i purchased it and realized that the way it is taught is NOTHING like i learned in school. Is MIF common core? What exactly is common core and just because it has a bad rap does it mean its actually bad? I was amazed at what the kids learn in K these days and it seems to be a lot. If we did homeschool, being that i am not familiar with it at all would i even be able to teach it and is math with memorization of facts even still a thing? I realize we have a few years to figure this out but some of the schools we were looking at has long waiting lists so we are starting our research now. Would any of those programs lay a good foundation? My brother is in high school currently and was not given a great foundation in public elementary and as a result is struggling. Also, i realize that even the word common core can cause a debate and i am not wanting to start one. I just want to learn and find out what it actually is. TIA. Sorry this is so long and sorry for all the questions!  

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Hi, welcome! I'm not in the US so my understanding of Common Core is sketchy, but the impression I have is that the actual Common Core standards for math are actually quite good. The problem comes in the implementation.

 

If you get a good curriculum, or a good teacher, there's no problem.

 

Another curriculum you might consider if you homeschool is RightStart Math.

 

Is memorising still a thing? Yes. But there is now the idea that having a strong conceptual understanding is important. And once you have that, memorising allows you to get quicker. So you build the understanding first, and then memorise after.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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Hi, welcome! I'm not in the US so my understanding of Common Core is sketchy, but the impression I have is that the actual Common Core standards for math are actually quite good. The problem comes in the implementation.

 

If you get a good curriculum, or a good teacher, there's no problem.

 

Another curriculum you might consider if you homeschool is RightStart Math.

 

Is memorising still a thing? Yes. But there is now the idea that having a strong conceptual understanding is important. And once you have that, memorising allows you to get quicker. So you build the understanding first, and then memorise after.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Thank you so much for replying. So if it depends on the implementation and teacher then all the more reason to homeschool. :) 

 

I see you use RightStart and I will research it. What do you like about it? I have not looked at that one. 

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Well, the author has a background in Montessori, and incorporates some of that philosophy and tools. It also incorporates some of the Asian philosophies of math education that have made programs like Singapore math so popular.

 

It uses a number of manipulatives which unfortunately means it's not cheap. But it works very well for many children, it's low on writing, and it does the drill through games, so that children tend to enjoy the practice.

 

It's also quite scripted, which if you're feeling nervous about teaching math can be reassuring.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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Welcome!

 

Just going to throw in there that Language Arts and Literature are my strong suits, and I am competent (but NOT a whiz) at math up through Pre-Algebra, was able to do Algebra 1 and Geometry pretty well by closely following along with DSs, but I did need some help after that. Interestingly, what helped me most and gave me confidence in teaching math at the beginning of our homeschool journey (started in grades 1 & 2), was that one DS had some learning issues with math, and I learned a TON about how math works by having to try out numerous math programs trying to find what best fit for this DS. Especially helpful for me in the early elementary years were Miquon Math and Singapore Primary. Math-U-See was very helpful for visualizing math concepts and making them concrete for our math struggler, and the weekly math video lessons were great for ALL of us, and we all made some great math connections and understanding of foundations through those videos. Math Mammoth and Right Start look like they would also have been helpful, but neither was out at the time DSs were in early elementary grades.

 

And, if that is not workable or feasible for you, lots of math programs are scripted, have video lessons, or can even be outsourced from an early age. There are oodles of free online video tutorials on math topics of every kind.

 

JMO: it's not so much that Common Core is good or bad (it's just the most recent set of national standards) -- it's really all about the quality of teachers in ALL the subject areas at the school your student attends, and if the school understands how to support their teachers in implementing Common Core standards, or if the school is really it is making a hash of implementation which in turn completely wrecks their teachers' classroom abilities, and forces the focus entirely on box-checking and test-prep / test-taking.

 

BEST of luck as you think through all your options! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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The Common Core standards for K math are here: http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/K/introduction/

 

There are many different paths to get there, and you could very likely do so teaching the exact same way you learned math. My husband is from India and learned math the "Asian" way, and it's actually pretty intuitive. Correct me if I'm wrong, fellow homeschoolers who teach this way, but I think some of the confusion surrounding this way of teaching math comes from parents of public school kids who aren't actually seeing anything except homework-- they don't read the teacher's guides or learn the methodology along with their kids, which is a benefit of homeschooling! Learning to think about numbers in new ways can be really fun, especially if you already love math.

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My daughter uses Saxon at home, used Montessori number work in prek-k, Envision starting in K, plus Life of Fred and probably some other things I've forgotten. Ironically of those that you mentioned, Math in Focus is my favorite. Envision has a similar approach but just isn't as well done imo... but I didn't want to do MIF at home if she did Envision in public school.

