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FireweedPrep

Advice for elementary math I can stick with!

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I am a chronic math curriculum switcher. DD1 is in second grade and a bit "behind" in math due to my inability to stick with things. I won't even list everything we did in K and first but for,this year, Math u see was a disaster. Saxon 2 has been ok; she does well with the one on one tutoring aspect but she doesn't like the lack of color and frankly it's so incremental that it's killing us both and she isn't being challenged at all. We have done a few days of MEP 2 and I like the level of thinking she has to do and that there is some review built in. It's just a different format; I think we'd both prefer a more distinct lesson followed by her doing problems on her own.  She wants more color. And the drill has to be done separately.  I'm strongly considering the new Singapore Dimensions math but it's just so different from how I was taught that I'm unsure about it. I used Saxon when I was homeschooled and loved it!  I think Saxon could work for DD1 but I can already see that DD2 will not tolerate it. 

Basically I need to find something and stick with it through till 8th grade because the constant switching is stressing me and holding her back from where her true ability is!

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Rightstart had color in manipulatives, but not on the pages. It's a great program.

But probably Singapore would work well for her. It's an excellent program too. Yes, it's different than how you were taught, but it's very effective. 

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27 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

What is the longest you have stuck with one curriculum?

important question. For k and 1st, curriculum didn't even matter as much as teaching/learning. There is nothing magical about curriculum. They are just resources for guiding instruction.

To answer your question, you need to find curriculum that you are happy teaching so you will stick with it. I personally dislike SM bc it often phrases things in an unclear way and presents some concepts in a way that makes them more difficult than they actually are. I don't want to teach using their texts.

I have used Horizons all the way through with 7 kids and our 8th will be in the 5th grade book in a few weeks. I find it easy to teach bc it suits me. I see myself as more important than the book.

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1 hour ago, HomeAgain said:

What is the longest you have stuck with one curriculum?

 

Yikes all my dirty secrets lol. We did Abeka K without the teachers manual but with a supplemental guide made by another woman for 5 months. DD was 6 and she learned a lot! We did the new math from Simply Charlotte Mason for a few months last year. We did Abeka 1 for a few months at the beginning of last year but it was too much writing for her at that point and I didn’t know how/that I could adapt that. It was also a bit tedious and I didn’t know what if anything I could skip. I find blowing off entire lessons or problems in math hard bc you might be missing something that ends up being critical. 

Edited by FireweedPrep
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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

important question. For k and 1st, curriculum didn't even matter as much as teaching/learning. There is nothing magical about curriculum. They are just resources for guiding instruction.

To answer your question, you need to find curriculum that you are happy teaching so you will stick with it. I personally dislike SM bc it often phrases things in an unclear way and presents some concepts in a way that makes them more difficult than they actually are. I don't want to teach using their texts.

I have used Horizons all the way through with 7 kids and our 8th will be in the 5th grade book in a few weeks. I find it easy to teach bc it suits me. I see myself as more important than the book.

Interesting. I see myself as more important than the book in other subjects but math seems so critically text dependent. And I’m less confident in it. Frankly I excelled at math even at higher levels in AP classes in high school but it wasn’t natural for me the way Language Arts stuff was. 

We tried Singapore before in first grade but it was just a few days 🙈 because the convuluted language of number bonds and such was confusing. Abeka and Saxon used number sentences and that made more sense to us both. 

Sigh. I know if I keep looking for Perfect!!!!! I will end up looking and switching forever. 

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7 minutes ago, FireweedPrep said:

Yikes all my dirty secrets lol. We did Abeka K without the teachers manual but with a supplemental guide made by another woman for 5 months. DD was 6 and she learned a lot! We did the new math from Simply Charlotte Mason for a few months last year. We did Abeka 1 for a few months at the beginning of last year but it was too much writing for her at that point and I didn’t know how/that I could adapt that. It was also a bit tedious and I didn’t know what if anything I could skip. I find blowing off entire lessons or problems in math hard bc you might be missing something that ends up being critical. 

Abeka is spiral. SM is mastery. If you find spiral math tedious, I don't know how you describe mastery. 😉 

Honestly, I don't see Abeka as asking too much for that age. It is very comparable to Horizons. I am not one for skipping things in math, either, so I can definitely relate to that. We do some things orally so they don't have write them down (months, days, number names, etc.)

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3 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Abeka is spiral. SM is mastery. If you find spiral math tedious, I don't know how you describe mastery. 😉 

Honestly, I don't see Abeka as asking too much for that age. It is very comparable to Horizons. I am not one for skipping things in math, either, so I can definitely relate to that. We do some things orally so they don't have write them down (months, days, number names, etc.)

haha I know it seems like I'm searching for a unicorn!  :-)  I'm looking at Horizons on Rainbow Resource.  I don't know why I haven't before...it seems really, really good!

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16 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Abeka is spiral. SM is mastery. If you find spiral math tedious, I don't know how you describe mastery. 😉 

Honestly, I don't see Abeka as asking too much for that age. It is very comparable to Horizons. I am not one for skipping things in math, either, so I can definitely relate to that. We do some things orally so they don't have write them down (months, days, number names, etc.)

