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Meadowlark

If you had to start all over with K-2 math...what?

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I'm restarting. I'll have a Kinder, 1st and 2nd grader. With my older kids we've done Singapore, CLE and BJU. I don't know that any of them were really rockstars in my world. They both are doing fine in math in school, but not great...

 

I want to lay a strong foundation. I'm finding myself going back to RightStart, especially since all of us could play the games together.

 

To give you a better idea, here's why I'm straying from the other 3.

 

SIngapore-could NOT figure out how to juggle all of the books, and I just couldn't teach it

CLE-too workbooky. My older kids hated it.

BJU-everyone liked it, but I think it's hard to teach because it's 100% dependent on the teacher. And the DL is expensive.

 

What else should I be looking at?

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We have liked MM for all my kids so far regardless of their mathiness level and I added in manipulatives as appropriate. It was cost effective because one download purchase took care of all elementary math forever :) except printing costs of course, which are minimal because I have a black and white laser that's a workhorse.

 

But if you don't like workbooks that might not be the way to for for you.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J327AZ using Tapatalk

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I'd do Miquon from the start with Right Start games if I had it to do over. Then I'd move to MEP. We did pieces of all that, but it's what I'd probably do if I had to go back in time or suddenly acquired some extra children.

 

I think if you're gravitating toward Right Start, then do it. It's scripted, it's solid. It's especially good for K-2 and provides a good foundation for other programs if you decide to switch.

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We started with RS and I have no regrets about that.  Moved on to Singapore around Level 2 for each kid and, again, great.  My DD was very ill for her 5th grade year and we basically got through the necessary topics with Math Mammoth single subject downloads supplementing Singapore 5 which was terribly hard for her.  This year I put her in Math for a Living Education 6 for 6th grade and it's been going AWESOME.  DS is in Singapore 4 and will continue to 5, with MM supplements.  

I would suggest looking at MM if you like mastery and want something "harder"/more accelerated.  The units on fractions and decimals really helped my kids solidify those skills.  We tried to do the full grade level 6 at the beginning of the year and it was too intense for my DD.  If you want something not as intense, but still (IMO) seems to be thorough, take a look at Math Lessons for a Living Education.  Both of these programs have the instruction written into the workbook to the student.  Sometimes my DD reads it and learns it on her own, sometimes I walk her through it, but it is all there in her book.  Also, the review that is incorporated into each day is excellent.  FYI, it is a Christian program and the incorporated stories are undoubtedly Christian.  

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Well, I have had many times to try out math. Every time I go with Rod and Staff.....however with my last couple I skipped over k and 1st pretty much. We just do real life math those years.

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We are getting a "do-over" of sorts homeschooling our youngest who is 15 years younger than our oldest.
 
My biggest change is not being so much in a hurry with him to get to formal school work. Lots more play, far fewer worksheets. Our little guy has fantastic number sense but I don't think that has anything to do with how we're approached math education with him. He just has a knack for numbers. 
 
He has been playing with Dragonbox Numbers and Big Numbers for a year or so now. We did some of MEP Reception this year. I just found Gattegno and it is exactly what I've always needed and never knew lol! We've been slowly working through the first Gattegno Math Text and it has been wonderful for him. No worksheets, no printables. Just Cuisenaire rods and graph paper and the Gattegno texts as a guide. Simple and very effective for him. I plan to integrate some MEP still as well but I feel like I've finally found my perfect early math that I wish I had when the other kids were little!
 
All that said, I don't think any curriculum can actually create mathematical minds. If you manage to find the approach that works best for any particular child, they will have an easier time of it but there is not an approach that will work for every child. Out of my older three children who all had pretty similar early math experiences with Right Start and Singapore Math mostly, only one of the three excelled at math. Again she just had a natural knack for numbers. The other two did well enough to pass without much trouble but math was definitely not their strong suit. I can nurture a nature talent but I cannot create a talent where it doesn't exist, KWIM?

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I’d suggest looking at a combo of Math Mammoth and RightStart Games.