 

Others may have a different take on this, but in our local public K, math was incredibly low-key... they did Envision K. It was the WRITING (the crazy amounts of output for kids, some of whom who could barely read!) that really stuck out to me.

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Well, obviously I think you should homeschool! And to prepare you, perhaps you should consider taking the brand new course through WTM Academy this fall by Kate Snow, entitled Math That Makes Sense. Here's a link:

http://www.wtmacademy.com/courses-for-adults/

 

Kate is a wonderful math educator, turned homeschool mom and author. I learned a lot through her mini-course Addition Facts that Stick. If I weren't on my last child (and pretty much an elementary math guru myself after homeschooling 4 kids!), I'd take the course in a heartbeat. In fact, I sincerely wish something like this were available back in 2003 when I needed it as my first was entering kindergarten.

 

As to Common Core vs. not-CC: it is a political hot-button issue that has very little to do with how well-taught math is in any individual classroom. There are much bigger, more important issues to consider. Yes, memorizing facts is a 'thing', but as you'll see if you take Kate's class, you don't need to drill flash cards if your child understands the concepts and can easily derive the facts. Developing a strong number sense and rock-solid understanding of place value is at least as important, if not more so than knowing facts.

 

Some great elementary math programs that work well in a homeschool setting are Right Start, Singapore, and Math Mammoth. Kate's class will be using Singapore, but that doesn't mean you have to stick with that program after taking the class. The foundational skills will be applicable to math teaching in general. Here's her website: http://kateshomeschoolmath.com. I know I sound like a commercial for her, but I'm just a random home educating parent who happens to find her math wisdom both enlightening and reassuring.

 

Welcome to the WTM forums and good luck with your decision!

Edited by fourisenough
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Well, the author has a background in Montessori, and incorporates some of that philosophy and tools. It also incorporates some of the Asian philosophies of math education that have made programs like Singapore math so popular.

 

It uses a number of manipulatives which unfortunately means it's not cheap. But it works very well for many children, it's low on writing, and it does the drill through games, so that children tend to enjoy the practice.

 

It's also quite scripted, which if you're feeling nervous about teaching math can be reassuring.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

 

Scripted may be the way to go at first until I get use to it and it sounds nice that it uses tons of manipulatives. That may help my wiggly child.

 

Welcome!

 

Just going to throw in there that Language Arts and Literature are my strong suits, and I am competent (but NOT a whiz) at math up through Pre-Algebra, was able to do Algebra 1 and Geometry pretty well by closely following along with DSs, but I did need some help after that. Interestingly, what helped me most and gave me confidence in teaching math at the beginning of our homeschool journey (started in grades 1 & 2), was that one DS had some learning issues with math, and I learned a TON about how math works by having to try out numerous math programs trying to find what best fit for this DS. Especially helpful for me in the early elementary years were Miquon Math and Singapore Primary. Math-U-See was very helpful for visualizing math concepts and making them concrete for our math struggler, and the weekly math video lessons were great for ALL of us, and we all made some great math connections and understanding of foundations through those videos. Math Mammoth and Right Start look like they would also have been helpful, but neither was out at the time DSs were in early elementary grades.

 

And, if that is not workable or feasible for you, lots of math programs are scripted, have video lessons, or can even be outsourced from an early age. There are oodles of free online video tutorials on math topics of every kind.

 

JMO: it's not so much that Common Core is good or bad (it's just the most recent set of national standards) -- it's really all about the quality of teachers in ALL the subject areas at the school your student attends, and if the school understands how to support their teachers in implementing Common Core standards, or if the school is really it is making a hash of implementation which in turn completely wrecks their teachers' classroom abilities, and forces the focus entirely on box-checking and test-prep / test-taking.

 

BEST of luck as you think through all your options! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

That makes since about the district. I am slowly learning more about my school district and it seems like a mixed bag. Every one is loving the classical charters that are popping up but since they are really good schools they are starting to get huge wait lists and its now a lottery. Thank you for the ideas! Everyone is so helpful!!

 

My daughter uses Saxon at home, used Montessori number work in prek-k, Envision starting in K, plus Life of Fred and probably some other things I've forgotten. Ironically of those that you mentioned, Math in Focus is my favorite. Envision has a similar approach but just isn't as well done imo... but I didn't want to do MIF at home if she did Envision in public school.

 

Others may have a different take on this, but in our local public K, math was incredibly low-key... they did Envision K. It was the WRITING (the crazy amounts of output for kids, some of whom who could barely read!) that really stuck out to me.

 

The writing is a concern that is a great point. I didn't realize that kids were expected to write so much in K. I never did. In fact i was looking at my husbands report card from K, (My MIL kept it) and it has things like learning letters and writing letters and learning to share. Nothing about sentences but i was reading the district website and they are expected to read and write sentences. I am amazed. 