I'm glad to hear that comparison between Abeka and Horizons.  I liked Abeka, or could have if I'd played around with it and not been scared of it, but needed a bit more in the way of an instructor's guide that didn't teach to a classroom, so I like that Horizons is made for homeschooling!  I've printed off the Readiness Assessment and we will work on that and see what we think.  Thank you so much for your help!

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2 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

Yikes all my dirty secrets lol. We did Abeka K without the teachers manual but with a supplemental guide made by another woman for 5 months. DD was 6 and she learned a lot! We did the new math from Simply Charlotte Mason for a few months last year. We did Abeka 1 for a few months at the beginning of last year but it was too much writing for her at that point and I didn’t know how/that I could adapt that. It was also a bit tedious and I didn’t know what if anything I could skip. I find blowing off entire lessons or problems in math hard bc you might be missing something that ends up being critical. 

There is this curriculum selector you might enjoy going through.  I'd recommend doing both the secular and religious questionnaire. Not everything is listed, but enough is, and there are enough questions, to help you determine what is important to you.

Now, my thoughts:
Pick something as a home base.  Do it at least 4x a week.  Pick something fun.  Do it at least 1x a week.  You want your home base to be something to keep coming back to and keep you guys moving forward.  Math without a curriculum is hard to know if you're progressing well/exploring different topics.  You can absolutely do it without, but it is easier with one. But since you have a tendency to hop I'd recommend giving yourself permission to make little hops.  Use Horizons with Education Unboxed.  Pair MEP with the Right Start Games book.  Give yourself a break each week and do something different at least one day or at the end of each lesson.

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2 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

Yikes all my dirty secrets lol. We did Abeka K without the teachers manual but with a supplemental guide made by another woman for 5 months. DD was 6 and she learned a lot! We did the new math from Simply Charlotte Mason for a few months last year. We did Abeka 1 for a few months at the beginning of last year but it was too much writing for her at that point and I didn’t know how/that I could adapt that. It was also a bit tedious and I didn’t know what if anything I could skip. I find blowing off entire lessons or problems in math hard bc you might be missing something that ends up being critical. 

Interesting about abeka fitting with a different guide. Is there a similar one for abelka for the grade she is in now? I haven't tried horizons but it does seem similar to abeka. I actually love abekas math books they are colorful and only 1 page both sides so my kids never get overwhelmed even my overwhelmed at everything son ;0)

I am extremely interested in the Abeka guide you mentioned for K if you still have info on where you got it I would appreciate it!

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Using my crystal ball, I think you need BJU.

Just get the student book for second grade at first 🙂 After that you may want the TM.

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I agree with giving BJU math a try.  It's mastery so will be easier to skip mastered topics without worrying about missing anything.  It's colorful and the workload is very manageable - it's 1 pg, double sided.  If you find the writing is too much though, you could do some questions together with you writing or give her some number stickers to fill in answers with.  I'd have a close look at the table of contents and samples on the BJU website to get the right placement though.  She might need to start in the Grade 1 book.

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On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 3:52 PM, seemesew said:

Interesting about abeka fitting with a different guide. Is there a similar one for abelka for the grade she is in now? I haven't tried horizons but it does seem similar to abeka. I actually love abekas math books they are colorful and only 1 page both sides so my kids never get overwhelmed even my overwhelmed at everything son ;0)

I am extremely interested in the Abeka guide you mentioned for K if you still have info on where you got it I would appreciate it!

This is the guide I used; it doesn't tell how to teach it, just has review and stuff on there.  I made it as hands on as I could.  Because there's no instruction help, I'm not sure how useful it would be once you get to multiplication, say, unless you find other resources or are comfortable teaching that.

https://littleschoolhouseinthesuburbs.com/kgrd-abeka-math-drill-plan/

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I really appreciate everyone's input and thoughtful responses!  I talked with my mom and she asked, "So what, exactly, is wrong with the program you have now?"  And I stumbled around with well it's cobbled together, not colorful, teacher intensive, etc., but really came to see that MEP is fine for at least the rest of the year.  I just need to reformat our day a bit to accommodate it, and make sure that we keep up with the flashcards and drill sheets from our Saxon 2 program and maybe buy some more, or use XtraMath, or something like that!  And I ordered a box of the Prismacolor Col Erase erasable colored pencils for DD so that she can make things colorful.  Definitely going to keep Horizons in mind, too!

Now, I will see if I can actually start and complete an entire grade of a math curriculum :-)

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MUS didn't work for us, either. Dd is a year behind, but I am very happy with MEP. It is not colorful, but I have dd do a Skills Sharpeners worksheet a few times a week, and those are very colorful. In order to help her with her addition facts, we played Shut the Box and Triominoes. She really enjoyed the addition practice games found in Ellen McHenry's Professor Pig series.