We’ve started with Math Mammoth’s samples (I’m buying MM through Homeschool Buyers Co-op which is on sale this month). We also use RightStart Games. MM is similar to Singapore with its mastery approach but it’s all in one “ worktext†- no separate manuals etc. It is workbooky but I don’t have my kids do every problem and the activities suggested at the start of each MM chapter help to balance it out (in addition to any other games you might add such as RS). Much less teacher intensive to MEP and RightStart which I’ve used in the past.

Edited by BlueWren
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I loved teaching CSMP and having dd translate between their style and standard notation was very good for mental flexibility.

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I’m almost a decade into this thing and one constant has been RightStart math plus games. I’ll start level A with my fourth (and final 😢) kindergartener this fall. It has been good for us!

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Games and Ray's

 

If "workbook" was crucial, I do like both Spunky and R&S for the first two years.

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I never considered Rod and Staff with my older kids when I was looking for the best and most exciting curriculum but I decided the go with straight Memoria Press for my youngest and they use Rod and Staff. She is in 4th now and I am very pleased and would do it again if I had another one to homeschool. I would be diligent about all the oral drill and teaching in the teachers manual.

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I would use CLE if I were starting over...and I sort of am with my younger ones!  Lots of review and a solid foundation.  Plus it's not terribly overwhelming to teach multiple levels at once.  We started the year with RS and they hated all the games.  They'd much rather do 5 minutes of speed drill and flashcards and call it good.  We liked MUS, but after seeing all that CLE covers, I don't think I can go back to it. 

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What I've used in K-2, with 5 out of my 6...

 

MEP, Reception through year 2.   At whatever pace works for the child.  Only one of mine has actually been ready for all of year 2 in second grade.  Everyone else was still somewhere in year 1 at the beginning of second grade. 

 

Singapore Primary Math, U. S. version (not Standards).  It's what I bought for my oldest way back when, and everyone else gets to do it too.  My non mathy kids jump ship after Primary Math 2.  

 

Miquon--begin in K and work at whatever pace the child needs/wants.  I love C-rods.  We use them with all our math, whatever program.  Only one of mine so far has refused to do Miquon after the first three books.  He really despised the rods.  He needed a more straight forward approach (but I still taught and modeled concepts using the rods).  

 

Rod and Staff math--done orally or on the whiteboard.  Mr. "I hate those rods, just give numbers on a page" did the R&S workbooks for grade 2, but I prefer to just use teacher's book and do most of it orally or on the whiteboard.  

 

Yes, I have done/am doing all that for math in K-2.  The variety of approaches and materials keeps it interesting, and helps to develop flexibility in mathematical thinking.  Well, it mostly has done that in my house.   ;)  If I *had* to do only one, I would use R&S, and keep my C-rods handy.  And I would sneak in MEP when I could--but if it was producing tears for the child or me--MEP would get axed as well.   

Edited by Zoo Keeper

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So interesting-a couple nods to Rod and Staff! R & S if not mentioned all that often when talking about math. I suppose because it's not flashy? Or is it that it's not conceptual enough for some folks? 

 

I see that it's used in Memoria Press, which more and more people I know are taking a liking to. Hmm, I might have to go check it out.

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On 3/21/2018 at 8:41 PM, Meadowlark said:

So interesting-a couple nods to Rod and Staff! R & S if not mentioned all that often when talking about math. I suppose because it's not flashy? Or is it that it's not conceptual enough for some folks? 

 

 

 

I have never understood what people mean when they say that this publisher or that is conceptual or not conceptual. :huh:

So, even though people don't talk about R&S frequently, I promise you that many, many people use it. It isn't flashy. It doesn't use lots of manipulatives. But oh my gosh, the first three years do an excellent job of teaching basic arithmetic, and many people have said that when their children finished the eighth grade text they were able to go right into algebra.

The first three years are dependent on the oral instruction in the teacher manual. You teach for, oh, 10 or 15 minutes, then you give your child the seatwork; the first two years are workbooks, the third is a textbook. (No, your child does not need to copy all the problems. No, your child does not need to write in the textbook. For the drills, your child folds a piece of notebook paper on a line and holds it on the page right below the problems and writes just the answer.) From fourth grade on, everything the children need to know is in the textbook. You could do the oral class time if you wanted to keep the warm fuzziness, but there is no information other than what is in the text.