 

Well, obviously I think you should homeschool! And to prepare you, perhaps you should consider taking the brand new course through WTM Academy this fall by Kate Snow, entitled Math That Makes Sense. Here's a link:

http://www.wtmacademy.com/courses-for-adults/

 

Kate is a wonderful math educator, turned homeschool mom and author. I learned a lot through her mini-course Addition Facts that Stick. If I weren't on my last child (and pretty much an elementary math guru myself after homeschooling 4 kids!), I'd take the course in a heartbeat. In fact, I sincerely wish something like this were available back in 2003 when I needed it as my first was entering kindergarten.

 

As to Common Core vs. not-CC: it is a political hot-button issue that has very little to do with how well-taught math is in any individual classroom. There are much bigger, more important issues to consider. Yes, memorizing facts is a 'thing', but as you'll see if you take Kate's class, you don't need to drill flash cards if your child understands the concepts and can easily derive the facts. Developing a strong number sense and rock-solid understanding of place value is at least as important, if not more so than knowing facts.

 

Some great elementary math programs that work well in a homeschool setting are Right Start, Singapore, and Math Mammoth. Kate's class will be using Singapore, but that doesn't mean you have to stick with that program after taking the class. The foundational skills will be applicable to math teaching in general. Here's her website: http://kateshomeschoolmath.com. I know I sound like a commercial for her, but I'm just a random home educating parent who happens to find her math wisdom both enlightening and reassuring.

 

Welcome to the WTM forums and good luck with your decision!

 

Thank you for this! This is a great idea and may go a long way to making me a little more comfortable. I will look it up. Doesn't she have a book about preschool math too? I thought i saw it. 

 

Thank you all for the ideas. It gives me more to research but its good to know there are a lot of options and help out there! 

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The Common Core standards for K math are here: http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/K/introduction/

 

There are many different paths to get there, and you could very likely do so teaching the exact same way you learned math. My husband is from India and learned math the "Asian" way, and it's actually pretty intuitive. Correct me if I'm wrong, fellow homeschoolers who teach this way, but I think some of the confusion surrounding this way of teaching math comes from parents of public school kids who aren't actually seeing anything except homework-- they don't read the teacher's guides or learn the methodology along with their kids, which is a benefit of homeschooling! Learning to think about numbers in new ways can be really fun, especially if you already love math.

 

It's funny that you mention this. I was talking to my husband and i asked him how i was suppose to help our son with math homework when i don't even understand the way they are teaching. And he said, well we would have to figure it out! This is an excellent point. Thank you for this! I am going to look in to the math course that the other poster mentioned. I think it will help greatly and clarify things for me. Just because its different doesn't make it wrong. Its just unknown to me. :) 

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Common Core is neither amazing or evil. It's a set of basic standards for states to follow. The math is pretty closely aligned to what I remember in school (way back in the early 80's) though the language arts is seriously ramped up compared to my memory. Maybe that's because I was always more mathy?

 

I agree with looking at RightStart. It feels like the best of Common Core worlds - it's the way they've tought since they started in the 1990's, with some topics moved around from year to year to fit the requirements. We used levels A-C, and it worked with my very active, impatient kid (with some modification for her to cut out review she didn't need). RightStart is a blend of Asian math and Montessori and it is great. In general, the difference is that the traditional American math is about procedures (getting the right answers) and the traditional Asian math is about concepts (how and why to get to the correct answers). How and why take you a lot further.

 

You say that your child loves for you to read to him. If math is something you want to ease into, I highly suggest the MathStart books by Stuart J Murphy. Also look for great, user friendly math books at your library. If the use the Dewey Decimal system, they should be in the juvenile nonfiction section at call number 510.

 

Specific to one of your questions, yes, fact memorization is still a thing.

 

And to wrap up: if you homeschool because there's no other adequate option, you're not alone. My reasons are different, but there's no adequate option here. Homeschooling is a necessity. There are a lot of people for whom that is the case.

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Common Core is neither amazing or evil. It's a set of basic standards for states to follow. The math is pretty closely aligned to what I remember in school (way back in the early 80's) though the language arts is seriously ramped up compared to my memory. Maybe that's because I was always more mathy?

 

I agree with looking at RightStart. It feels like the best of Common Core worlds - it's the way they've tought since they started in the 1990's, with some topics moved around from year to year to fit the requirements. We used levels A-C, and it worked with my very active, impatient kid (with some modification for her to cut out review she didn't need). RightStart is a blend of Asian math and Montessori and it is great. In general, the difference is that the traditional American math is about procedures (getting the right answers) and the traditional Asian math is about concepts (how and why to get to the correct answers). How and why take you a lot further.