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How about Rod and Staff? It is so easy to teach and cheap that giving it a try won't break the bank. This is straight mastery.

https://www.milestonebooks.com/list/Mathematics_for_Christian_Living_Series/

I HIGHLY suggest using Memoria Press's lesson plans for it or simply do a lesson a day. Scroll down to find the Math section.

https://www.memoriapress.com/curriculum/individual-lesson-plans-subject/

CLE is another excellent option. It moves faster than Saxon without all the "bits and bobs'. Just start with 100. It is not babyish. Also, like R&S, it is relatviely cheap to try out. This is spiral.

https://www.clp.org/store/by_subject/4

If you decide to swing for BJU, be aware that you cannot skip the scripted teaching in the TM at any level K-6. The student book is intended to reinforce directed teaching, not do the teaching. 7th on up the format changes. Use the distance learning option, if your time is short. BJU will have a $99 sale for online courses soon.

Full disclosure: I have used over 20 maths programs over the years. I feel your pain.

Edited by Paradox5

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IMHO, spiral vs mastery is not the most important thing. It is how things are presented that's important, and whether it's traditional (such as ABeka or Rod and Staff) or process (Saxon primary, Miquon).

I would also recommend Rod and Staff Publishers. You *must* use the scripted oral class time in the teacher manual for first through third grades, as there is no instruction in the student materials; it is expected that you will actually teach the concepts and that the student materials reinforce what you taught. At fourth grade and above, everything the children need to know is in their textbooks; the oral class time does not add anything except warm fuzzy face time. 🙂 R&S goes through 8th grade; many people here have reported that their children went easily into algebra after completing R&S.

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37 minutes ago, Ellie said:

IMHO, spiral vs mastery is not the most important thing. It is how things are presented that's important, and whether it's traditional (such as ABeka or Rod and Staff) or process (Saxon primary, Miquon).

I would also recommend Rod and Staff Publishers. You *must* use the scripted oral class time in the teacher manual for first through third grades, as there is no instruction in the student materials; it is expected that you will actually teach the concepts and that the student materials reinforce what you taught. At fourth grade and above, everything the children need to know is in their textbooks; the oral class time does not add anything except warm fuzzy face time. 🙂 R&S goes through 8th grade; many people here have reported that their children went easily into algebra after completing R&S.

And who wants to miss the ducks in R&S Grade 1? (Though I think the newer edition removed them. WAH!) How many ducks in the pond? How many waddle off? We had such fun with them.

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Neat I've never looked into Rod and Staff or CLE even though I've seen them mentioned. Price is certainly right for both!  I looked briefly through the teachers manuals online for both but couldn't quite tell how much hands on stuff with manipulative there is scripted in? Though I've got bunches of manipulative and it's easy to add in when needed.  I love the streamlined aspect of Rod and Staff and she would love all the little animal pictures.  

We actually gave MEP just a few more days before I had to call it good effort and go back to the drawing board/decision matrix.  I wanted to love MEP but I continued to feeel flustered teaching it and DD felt very rushed and uncertain, likely because of me but she likes all the activities with Saxon and I'm just going to have her do one side of the worksheet. Basically I need to find a math curriculum that I feel confident teaching, as a previous poster on this thread pointed out. I did the math curriculum questionnaire that was suggested and the secular one came out as Saxon being the best choice for us by a long shot. The Christian one said Horizons or Rod and Staff thought not as strongly as Saxon. 

My husband has said no more math curriculum purchases this year! Haha smart man. We are going to finish the year with Saxon. However the local homeschool resale shop has bunches of Rod and Staff stuff so I will definitely look into that for third grade. 

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Math that gets done is CLE here. It isn't colorful but does have some cute stuff...and it comes in 10 workbooks, so they get that feeling of accomplishment when they finish one and move on to the next. And it is super easy to teach. 

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16 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

Neat I've never looked into Rod and Staff or CLE even though I've seen them mentioned. Price is certainly right for both!  I looked briefly through the teachers manuals online for both but couldn't quite tell how much hands on stuff with manipulative there is scripted in? Though I've got bunches of manipulative and it's easy to add in when needed.  I love the streamlined aspect of Rod and Staff and she would love all the little animal pictures. 

You can get free curriculum samples by calling the publisher at (606) 522-4348 (the site you looked it is not the actual publisher).

R&S doesn't use *manipulatives.* It uses visuals, and lots of drills, which works much better than you might think. 🙂 Honestly, before adding manipulatives, I'd faithfully follow the scripted lessons for awhile. Not all children need manipulatives; children who don't need them and are required to use them can come to hate math, and we don't want that. 🙂

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8 hours ago, Ellie said:

You can get free curriculum samples by calling the publisher at (606) 522-4348 (the site you looked it is not the actual publisher).

R&S doesn't use *manipulatives.* It uses visuals, and lots of drills, which works much better than you might think. 🙂 Honestly, before adding manipulatives, I'd faithfully follow the scripted lessons for awhile. Not all children need manipulatives; children who don't need them and are required to use them can come to hate math, and we don't want that. 🙂

I have a friend who refuses to use manipulatives for math, and I always thought that was strange, but then I now have a kid who feels like the manipulatives slow her down, and another who uses them for art arrangement (seriously...she matches all the teddy bear counter colors, turns them to face the same way, arranges even the little unit cubes into shapes, etc) so this no manipulative strategy has some appeal!

I actually ordered Rod and Staff through Memoria Press yesterday.  At the very least, I want to look through it all really carefully and take my time.  I figure I can return it, or use it, at that point.