Edited by Ellie
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After trying Singapore Earlybird, Horizons K, Miquon (which is great for some kids), and various others, I'd use McRuffy for K-2 math.

 

Now, granted, I tweak it some because my kids need more spiral than is naturally guilt in, but it has manipulatives, games, and doesn't take much time.

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I love Saxon. I always started with 1 in K.

 

1. My boys loved the manipulatives.

2. It was easy for me to teach because it was scripted, so when I was tired or distracted I didn't have to think.

3. I didn't do the meeting time; instead we worked on those skills organically.

4. If my son understood the lesson, we cut it short.

5. Lots of fact practice built in.

6. Worksheets that didn't require a ton of writing and were laid out cleanly.

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I have not read the replies. I will be doing this exact same thing in a few years with Captain. I think I am going to use Math in Focus. I do have a few back ups, though.

Edited by Paradox5

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If I didn't have my books anymore, I'd contemplate Beast Academy, since after reading all of the Life of Fred elementary math books out loud twice (and once silently to preread) I don't really need a third go-around of reading them out loud (now, if it were a decade from now, maybe I would be willing to do it again... but, youngest is halfway through Jellybeans, so, this is very recent). So far, I've been turned off by the price of BA, but, that's largely because I already had most of the elementary LOF books... if I didn't have any books anymore, the cost might not matter as much to me... not sure, I'd have to look at the costs of the various options. Now, I know that BA only starts with 2A, so, the stuff before that would just be games and apps on my phone and all that. I don't feel a need for a curriculum for that per se, maybe print out some MEP or something or some dollar store workbooks. So, games and apps and free or cheap worksheets for pre-K and K, and then BA supplemented with same as soon as the kid seemed ready.

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If I started over I would do Rightstart with Beast Academy or Miquon as a supplement.

 

:iagree:

 

This is where I'm at, at least with my middle kid. I've tried Singapore and MM and am just not feeling it. RS is tried and true and BA adds in the spice that was missing from RS. After about six weeks of piddling with MM and Singapore samples, we're back to RS for him and you know what? It's not glamorous, but it works. It's funny because he HATES the abacus with a passion, but after a few weeks break when we went back, he didn't complain at all. I think maybe we just needed a break. 

 

Although that didn't stop me from ordering two levels of BJU for my youngest last weekend at GHC along with RS Level C for my middle, but we won't talk about that right now........... :) 

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I’d do RightStart but only with the Abacus and the guide to using the Abacus (not sure what it’s called).

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I have never understood what people mean when they say that this publisher or that is conceptual or not conceptual. :huh:

 

Really? Because comparing Beast Academy to R&S, the difference is pretty obvious.

 

I'm starting K with my little one in the fall. He's not yet showing himself to be as academic as big brother, so we're starting with Math in Focus until he is ready for Beast Academy.

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Really? Because comparing Beast Academy to R&S, the difference is pretty obvious.

 

 

Huh. R&S is *different,* but that doesn't mean it isn't "conceptual."

 

Here's a review that my friend Laura wrote:

 

Rod and Staff is a traditional math program, more similar to the math programs used in the 50s and 60s to many of the programs used today. These were excellent math programs, and most would acknowledge that Americans were better at math when we used these traditional math programs than students are today who are using all of these programs that are emphasizing “conceptual understanding†every step of the way. Traditionally, math was taught with the classical model, where there was more emphasis on drill and memorization in the early years, with an increase in conceptual understanding or analysis occurring each year. R&S does teach conceptual understanding, but it is quite difficult to see until you are perhaps 2 or 3 months into the program because it is done in the early years with little baby steps.

 

The best example I can think of this is the instruction with fractions. My daughter’s understanding of fractions, now in the fourth grade, is absolutely wonderful. Rod and Staff began with the traditional dividing of shapes into halves and thirds and fourths in the second grade, and also advancing to two-thirds or three-fourths, and the idea the three-thirds or four-fourths equals one. In the third grade, they apply this knowledge to math in all types of contexts - what is one half of a foot, what is one-fourth of a pound, what is one-fourth of a dollar? What is three-fourths of a dollar? This is done pretty much, off and on in the daily lesson, all year long, and is seen in MANY word problems. My daughter really understood fractions and applying them to numbers and real problems.