 

You say that your child loves for you to read to him. If math is something you want to ease into, I highly suggest the MathStart books by Stuart J Murphy. Also look for great, user friendly math books at your library. If the use the Dewey Decimal system, they should be in the juvenile nonfiction section at call number 510.

 

Specific to one of your questions, yes, fact memorization is still a thing.

 

And to wrap up: if you homeschool because there's no other adequate option, you're not alone. My reasons are different, but there's no adequate option here. Homeschooling is a necessity. There are a lot of people for whom that is the case.

 

I loved the Dewey Decimal System in school! I will have to take a look at my local library and look for the books. Thank you for the suggestion. 

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On a side note, if you want some really fun conceptual math ideas, look at the videos at Education Unboxed. They are free, and they pair well with a variety of conceptual math programs. 

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It is more about when you went to school. In the 90's and 2000 decade, the academics in Texas were a good 1-2 years behind the rest of the country. A person in public school would have to take both algebra one and two to get what the older people used to get in algebra alone. I think they watered it down when everyone started being required to do algebra two. Since not everyone is STEM focused, and everyone has to take algebra 2 to graduate high school, they watered down math to make it easier.

 

In other words, I would not worry about "new" standards. They are nothing more than the old standards.

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Common core is not a curriculum. It is simply a list of math concepts that should be taught by grade x.

 

In grade 1, the kids learn X

In grade 2, the kids learn Y

Etc.

 

The reason people don't like common core is that they don't like some of the curriculae that schools use to teach X and Y. Common core isn't really "illegal" anywhere. It's just a list. That's all. A list.

 

There are a lot of curriculums that will say, "Aligned with common core." That just means that in grade 1, they teach X, and in grade 2, they teach Y, etc, following the same path that common core outlines.

 

You mentioned by name all the curriculum that is being taught at your local private and public schools. I wasn't clear from your post, but it sounded like you thought those were your only choices.

 

Those are not your only choices.

 

There are dozens and dozens of math curriculae out there. Some of them are geared for classrooms (most Pearson stuff is.). Some of them are geared for homeschoolers--where there will be only one student in that grade.

 

Some people on this thread have tossed out a few names for different math curric, but be aware there are many, many (many!) choices. Settling on a math curric is a lot of work and takes research and a great many of us have to take a leap of faith and buy a curric, only to begin teaching it and realize it's a bad fit. You can't know until you start because you can't really know your child's learning style until you begin teaching him.

 

The search feature on this website is tricky to use. I've never been successful with it. But you can try googling welltrainedmind math and see what comes up.

 

Or you can start a new thread with a title, "Please tell me what math curric is out there for 1st grade". Or "What math curric did you use for first grade and why?" And people will chime in with what they use.

 

Once you see what other people use, you can start researching each program and search for threads for those currics and get reviews.

 

 

You are at an exciting time! Have fun researching. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but take it in stride and know you'll figure it out. And if you buy the wrong thing, your son will probably cry so you'll know it's not working, and you can then buy something else.

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Hello and welcome!

 

As a fellow Texan, our state is a great state to homeschool in, so it's awesome that you're considering it.

 

My husband and I started researching schooling options about 5 years ago, same as you...public, private, or homeschool. (We never thought about charter schools but I don't remember them being too popular at the time.) Public school was off the table immediately. We didn't want our children in huge classes and no say-so in what they were learning. While we are fortunate enough for me not to have to work, private schools are just so expensive! That left us with one option, and I'm so glad we chose homeschooling. My oldest is going into 3rd grade and the thought of knowing she won't have to spend an entire year preparing for a standardized test is comforting.

 

Because I had no idea what to do, I started off with an all-in-one boxed curriculum (Calvert). Everything was planned out and sent to me which made it easy to start. After doing Calvert for 4 years, I finally decided to branch out and totally change everything we were doing. The WTM forums have been a HUGE help in my selection process, so you have come to the right place for advice.

 

The math Calvert uses is Math in Focus (it is Common Core aligned), which I used for 1st and 2nd grades. I liked it a lot, but it was different than how I learned math growing up. I have a degree in mathematics, so teaching it isn't scary to me. The teacher's manuals lay everything out for you which is very helpful. MIF was expensive for what you get (over $250 per year), and because of that I'm switching to Math Mammoth for my 1st and 3rd graders. I'm hoping the transition will be easy since they are similar styles. (FYI...There is no Math Mammoth for K.) There are so many options out there, so you're bound to find something you like and feel comfortable teaching.