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4 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

I have a friend who refuses to use manipulatives for math, and I always thought that was strange, but then I now have a kid who feels like the manipulatives slow her down, and another who uses them for art arrangement (seriously...she matches all the teddy bear counter colors, turns them to face the same way, arranges even the little unit cubes into shapes, etc) so this no manipulative strategy has some appeal!

I actually ordered Rod and Staff through Memoria Press yesterday.  At the very least, I want to look through it all really carefully and take my time.  I figure I can return it, or use it, at that point.

There was a time in the early days of homeschooling--middle 80s--when it was assumed that if you didn't use manipulatives there was sin in your life, lol. I think process (manipulatives) vs traditional (like Rod and Staff or ABeka--materials which do not use manipulatives) is a more important consideration than spiral vs mastery.

I always order directly from the publisher. 🙂

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23 hours ago, Ellie said:

You can get free curriculum samples by calling the publisher at (606) 522-4348 (the site you looked it is not the actual publisher).

R&S doesn't use *manipulatives.* It uses visuals, and lots of drills, which works much better than you might think. 🙂 Honestly, before adding manipulatives, I'd faithfully follow the scripted lessons for awhile. Not all children need manipulatives; children who don't need them and are required to use them can come to hate math, and we don't want that. 🙂

Agreeing!! Mine all hate them. Manipulatives, not math. I made up stories to explain things/ math facts.

Edited by Paradox5
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1 minute ago, Paradox5 said:

Agreeing!! Mine all hate them. Manipulatives, not math. I made up stories to explain things/ math facts.

Many years ago, when it became apparent that I was going to be doing some curriculum counseling (long story), I decided that I should learn about manipulatives, as that's what was the big thing (see my comment above). I went to a half-day class at a store of some kind that was all about manipulatives. All of the other attendees were public school teachers. We spent an two hours and 45 minutes working with pattern blocks (can you fill this shape using only this color? How many different ways can you fill this shape?) and tangrams (ditto). The teachers were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, and I had no idea how on earth playing with pattern blocks and tangrams would help children to learn how to find the area of a triangle. I kept thinking about the Emperor's New Clothes...The last 15 minutes we learned about Base 10 blocks. At last! A manipulative that made sense!

My theory is that the public schools in general are doing a really bad job of teaching math, and they keep looking for something new instead of going back to what worked. Manipulatives was supposed to be the answer, but no. They are not.

Anyway, a friend raved about about her Cuisenaire rods and how awesome they were. After this class, I decided that I should learn about rods, so I bought Mathematics Made Meaningful, which comes with task cards; the first one tells you to dump the rods on the table and mix them up, then sort them according to color. Then you mess them up and sort them according to size. Hey! They're the same piles! I started with the first one, and before long I was sold on c-rods. For people who want to use c-rods, I recommend starting with MMM, and eventually to go to Miquon. But I do *not* believe that every child must use c-rods, or base 10 blocks, or Popsicle sticks, or counting bears, in order to have a good understanding of math.

Many years ago, the Teaching Home published an article that talked about process math versus traditional math. It was SO good. I lost the article ::weeps::  It helped me understand the difference between the two, and is why I think that is more important than spiral vs mastery.

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8 hours ago, Ellie said:

Many years ago, when it became apparent that I was going to be doing some curriculum counseling (long story), I decided that I should learn about manipulatives, as that's what was the big thing (see my comment above). I went to a half-day class at a store of some kind that was all about manipulatives. All of the other attendees were public school teachers. We spent an two hours and 45 minutes working with pattern blocks (can you fill this shape using only this color? How many different ways can you fill this shape?) and tangrams (ditto). The teachers were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, and I had no idea how on earth playing with pattern blocks and tangrams would help children to learn how to find the area of a triangle. I kept thinking about the Emperor's New Clothes...The last 15 minutes we learned about Base 10 blocks. At last! A manipulative that made sense!

My theory is that the public schools in general are doing a really bad job of teaching math, and they keep looking for something new instead of going back to what worked. Manipulatives was supposed to be the answer, but no. They are not.

Anyway, a friend raved about about her Cuisenaire rods and how awesome they were. After this class, I decided that I should learn about rods, so I bought Mathematics Made Meaningful, which comes with task cards; the first one tells you to dump the rods on the table and mix them up, then sort them according to color. Then you mess them up and sort them according to size. Hey! They're the same piles! I started with the first one, and before long I was sold on c-rods. For people who want to use c-rods, I recommend starting with MMM, and eventually to go to Miquon. But I do *not* believe that every child must use c-rods, or base 10 blocks, or Popsicle sticks, or counting bears, in order to have a good understanding of math.

Many years ago, the Teaching Home published an article that talked about process math versus traditional math. It was SO good. I lost the article ::weeps::  It helped me understand the difference between the two, and is why I think that is more important than spiral vs mastery.

I took one year of education classes to become a teacher, and quit because I was so disgusted with the whole system. After studying the history of public education, it was clear there has been a long pattern of trying trendy things, and abandoning them after 3-8 years. That's not even long enough to see if it worked on a large scale. My understanding of Common Core is that it's based on teaching methods in Asia which have been successful, but the US only uses the trappings of it, without training teachers, and without offering the administrative supports or nurturing a culture that would facilitate the approach. In our school district, the year Common Core came in, teachers had no idea what the curriculum was until 3 days before the first day of school.