 

Then you move to fourth grade, and they introduce counting by halves, by fourths, and by eighth, using a ruler as a visual aid at first. So they count 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, etc. and also 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1. After doing this exercise for several days, they do equivalent fractions, but it is almost not necessary to explain anything, because they have already figured out that 4/8 = 1/2 and that 2/8 = 1/4 because of the counting exercises. They just now learn the algorithm that shows that this same logic can apply to numbers which can’t be visualized, such as 27/36. By the time my daughter reached the lesson where they taught how add fractions, she already ‘understood’ that you could just add the numerators of like fractions, but that you couldn’t do that with a fractions like 1/8 + 1/4, but that you needed a common denominator. This understanding was about 2 months in the developing and it would have been difficult to see by just flipping through the book.

 

Somewhere around this general timeframe, they are also doing long division and giving remainders as an answer, but combining it with word problems so that it is obvious why the remainder is actually a fraction such as “3 boys share 4 peaches. How many peaches will each boy get? What part of the remaining peach will they get?†After a couple lessons with word problems like this, they have division problems where they are supposed to give their answer with the remainder as a fraction, and they are then introduced to the term “mixed numbers.â€

 

So, yes, I would say there is wonderful teaching in R&S that leads to conceptual understanding, it is just done in a different way than many modern math programs, and that it occurs very slowly in the lower grades. Because there is a strong emphasis in the primary grades on drill, particularly fact drill, people often get this misconception of R&S, especially if they look primarily at the student workbooks or text instead of at the TM. The real lesson and the real learning takes place in the daily lesson at the whiteboard. The workbook and/or textbook is mainly just review problems and/or drill.

 

I recommend that you read this article which is linked on The Mathematically Correct Web page by Dr. H. Wu called “Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding: A False Dichotomy in Mathematics Education.†This article will help you understand why it is essential that students get plenty of drill and review as well as lessons that work towards conceptual understanding; and also why conceptual understanding can only get you so far - no one can visualize a problem such as 2/97 divided by 31/17; eventually a student must become fluent with the algorithms, which means to have them memorized to the point of automaticity. This only happens with drill and review.

 

One more thing, since you are currently using Singapore, I can compare it a little to that program. Singapore pushes conceptual understanding more than many math programs. It has some drill and review, and the assumption is that teachers in Singapore are providing much more drill and review, but this program pushes to the limit for conceptual understanding in the early grades. It doesn’t take small steps in this area, it wants total understanding in one lesson of some concept that R&S might spend two or three months developing. Additionally, Singapore wants them begin applying this new understanding immediately to problems and word problems. This is excellent for some children, especially the math-bright among us, but for many, it is too much too soon. My daughter needed the slow and steady approach of Rod and Staff for the primary years. I knew this, but I couldn’t really verbalize it, until I read the excellent review of Singapore math by Susan Wise Bauer of the Well-Trained Mind which you can find on her Web page.

 

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Not debating the quality of the programs (see below), but a short aside on why "Americans are worse at math now":

 

".most would acknowledge that Americans were better at math when we used these traditional math programs than students are today who are using all of these programs that are emphasizing “conceptual understanding†every step of the way."

 

Respectfully, in the 1950s and 1960s, kids were still allowed to drop out before Algebra in large swaths of the country--my mother has a MUCH worse understanding of conceptual math than my sister and I who were taught in public school gifted programs with conceptual program, and my kids, who have Singapore and Beast Academy are more advanced still.

 

A large part of drop in educational outcomes has to do with people being included in the program who were excluded before, as well as flight of the middle and upper middle classes to private schools in areas where people fled integration (not just the South--all over). This led to public schools serving only or mostly children who were first or second generation educated in some areas, with some children in the United States right now the first to complete a high school education. Previously, these kids would be in "workforce" education thanks to their parents being poor. I truly do not think that the drop in outcomes on average represents a drop in quality of education. It represents a removal of selection bias in the system.