 

I'm sort of neutral on Common Core. I don't consider it when choosing curriculums, but it's nice to have a baseline of where my child should be compared to other children the same age. However, it's not the be-all-end-all. If they struggle with something, we slow down. If they're really getting it, we can speed up. That is the beauty of homeschooling...you can totally cater to your child's interests and needs.

 

Good luck and have fun!!

Edited by Vintage81

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I have a different take on Common Core than many of the previous posters.  As background, my eldest is a rising 3rd grader.  I started researching homeschool options from the time the child was 3 1/2, and learned so much about phonics from Donpotter.net.  Then it was time to decide on math. I was a public-school teacher by trade.  I have experience with Saxon, Everyday Mathematics, and Pearson.  I was drawn in by claims by RightStart Math.  I loved the idea of the Asian way of naming numbers.  I knew children I had taught didn't really grasp place value, didn't know their math facts well, and didn't understand fractions, decimals, and percentages.  However, it is easy in elementary to get tunnel vision and say concepts matter more than learning the facts.  I liked teaching Saxon 5/4, but I thought the K-3 options were too fussy.  I didn't like Earlybird Kindergarten math that I tried.  About this time RightStart published their 2nd edition, which aligned with Common Core.  I wore the poor lady out at Rainbow Resource! People were grabbing up all the first editions they could, and I didn't know which to buy.  She read through level A Table of Contents with me and basically the main differences at that level were minimal.  CC-aligned added a few things in that were not there previously.  So, I chose 2nd edition. 

     If I had one child, it probably would have worked.  We would have played those games "for fun."  It didn't happen, however.  I was trying to keep my head above water with the other skills, and all I could manage was to get through the minimum.  Fast-forward to level B and my child was still having to think hard about her math facts that equal 10--and this is not a slow child; she does math going down the road looking out the window.

  Additionally, RightStart is teacher-intensive.  You have to sit right there, leading the child through it.  There is very little chance for the child to practice anything alone.  I knew I needed something different.  We worked flashcards. I tried Ray's Arithmetic, which really would be great, but the print was tiny and therefore I felt she was going to need me to read it to her all the time. 

    By that time it was summer and I had decided we were going to use Memoria Press, leaning heavily toward Rod & Staff math for mastery that has good, scripted lessons AND chances for them to work independently.  But, to try to get her caught up, I bought Math Mammoth 2A & 2B Addition and Subtraction.  Oh. My. Word.

     I trusted the book and made that poor child do all these "strategies" for simple addition facts--she hated it, I hated it, I was bewildered but made her do it anyway because all the reviews were so high on it!  Last week, talking to a friend whose son has worked through RightStart A-C, I mentioned all these strategies. She asked if it was Common Core. Duh!

     That was the problem!  She said when all that came up in RightStart she just skipped it and taught her son the common sense way--he totally loves math and is excelling--but the key to his success in RightStart is the fact that his parents use the curriculum as a tool, not their authority.  I, however, cringe at the thought of not doing what the directions say and my daughter suffered for it.  I came home and told my daughter she could just add--she didn't have to work through all these strategies when the answer is quite simple, and she hugged me!

     Since you use MP already, read the article "Why Johnny Can't Add" from their website.  It made so much sense to me after my experience, and I hope it helps you, too. We will be using Rod & Staff math, which is NOT just "kill and drill" as so many reviews through the years had led me to believe.  The teacher manuals are goldmines for someone unsure about math. The materials are uncluttered.  AND they actually promote the same famous idea as RightStart-that instead of counting, one should practice seeing sets of numbers. RightStart calls it subsidizing; Rod and Staff didn't call it anything, but I recognized it from the directions in the first few lessons. HTH

    

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And as a former math teacher, I respectfully disagree with posters who say memorization isn't important.  Working memory can only handle so much.  For a student to do higher math that also has to process math facts or relationships between decimals/fractions/percents, s/he has to have a calculator.  Can you imagine anyone saying understanding the sounds of the alphabet is sufficient for reading fluently? The student may have the concept of alphabet, but not the practice to automaticity--and math facts are the same way.  Working memory must be free to process the higher math--either the person has to KNOW the computations quickly or use a calculator, or gets lost.  That is my honest observation from seven years of teaching math to many children from 4th grade through 7th grade.

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Common core is not a curriculum. It is simply a list of math concepts that should be taught by grade x.

 

In grade 1, the kids learn X

In grade 2, the kids learn Y

Etc.

 

The reason people don't like common core is that they don't like some of the curriculae that schools use to teach X and Y. Common core isn't really "illegal" anywhere. It's just a list. That's all. A list.

 

There are a lot of curriculums that will say, "Aligned with common core." That just means that in grade 1, they teach X, and in grade 2, they teach Y, etc, following the same path that common core outlines.

 

You mentioned by name all the curriculum that is being taught at your local private and public schools. I wasn't clear from your post, but it sounded like you thought those were your only choices.