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Have you looked into Beast Academy?    Not only does it have color, the guidebook is a comic.   Tuesday after bedtime DH was going to tell DD, 8 years old, to turn off the light and go to sleep.   Then he saw that she was reading her math book, and got me instead.  We supplement BA with Kate Snow's books.   Sometimes it is nice to have a 'get it done' option, and they don't take long, and there are games.   

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18 minutes ago, shawthorne44 said:

Have you looked into Beast Academy?    Not only does it have color, the guidebook is a comic.   Tuesday after bedtime DH was going to tell DD, 8 years old, to turn off the light and go to sleep.   Then he saw that she was reading her math book, and got me instead.  We supplement BA with Kate Snow's books.   Sometimes it is nice to have a 'get it done' option, and they don't take long, and there are games.   

I think BA would be fun for us to try as "puzzle" math once a week, or over breaks.  Thanks for reminding me about it!  I know some folks use it for their main curriculum but for us it would work best as a fun addition (haha).

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1 hour ago, knitgrl said:

I took one year of education classes to become a teacher, and quit because I was so disgusted with the whole system. After studying the history of public education, it was clear there has been a long pattern of trying trendy things, and abandoning them after 3-8 years. That's not even long enough to see if it worked on a large scale. My understanding of Common Core is that it's based on teaching methods in Asia which have been successful, but the US only uses the trappings of it, without training teachers, and without offering the administrative supports or nurturing a culture that would facilitate the approach. In our school district, the year Common Core came in, teachers had no idea what the curriculum was until 3 days before the first day of school.

Oh me too!  I was in an M.Ed. program and quit after we took the Classroom Discipline class.  I knew even then that I could never discipline my children this way, and so I could never discipline someone else's kids that way, either. 

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9 hours ago, Ellie said:

Many years ago, when it became apparent that I was going to be doing some curriculum counseling (long story), I decided that I should learn about manipulatives, as that's what was the big thing (see my comment above). I went to a half-day class at a store of some kind that was all about manipulatives. All of the other attendees were public school teachers. We spent an two hours and 45 minutes working with pattern blocks (can you fill this shape using only this color? How many different ways can you fill this shape?) and tangrams (ditto). The teachers were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, and I had no idea how on earth playing with pattern blocks and tangrams would help children to learn how to find the area of a triangle. I kept thinking about the Emperor's New Clothes...The last 15 minutes we learned about Base 10 blocks. At last! A manipulative that made sense!

My theory is that the public schools in general are doing a really bad job of teaching math, and they keep looking for something new instead of going back to what worked. Manipulatives was supposed to be the answer, but no. They are not.

Anyway, a friend raved about about her Cuisenaire rods and how awesome they were. After this class, I decided that I should learn about rods, so I bought Mathematics Made Meaningful, which comes with task cards; the first one tells you to dump the rods on the table and mix them up, then sort them according to color. Then you mess them up and sort them according to size. Hey! They're the same piles! I started with the first one, and before long I was sold on c-rods. For people who want to use c-rods, I recommend starting with MMM, and eventually to go to Miquon. But I do *not* believe that every child must use c-rods, or base 10 blocks, or Popsicle sticks, or counting bears, in order to have a good understanding of math.

Many years ago, the Teaching Home published an article that talked about process math versus traditional math. It was SO good. I lost the article ::weeps::  It helped me understand the difference between the two, and is why I think that is more important than spiral vs mastery.

That was illuminating, thank you.  Yes, I keep thinking...ok, those kids raised on the math of the 1940s are the ones who put a man on the moon using slide rules and paper trig tables...right?  :-)  I do think that manipulatives have a place...and I really do like base ten blocks and learning addition with the little unit blocks.  But I do see how they are overused.

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52 minutes ago, FireweedPrep said:

I think BA would be fun for us to try as "puzzle" math once a week, or over breaks.  Thanks for reminding me about it!  I know some folks use it for their main curriculum but for us it would work best as a fun addition (haha).


I think you'd be shocked at how rigorous it is.   There were a few problems that I challenged my co-workers with.   Grade two problems challenging computer programmers.  
We use Balance Benders as math puzzles.  
 

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1 hour ago, shawthorne44 said:


I think you'd be shocked at how rigorous it is.   There were a few problems that I challenged my co-workers with.   Grade two problems challenging computer programmers.  
We use Balance Benders as math puzzles.  
 

Yeah, it can be a fun supplement, but it can also be a full program or it can be a waste of time. It really depends on the kid. But it's not "light" for most kids. If you do the book as a supplement, that can be a fun extra. If you do the actual workbook as an extra, it'll be your challenging, don't get to it all extra.

I think you should stick with MEP, honestly. Color is overrated. MEP has great teaching notes.

And I agree with Ellie that there are other ways to break down a math program than mastery v. spiral. People get way too stuck on that one.

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18 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

Agreeing!! Mine all hate them. Manipulatives, not math. I made up stories to explain things/ math facts.