 

Our school system produces children who year after year perform to the standards of Singapore, Finland, Germany, and Hong Kong--because parents have resources. This is the same Common Core they get in the poorest areas of the poorest states. 

 

Politics of testing aside, what worked for us was:

 

Outdoor play and physical play. Concepts through hands-on learning in the fresh air as well as allowing the brain to develop organic concepts of space, time, and motion. This is the long game. It's not a short-term strategy. It's building the blocks for when it all comes together when a child is 7 or 8 (assuming they are not highly gifted,  in which case it can come earlier, but even then, why not build on the amazing talent even more?)

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201702/motor-skills-movement-and-math-performance-are-intertwined

 

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/opinion/article/Outdoors-the-new-in-place-to-learn-1235365.php

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884738/

 

I think the #1 thing that has helped my kids, who perform as well on tests and in the classroom as kids who have sat in abacus training for years and years, is outdoor play. Riding a bike. Playing catch. Playing basketball. I don't know how the brain connects numbers and motion, but I am certain that it does and you can see this particularly in studies of programs for dyscalculia. The bigger your world, the greater your understanding of space, patterns, logic, time, and motion are. And those are truly the foundations of math.

 

I have never seen R&S but my feeling is, kids aged 3 - 7 need real-world concept learning. Baking. Running. Cycling. Swinging. Building with Lego. Lots of math talk around that: "Wow, look at how fast you are going! You're covering a lot of distance in a short time!" etc. "How much time did it take you to get one block? Two blocks?" Then that will be more than enough conceptual learning to build on. You don't need it in the workbooks themselves so a program that is focused on algorithms and facts would be a great supplement to the physical development of number sense. "Remember when you went around the block? How many blocks was that? That's the perimeter."

 

You don't need that in the book, so an old-fashioned math-facts and algorithms approach will work just fine.

 

And maybe Ellie that's what people are talking about... if you aren't building that conceptual math vocabulary outside of your math-on-paper program, you definitely need lots of conceptual examples in the book itself. Stories, pictures, etc.

 

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I have one child in R&S and one in Singapore. A lot of the same concepts are taught in R&S but with different vocabulary (e.g. Triplets vs. number bonds) and they are broken up into much smaller increments over time. The concept might be taught over several lessons in the before and after class portion of the teacher's manual so that you can't see it looking through the student's practice book. Honestly, when I first looked over the books after ordering them I shelved it thinking it looked too much like mindless algorithms. Several months later I pulled R&S off the shelf again in desperation and gave it a closer look. There is a lot of depth hiding in the TM.

 

For my oldest, Singapore made too big of a conceptual leap at a time, leaving him confused and frustrated and there wasn't enough repetition for anything to stick for him. R&S fills that need for slow, incremental instruction and enough practice to cement a problem. My youngest often connects the dots Singapore is trying to lead him to ahead of time, he can fly right through and retain with no issues. The repetition in R&S would bring him to tears.

We all have to choose what works best for each child.

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I am getting a do-over, too, with my youngest starting K in fall. I am going to use with her what I used with all my boys: Math Mammoth. I love the 1st and 2nd grade books. It teaches math facts so solidly that we've never had to do flash cards until multiplication, there's good mental math, and it just works really well. It is a workbook, but it's only one book to juggle. All of my kids so far have done well with it.

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If I were starting over with a kindergartner, (which I would love, but is not in the cards for me) I would probably skip all texts and do Montessori style math activities and play a lot of games. At second grade I would pick up Beast Academy and go from there. My oldest zipped through three grades worth of MIF her first year of first grade after her preschool/kindergarten Montessori experience. In April of her first grade year, BA released their first book and we were in love. It was a slow release schedule, so we didn't rush through it and we filled in holes in their production with other random things, but she's just finished AoPS Prealgebra and is starting Intro to Algebra. She's got a very solid math foundation.

 

My younger daughter is in 4th grade and working through BA. She also attended preschool through kindergarten at a Montessori school and I love the way they teach math. At home, we did some RightStart, some MIF, Miquon...dabbled in all kinds of things before starting BA. We'll stick with this going forward.