 

Those are not your only choices.

 

There are dozens and dozens of math curriculae out there. Some of them are geared for classrooms (most Pearson stuff is.). Some of them are geared for homeschoolers--where there will be only one student in that grade.

 

Some people on this thread have tossed out a few names for different math curric, but be aware there are many, many (many!) choices. Settling on a math curric is a lot of work and takes research and a great many of us have to take a leap of faith and buy a curric, only to begin teaching it and realize it's a bad fit. You can't know until you start because you can't really know your child's learning style until you begin teaching him.

 

The search feature on this website is tricky to use. I've never been successful with it. But you can try googling welltrainedmind math and see what comes up.

 

Or you can start a new thread with a title, "Please tell me what math curric is out there for 1st grade". Or "What math curric did you use for first grade and why?" And people will chime in with what they use.

 

Once you see what other people use, you can start researching each program and search for threads for those currics and get reviews.

 

 

You are at an exciting time! Have fun researching. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but take it in stride and know you'll figure it out. And if you buy the wrong thing, your son will probably cry so you'll know it's not working, and you can then buy something else.

She is correct. And don't worry too much about Common Core. The lists of what kids are supposed to be taught is really just reclaiming what education was years ago. In recent years, schools have really watered down everything. I have closely gone over the math lists and really, they are simply requiring what you and I did in school in the 70's and 80's. You would be shocked at how little the schools have been doing.

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She is correct. And don't worry too much about Common Core. The lists of what kids are supposed to be taught is really just reclaiming what education was years ago. In recent years, schools have really watered down everything. I have closely gone over the math lists and really, they are simply requiring what you and I did in school in the 70's and 80's. You would be shocked at how little the schools have been doing.

I'm not sure that this is true, given the number of middle-aged people on homeschooling boards who say that they did well in math, but found out (on looking at the newer materials) that they lack the "conceptual knowledge" that's now considered essential.

 

And in any case -- when did the 70s and 80s become a benchmark for high-quality math education?  :huh:   The 70s are generally known as the decade of "new math," which was highly conceptual and quite unpopular. The 80s saw more of a "back to basics" trend in some places, but it varied a lot, and I'm not sure it was traditional (if there is even such a thing as "traditional math education," which I'm inclined to doubt). 

 

FWIW, in elementary school, I'm in favor of offering explanations of the concepts, but I think it's unreasonable to require these children, whose minds are still developing, to fully grasp and be able to express them. 

 

For instance, one of our children, at age 8 or 9, was in tears over the "set theory" portion of EPGY math.   I'd read enough to know that these skills were part of the "new math," and hadn't historically been expected of US and Commonwealth schoolchildren, so I had no concern about skipping them.   This child has always seemed very good at math in general, and a few years later, is doing well with AOPS in middle school. 

 

Another child had a hard time with place value in early elementary.  This child had actually done lots of work with place value in Montessori school, but evidently wasn't ready to make the transition to pencil and paper.  In that case, I did try to push it with extra lessons and manipulatives, but just ended up with a child who was starting to dislike math.   Somewhere along the line, it clicked, apparently; I can't say when, but it doesn't seem to matter at this point.  

 

It seems to me that a great deal of Common Core - both math and LA - is like trying to force a flower, whether or not it's ready to bloom. 

 

And it creates the idea that there's one path to being "good at math" or "good at writing."   Which, if you look at the childhoods of famous mathematicians and writers, is false to the point of being ridiculous.  

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Well, I had elementary math in the 60's and I have little memory of what it was like except that I hated it. I was so NOT the mathy kid, unlike my younger brother who has a BS in physics and sailed thru the math.

 

We've found that math story books (check out www.livingmath.net for recommendations and even a unit study) have been lots of fun for elementary years. We've done both Singapore and Math U See -- I love Singapore's block method of figuring out how to put together an equation, and their word problems are challenging. OTOH, I love MUS's manipulatives and videos and the plain black/white, not too much on the page worksheets. Together (1 exercise each/day, but sometimes skipping around to match up topics) and with the understanding that each sometimes teaches you more than one way to solve a problem, they worked really well for my 4 kids up to Algebra / Singapore 6A/B. 

 

At that point you'll have years of homeschool under your belt and more experience to evaluate what kind of learner you have and what approach would work best for high school math from algebra on up. We resort to Math Dad + textbook at that level. 8-)

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Math was the scariest thing for me when we decided to homeschool DD. Then I found Teaching Textbooks and it seemed so easy to implement that I convinced myself that it would be easy to teach using that program when she got to "higher math". Turns out that DD is amazing at math and works 4-5 grades ahead  and she has used Horizons with little parental interference or help. Teaching Textbooks would be completely inappropriate for her. Long story short, don't worry too far ahead. Things you think will be an issue may not ever be a problem! 