Yup. I do sometimes use them with ONE kid, who tends to race ahead and then get stuck, so manipulatives help him figure out why he got confused. But I don't need a fancy kit or curriculum for it. I can grab some crayons or erasers or marshmallows or whatever. Or use my fingers, the built in manipulatives 🙂

18 hours ago, Ellie said:

Many years ago, when it became apparent that I was going to be doing some curriculum counseling (long story), I decided that I should learn about manipulatives, as that's what was the big thing (see my comment above). I went to a half-day class at a store of some kind that was all about manipulatives. All of the other attendees were public school teachers. We spent an two hours and 45 minutes working with pattern blocks (can you fill this shape using only this color? How many different ways can you fill this shape?) and tangrams (ditto). The teachers were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, and I had no idea how on earth playing with pattern blocks and tangrams would help children to learn how to find the area of a triangle. I kept thinking about the Emperor's New Clothes...The last 15 minutes we learned about Base 10 blocks. At last! A manipulative that made sense!

My theory is that the public schools in general are doing a really bad job of teaching math, and they keep looking for something new instead of going back to what worked. Manipulatives was supposed to be the answer, but no. They are not.

Anyway, a friend raved about about her Cuisenaire rods and how awesome they were. After this class, I decided that I should learn about rods, so I bought Mathematics Made Meaningful, which comes with task cards; the first one tells you to dump the rods on the table and mix them up, then sort them according to color. Then you mess them up and sort them according to size. Hey! They're the same piles! I started with the first one, and before long I was sold on c-rods. For people who want to use c-rods, I recommend starting with MMM, and eventually to go to Miquon. But I do *not* believe that every child must use c-rods, or base 10 blocks, or Popsicle sticks, or counting bears, in order to have a good understanding of math.

Many years ago, the Teaching Home published an article that talked about process math versus traditional math. It was SO good. I lost the article ::weeps::  It helped me understand the difference between the two, and is why I think that is more important than spiral vs mastery.

Everyone raves about how now the kids are really learning the "why" and this that and the other, but I've seen no evidence that kids today understand math better than the men who put a rocket on the moon with slide rules. As an article put out by Memoria Press put it, if you want to build a house you don't start by learning to forge metal to build your hammer. Artithmatic is a tool, not a goal in itself. It's about muscle memory. Kids are writing out paragraphs on how they solve each problem (seriously) which means they only have time for say, 4 problems. That's not how you get fluent in math!!!

9 hours ago, knitgrl said:

I took one year of education classes to become a teacher, and quit because I was so disgusted with the whole system. After studying the history of public education, it was clear there has been a long pattern of trying trendy things, and abandoning them after 3-8 years. That's not even long enough to see if it worked on a large scale. My understanding of Common Core is that it's based on teaching methods in Asia which have been successful, but the US only uses the trappings of it, without training teachers, and without offering the administrative supports or nurturing a culture that would facilitate the approach. In our school district, the year Common Core came in, teachers had no idea what the curriculum was until 3 days before the first day of school.

My teacher friends are often thrown an entirely new teaching method/curriculum only days before classes start, and expected to be experts in it. Not that that works out well. 

8 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

That was illuminating, thank you.  Yes, I keep thinking...ok, those kids raised on the math of the 1940s are the ones who put a man on the moon using slide rules and paper trig tables...right?  🙂 I do think that manipulatives have a place...and I really do like base ten blocks and learning addition with the little unit blocks.  But I do see how they are overused.

ha, great minds think alike!

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5 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Everyone raves about how now the kids are really learning the "why" and this that and the other, but I've seen no evidence that kids today understand math better than the men who put a rocket on the moon with slide rules. As an article put out by Memoria Press put it, if you want to build a house you don't start by learning to forge metal to build your hammer. Artithmatic is a tool, not a goal in itself. It's about muscle memory. Kids are writing out paragraphs on how they solve each problem (seriously) which means they only have time for say, 4 problems. That's not how you get fluent in math!!!

If you try to teach me why first, you will make me hate you. I want to know how to do it, and then I want to do it many times until I know it backwards and forwards and would recognize it in a dark alley. *Then* you can tell me why.

FTR, I never understood algebra. 😛

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I used CSMP as a spine, and MEP worksheets (not the lesson plans) for the arithmetic drill and problem solving. CSMP is scripted, available free online so your husband won't get mad and is fun to teach. I had to drop it at the end of year 2, but I believe it goes up to year 6. If you want to try it, start with year 1 and do as many lessons in a day as your kiddo would tolerate. We were dealing with a maths disability, so K and Year 1 took about 18 months each. Then she flew through year 2 in 10 weeks. It is deceptively simple looking, but I beefed it up a bit more by having Dd translate from their non-verbal problems into standard notation or vice versa. That did wonders for her mental flexibility.

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Only on here would the solution to chronic math switching would be buying more programs ! : ) 

I don't think that the issue is necessarily the programs themselves.  Or rather I think maybe you need to sit it on a bit and think about the exact problem. 