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I have a 17yo, a 14yo, and a 5yo so it feels like I’m having a do-over. We used Singapore, then continued on with the AOPS sequence for the oldest, and Jacobs/Foerster with the second due to differences in learning styles. With my 5yo, we’re using Miquon and BA, and enjoying both so far.

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Math Mammoth with Beast supplement and Right Start games. 

 

We started with strictly Right Start, but with 4 kids math was just taking too long.  I needed something we could all sit around the table and do.  With MM I can have everyone have their sheets out and float around giving directions and help.  I also didn't love the scriptedness of RS.

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Math Mammoth with Beast supplement and Right Start games.

 

We started with strictly Right Start, but with 4 kids math was just taking too long. I needed something we could all sit around the table and do. With MM I can have everyone have their sheets out and float around giving directions and help. I also didn't love the scriptedness of RS.

Ooo...I'd love to hear how you'd use MM, BA and RS together. Can you give me a typical lesson? I too, want to do math together at the table. With 3 in K-2, I might even have all working on the same topic. But I always have trouble using 2 different full curriculums together. Would love your advice! (I don't know anything about BA at all....)

Edited by Meadowlark

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My fifth and last is just starting to be interested in "math", which is everything school related to her. She asks to do "math" several times each day now, so I'm using a variety of resources including actual math. :laugh:  We are starting with MEP and Miquon. Miquon did not go well with my older kids because I started them on it too late. The Bug is very interested in the C rods. We are also doing suggestions from Kitchen Table Math and RS math games. And file folder games. It might seem insane to do so many different things, but this way she has a variety of activities and the math won't get harder before she is ready for it. We can do different activities with the same 2 or 3 Miquon pages for a month if we want. When she is ready for it, she'll do Saxon 1 for K, plus whatever else she is enjoying.

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Ooo...I'd love to hear how you'd use MM, BA and RS together. Can you give me a typical lesson? I too, want to do math together at the table. With 3 in K-2, I might even have all working on the same topic. But I always have trouble using 2 different full curriculums together. Would love your advice! (I don't know anything about BA at all....)

 

I'm not who you quoted, but I can tell you what we do. Typically on M/W I use RS and usually compile two or three lessons (level B- we have level C on order because he's ready for it). Ds is quick. We skip the review usually and go to the main lesson and have him do the hands-on portion of the demo if it involves anything but the abacus, and play any games recommended and any worksheet if there is one. We do not do the journal.

 

T/Th We do a quick run of RS, skipping any games or extras and then will throw in a BA lesson and work off a timer, or until he tires if that happens before, or if he wants to keep going past the timer. Some sections are fast, some take a couple of weeks at this pace. On Fridays, I have him work through a few pages of MM (and I might do that during the other days too if he's interfering in his sister's lessons.) Usually, 2-3 pages will do it. On MM days I throw in some dice or domino games or Sum Swamp, or maybe a card game like Battle. Well, or any day that we're rushed, sometimes we just play dice or dominoes to make a fun game out of addition/subtraction practice

 

He's six and is strong in math, so mixing it up like this has worked well. MM every day was killing us both out of boredom, and RS alone wasn't enough. so adding a lot in has helped. I just also ordered some more word problem and logic books for him as well, as BA2 only has levels A and B out so far and I don't want to rush into 3. We just got 2B in last week, so that should hold him a bit though. :) 

 

My dh jokes that now I own ALL the math things, and I guess I do. :) But that's what is working at the moment. 

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I haven't read the other replies, but my first thought after reading your title was, "I'd skip it".  Honestly, I just flat out wouldn't try to teach math at those ages.  I've been reading more articles lately about the benefits of waiting until kids are older to begin formal math instruction. I wish that I had the opportunity to try that. It seems as if you can spend lots of time trying to teach them something that they can comprehend in about five minutes when they're older.  You could still play games that reinforce math principles, but I wouldn't use a curriculum.  Peggy Kaye has some great books for that age range with lots of math games.  

Ten kids, 25 years of homeschooling, my 2 cents.  :)

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