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No need to stress, bc you are starting at the beginning!  You will be teaching from a book, and you will be able to understand kindergarten math.  I promise.  Then next year, you will have a book, and you will learn 1st grade math.  Easily, bc it is at a 1st grade level!  If you had had a kid in public school for the first 5 years and then needed to bring them home and learn this different way of math, you would have a whole different situation!  At this point, though, you are starting at the beginning.  There is truly no need to sweat this.

We did both Miquon Math and RightStart.  One was the kid exploring and figuring out how numbers worked, and the other was the complete opposite - you explaining exactly why everything works.  I had my kids "play" with Miquon, then followed with RightStart to be sure they caught it.  It was a GREAT foundation, and I wouldn't change a thing!

 

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HI All. I am new here but I lurk from time to time. I have an almost 3 year old and my husband and i are starting to research homeschool vs charter vs public vs private schools in Texas. Over the years we have heard about a ton of changes to math and how it was taught when we were in school. 

 

My kid are in public schools near Austin, TX.  (Son is a rising 4th grader. My daughter enters K this year.) My sister has homeschooled her kids all the way through in the Bryan-College Station area, but been able to access some special services through the local school district.  So even if homeschooling, you might want to talk to the local district and see what they have available.

 

The workbooks my son brings home for math every year are the Go Math! books (With pages torn out that were used. I've already seen many of these because they came home as homework).  However, every year there are many pages left in the workbook, leaving me to believe that teachers use the part of the curriculum that is helpful to their lesson and what they are teaching, but do not even try to work EVERY Page.  The pages used are scattered through both volumes, with pages left untouched in between (Maybe extra work for kids that need it?)  They also use a separate program of math fluency and test where they do not progress to the next page until they have mastered the previous one. (They have many iterations practicing and testing each skill for each level. And each child works at their own pace.  They have taught different methods of reaching answers. And expect the children to practice that method for that day's homework.  But over all, my kids' teachers have allow each child to use the method that makes the most sense to them to do problems in general.

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  ...

She asked if it was Common Core. Duh!

     That was the problem!

...

 

However, Common Core is not what these two programs (RightStart and Math Mammoth) have most in common. They both taught in that exact same manner before Common Core. Neither of these programs had to do much of anything to adapt to Common Core. RightStart literally just moved around which topics were taught in which years to a curriculum they were already in the process of rewriting.

 

RightStart and Math Mammoth are both based on Asian math. Asian math emphasizes how numbers work, how to manipulate them in different ways, and how you can arrive at the correct answer using many different methods. It would appear that you dislike Asian math.

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We love Singapore math.

 

I don't love their math in focus version tho.

 

I recommend either of the other 2 versions and manipulates while very expensive are so useful and helpful.

 

They will play with them and be learning and not even know it :)

 

Trickery will get you everywhere :)

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I'm not sure that this is true, given the number of middle-aged people on homeschooling boards who say that they did well in math, but found out (on looking at the newer materials) that they lack the "conceptual knowledge" that's now considered essential.

 

And in any case -- when did the 70s and 80s become a benchmark for high-quality math education? :huh: The 70s are generally known as the decade of "new math," which was highly conceptual and quite unpopular. The 80s saw more of a "back to basics" trend in some places, but it varied a lot, and I'm not sure it was traditional (if there is even such a thing as "traditional math education," which I'm inclined to doubt).

 

FWIW, in elementary school, I'm in favor of offering explanations of the concepts, but I think it's unreasonable to require these children, whose minds are still developing, to fully grasp and be able to express them.

 

For instance, one of our children, at age 8 or 9, was in tears over the "set theory" portion of EPGY math. I'd read enough to know that these skills were part of the "new math," and hadn't historically been expected of US and Commonwealth schoolchildren, so I had no concern about skipping them. This child has always seemed very good at math in general, and a few years later, is doing well with AOPS in middle school.

 

Another child had a hard time with place value in early elementary. This child had actually done lots of work with place value in Montessori school, but evidently wasn't ready to make the transition to pencil and paper. In that case, I did try to push it with extra lessons and manipulatives, but just ended up with a child who was starting to dislike math. Somewhere along the line, it clicked, apparently; I can't say when, but it doesn't seem to matter at this point.

 

It seems to me that a great deal of Common Core - both math and LA - is like trying to force a flower, whether or not it's ready to bloom.

 

And it creates the idea that there's one path to being "good at math" or "good at writing." Which, if you look at the childhoods of famous mathematicians and writers, is false to the point of being ridiculous.

I agree with you elizg. On all of it.