I used Right Start with ds, I guess that is manipulative heavy but really we mostly used the abacus and that is as old as Math  🙂 (or nearly). I used Beast for him too, it worked great in ways, not so great in others. He thrives on a challenge but he needed far more practice. Right Start was great for him, the upper levels just weren't as good. We used every supplement known to man but I didn't hop around all the time. The way I worked it was to have a main program and use others as supplements for areas we needed to work on or areas of weakness for the curriculum. That works much better than switching all the time, sometimes there isn't one magic right answer or just one right program, you have to tweak the program to your needs. 

Now, I had a horrible time figuring out math with dd1 because she is so very, very different than ds. Programs worked until they didn't and then there were tears (not once but consistent near daily frustration). I used MiF through 2nd then the tears and we did Saxon through 5, then there were tears. Now we are on CLE, fingers crossed we make it more than a couple of years. DD2 has been using MiF since K (she's in 3rd now), we tried BA for a brief stint when 2A came out but realized it wouldn't work quickly but it did give me a big realization. Dd2 is bright and great with LA, she picks up things quickly, I had mistakenly seen her as bright and quick across the board. BUT she is not as strong in Math. She's doing ok in MIF but next year I'm putting her in CLE as well. She's had some frustrations with MIF at this level, not as bad as dd1 but enough so I don't want to continue it another year. I've also found parts of the program I didn't care for at this level. As 8 said above about SM I think it overly complicates somethings. I like the kids working on mental math and learning different ways to problem solve but it becomes a bit tedious, like we're just seeing how many ways we can do it rather than practice 1 or 2 ways and really get them down. Dd3 is in MiF 1st now, I'll likely put her in CLE after she finishes MIF1. Like her other sisters she prefers more traditional math and finds manipulatives annoying and I personally prefer spiral. I like that it is a worktext and that there are daily review sheets in the back, no extra program to worry about. It is not perfect but I'm so picky, no program is perfect. I think there is too much review sometimes. If dd1 is really getting a concept we will skip some problems of that type.

My big thoughts are- Can you teach it? Do you understand it? Do you find it worthwhile? 

Is the kid learning with it? Does it present the material in a way that both you and your child understand? Is there enough practice to make it stick? 

 

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10 hours ago, Ellie said:

If you try to teach me why first, you will make me hate you. I want to know how to do it, and then I want to do it many times until I know it backwards and forwards and would recognize it in a dark alley. *Then* you can tell me why.

FTR, I never understood algebra. 😛

Heh. I think you're probably a bit extreme on that end, but I think you're absolutely right that the lightbulb moment for lots of kids is after they've done something, not before, which means doing an algorithm and seeing that it works first instead of discovering the algorithm. Discovery worked better for one of my boys, algorithm first for the other.

These schools asking kids to write lengthy explanations about math in 2nd grade... oyvay. I get the idea, but I don't buy the way they're doing it is helping anyone.

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51 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Heh. I think you're probably a bit extreme on that end, but I think you're absolutely right that the lightbulb moment for lots of kids is after they've done something, not before, which means doing an algorithm and seeing that it works first instead of discovering the algorithm. Discovery worked better for one of my boys, algorithm first for the other.

These schools asking kids to write lengthy explanations about math in 2nd grade... oyvay. I get the idea, but I don't buy the way they're doing it is helping anyone.

I think some combination of discovery and algorithm might be good, but clearly the present philosophy of discovery being the most important thing is not working. And TPTB will just continue bringing out the Emporer's new clothes instead of going back to what actually works.

Not that I'm opinionated about it or anything...

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1 minute ago, Ellie said:

I think some combination of discovery and algorithm might be good, but clearly the present philosophy of discovery being the most important thing is not working. And TPTB will just continue bringing out the Emporer's new clothes instead of going back to what actually works.

Not that I'm opinionated about it or anything...

I think having programs that do it both ways is good. Most kids need a good balance though. To me, that's part of homeschooling though - being able to observe your kid and see what clicks best for them.

In a classroom where you have to hit lots of learners who need repeat presentation, I'd think ideally it would be a little bit circular. A dose of discovery at the start. Plenty of algorithm. A more in depth dose of discovery and way following that. More algorithm.

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13 hours ago, Ellie said:

If you try to teach me why first, you will make me hate you. I want to know how to do it, and then I want to do it many times until I know it backwards and forwards and would recognize it in a dark alley. *Then* you can tell me why.

FTR, I never understood algebra. 😛

my daughter is like that. The only time she gets upset or confused in math is when they try to teach "mental tricks". Because she's already been using them all along - she figured them out herself- so when I try to teach it as something new she can't figure out what is new about it and tries to overly complicate it and drives herself nuts. Finally she will realize it is the same thing she's already been doing anyway, and get angry at the book for confusing her by talking about it, lol. 

In my experience (small sample size) kids that are math will figure out the "why" and the patterns and such on their own mostly, as they work the problems. The kids that are not mathy might not, but those are the ones that most need the basics and the extra practice just doing the algorithms so they develop a muscle memory of it. 

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Just pick a program.  Do not attempt to find a program that will reduce the amount of planning and face-to-face time.  Your kid should not be expected to do ANYTHING without you at her elbow for at least a few more years.  Now, you may be pleasantly surprised and that might start earlier for some kids than others, but I really don't think elementary level math should be expected to be done with any level of independence at all.  You have to make that time commitment upfront.  