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I'm just starting out, but was having the same conversations with my husband as you are having now not too long ago, and we're now doing K with my 5 year old.  I looked at a bunch of math programs, did Saxon K as a K4 option, which my son loved although he wasn't developmentally ready for some of the learning goals.  Saxon K was very manipulative based and totally scripted, which was great when I was starting out.  Eventually, though, we realized that Saxon K wasn't a great fit for the family, since with all the manipulatives I'd have to get him alone when his two younger brothers were asleep (toddlers are brutal with manipulatives).  Also, when he didn't do well on one of the assesments, I never knew quite what I was supposed to do; it so spiral-ly that it was a bit bewildering to go back and figure out how to get one skill that was missed. 

 

So, he learned a lot but we had to move on.  Now we are using Rod and Staff 1 for K.  I added manipulatives, but it is very scripted, no nonsense, and not too many moving parts.  When he doesn't get something, it's pretty straightforward to figure out where what he missed is and make it up.Definately not as sexy as many of the programs described above, but I think if you are anxious about teaching math this one might be a good fit.

 

I'd also say that, while I'm glad we spent time on phonics at 4 years old, we probably could have done without the math.  I felt like a lot of what we were doing were things that if you just waited a year wouldn't need to be taught at all -- the kid would just know them.  So, if I had it to do again, I wouldn't start math until this year. And it may be that next year I say the same thing, that we could have held off until first grade!

 

Best,

LMC

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Yes, Saxon gets so spiraly as you said that focus if mastery gets lost.

 

My big kids all did Saxon math and we kept having so many holes we has to supplement for mastery. BUT, it took me a long time to figure out what the problem was.

Saxon so spiraly ...maserty was lost.

 

I don't recommend Saxon anymore. There are so many other choices on math now, we aren't at the mercy of Hake ( the publisher if Saxon).

 

That was almost 20 years ago tho. So many awesome curriculums out now.

 

I wonder if swb still recommend s Saxon in the latest edition of wtm. Is it out yet does anyone know?

Edited by Kat w

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And as a former math teacher, I respectfully disagree with posters who say memorization isn't important.  Working memory can only handle so much.  For a student to do higher math that also has to process math facts or relationships between decimals/fractions/percents, s/he has to have a calculator.  Can you imagine anyone saying understanding the sounds of the alphabet is sufficient for reading fluently? The student may have the concept of alphabet, but not the practice to automaticity--and math facts are the same way.  Working memory must be free to process the higher math--either the person has to KNOW the computations quickly or use a calculator, or gets lost.  That is my honest observation from seven years of teaching math to many children from 4th grade through 7th grade.

 

This is a good comparison. Is there something that combines the two? Conceptional and abstract w/memorization? I heard someone mention math mammoth. I want to make sure my son gets a good foundation. 

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My kid are in public schools near Austin, TX.  (Son is a rising 4th grader. My daughter enters K this year.) My sister has homeschooled her kids all the way through in the Bryan-College Station area, but been able to access some special services through the local school district.  So even if homeschooling, you might want to talk to the local district and see what they have available.

 

The workbooks my son brings home for math every year are the Go Math! books (With pages torn out that were used. I've already seen many of these because they came home as homework).  However, every year there are many pages left in the workbook, leaving me to believe that teachers use the part of the curriculum that is helpful to their lesson and what they are teaching, but do not even try to work EVERY Page.  The pages used are scattered through both volumes, with pages left untouched in between (Maybe extra work for kids that need it?)  They also use a separate program of math fluency and test where they do not progress to the next page until they have mastered the previous one. (They have many iterations practicing and testing each skill for each level. And each child works at their own pace.  They have taught different methods of reaching answers. And expect the children to practice that method for that day's homework.  But over all, my kids' teachers have allow each child to use the method that makes the most sense to them to do problems in general.

 

That's a good point about the special services. We are just transitioning from ECI to the school district. So my son is going to be tested for services in the fall. I didn't realize that he may be able to get services if we homeschool. 

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     Since you use MP already, read the article "Why Johnny Can't Add" from their website.  It made so much sense to me after my experience, and I hope it helps you, too. We will be using Rod & Staff math, which is NOT just "kill and drill" as so many reviews through the years had led me to believe.  The teacher manuals are goldmines for someone unsure about math. The materials are uncluttered.  AND they actually promote the same famous idea as RightStart-that instead of counting, one should practice seeing sets of numbers. RightStart calls it subsidizing; Rod and Staff didn't call it anything, but I recognized it from the directions in the first few lessons. HTH

 

That is a really interesting article. Thank you for pointing me in that direction. I will look at Rod and Staff too. I like MP Simply Classical. It gives me so many ideas and my son LOVES the books! 

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