If your dd finds the pages lack color, she can do like my girls and color in her math workbook like a coloring page once the work is done.  I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I feel your dd's opinion on the aesthetics is irrelevant.  Unless the pages are so crowded that she is unable to concentrate, let her meet her color needs elsewhere. 

I feel very strongly that the best program is the one you can teach confidently.  If you don't want to learn "Asian math" in your spare time, don't use Singapore or the other Asian math programs.  If spiral bores you, don't use it.  If you don't like any math programs, find a good scope and sequence for elementary math and teach it on the whiteboard without any curriculum at all.  I learned a ton by watching videos on Educationunboxed.com, a website all about Cuisenaire rods.  We use base ten blocks plus c-rods for manipulative, along with a very few others, like place value cards and just some stuff to count, like popsicle sticks.  My oldest (Alg 1) hasn't needed them in years.  My second (SM4) doesn't use them, but I do demonstarte new concepts with them.  My third (SM1) and my little guy (PK) use them extensively- every lesson, every day.  

Although I do use Singapore, I have pored over their teacher's manuals in depth, and read a lot about Asian math.  At this point, the lesson books/workbooks are more of a reinforcement to the lesson which I teach ad hoc after glancing at the next few pages of the book to see what the next concept is.  I use these materials well because I have studied them and learned how to teach math a particular way, and how to teach it a different way when one way doesn't click.  🙂  

Just pick a curriculum, then spend all that free time when you would be agonizing about math by educating yourself on *teaching* math.  This will make you so much less dependant on a curriculum, and when you come to a little hiccup, you won't jump ship to a new curriculum, you'll just present the material a different way and then move on.  Again, educationunboxed is a great resource.  

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4 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Just pick a program.  Do not attempt to find a program that will reduce the amount of planning and face-to-face time.  Your kid should not be expected to do ANYTHING without you at her elbow for at least a few more years.  Now, you may be pleasantly surprised and that might start earlier for some kids than others, but I really don't think elementary level math should be expected to be done with any level of independence at all.  You have to make that time commitment upfront.  

If your dd finds the pages lack color, she can do like my girls and color in her math workbook like a coloring page once the work is done.  I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I feel your dd's opinion on the aesthetics is irrelevant.  Unless the pages are so crowded that she is unable to concentrate, let her meet her color needs elsewhere. 

I feel very strongly that the best program is the one you can teach confidently.  If you don't want to learn "Asian math" in your spare time, don't use Singapore or the other Asian math programs.  If spiral bores you, don't use it.  If you don't like any math programs, find a good scope and sequence for elementary math and teach it on the whiteboard without any curriculum at all.  I learned a ton by watching videos on Educationunboxed.com, a website all about Cuisenaire rods.  We use base ten blocks plus c-rods for manipulative, along with a very few others, like place value cards and just some stuff to count, like popsicle sticks.  My oldest (Alg 1) hasn't needed them in years.  My second (SM4) doesn't use them, but I do demonstarte new concepts with them.  My third (SM1) and my little guy (PK) use them extensively- every lesson, every day.  

Although I do use Singapore, I have pored over their teacher's manuals in depth, and read a lot about Asian math.  At this point, the lesson books/workbooks are more of a reinforcement to the lesson which I teach ad hoc after glancing at the next few pages of the book to see what the next concept is.  I use these materials well because I have studied them and learned how to teach math a particular way, and how to teach it a different way when one way doesn't click.  🙂  

Just pick a curriculum, then spend all that free time when you would be agonizing about math by educating yourself on *teaching* math.  This will make you so much less dependant on a curriculum, and when you come to a little hiccup, you won't jump ship to a new curriculum, you'll just present the material a different way and then move on.  Again, educationunboxed is a great resource.  

Thanks!  Yes, I have definitely come to see that in many of our school subjects, I'm switching because of ME, not necessarily because of my girls, and that is a disconcerting but ultimately helpful (I hope!) realization.  If I "believe in it" (and they don't absolutely hate it!) I will be able to teach it and I think that I am finally honing in on what that will be for us.  And for sure on the tutoring aspect of math at this stage--both of us like both of us doing it together.  I bought my daughter high quality erasable colored pencils and they have helped her enjoyment of math, too. 

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22 hours ago, FireweedPrep said:

  I bought my daughter high quality erasable colored pencils and they have helped her enjoyment of math, too. 

I did not know these things existed. May I ask what brand?

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1 hour ago, knitgrl said:

I did not know these things existed. May I ask what brand?

We use these - they are inexpensive and erase beautifully. 

https://www.amazon.com/Crayola-Erasable-Coloring-Essentials-Stocking/dp/B07D2X22RM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1544366124&sr=8-3&keywords=crayola+erasable+colored+pencils

We have also purchased PaperMate color lead pencils in the past, but the kids prefer the Crayola.  

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6 hours ago, knitgrl said:

I did not know these things existed. May I ask what brand?

These are the ones we got.  We found the Crayola ones to be a bit "waxy" but these Col Erase ones get a good sharp point and act like pencils.  https://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Col-Erase-Erasable-24-Count-20517/dp/B000089DCH/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543458705&sr=8-1&keywords=col+erase

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