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Enrico

Choosing a math curriculum (procedural vs. conceptual)

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We are starting HS for the first time this fall and I am working on choosing an appropriate curriculum for math. My son is in 7th grade.

How am I going to choose between a more procedural vs. conceptual approach? My son does not seem to be particularly mathematically gifted but he does definitely learn when he spends enough time on it.

I am attracted by the conceptual approach (Math-U-See looks great!) because it seems less intimidating but I am worried my son may not acquire the "mechanical" skills that are definitely needed when doing math. Is there a way to merge both approaches?

I have an additional question: I am not sure what level my son is and whether there are major gaps we should cover before starting with Algebra. Do you have any suggestions for placements tests that can give me a better sense of what we should cover. My sense is that he was a bit behind in 6th grade when he was in school.

Thanks!!!

 

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I used Math U See with my oldest.  It is conceptual at the introduction to each lesson, but it teaches well enough that the procedure becomes almost automatic.  They understand the why and how, and it's reinforced visually and in a tactile manner.  It's a solid program that teaches mechanical skills.  My youngest, however, didn't like MUS.  For him, I use one program to teach the bulk, and I use Life Of Fred books, which don't put a lot of emphasis on conceptual, to supplement and make sure he knows how to apply the skills.

I would honestly start with Prodigy first.  It's a free, nice supplement, but it also will administer a placement test at the beginning of his time with the game.  From there you'd be able to see which specific skills he needs help with and figure out where he is at.

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Math curricula have free placement tests. 

Sometimes it takes a little trial  and error to figure out what works best for both student and teacher. 

Maybe try placement tests or try a few lesson from one of each and see what you think.

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13 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

I used Math U See with my oldest.  It is conceptual at the introduction to each lesson, but it teaches well enough that the procedure becomes almost automatic.  They understand the why and how, and it's reinforced visually and in a tactile manner.  It's a solid program that teaches mechanical skills.  My youngest, however, didn't like MUS.  For him, I use one program to teach the bulk, and I use Life Of Fred books, which don't put a lot of emphasis on conceptual, to supplement and make sure he knows how to apply the skills.

I would honestly start with Prodigy first.  It's a free, nice supplement, but it also will administer a placement test at the beginning of his time with the game.  From there you'd be able to see which specific skills he needs help with and figure out where he is at.

Do be a bit careful with the assessments on Prodigy.  Ds10 was 3/4 way through year 6 and got dropped to year 2 because he got a couple of questions wrong (and even Prodigy said it was a big drop for a couple of questions.

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I agree with starting with some placement tests. MUS has them, but also do a placement test for Saxon, something radically different. You'll start to get a feel for how the curricula differ.

To a point you can't know. You just start in and see what happens. MUS has some really strong points, like being set up for the student to learn how to learn. I used it with my dd the last few years of high school, and while the math was fine, that was the thing she came back and said later, that she learned how to self-monitor, to realize when she understood and when she didn't, and to tell herself to go back. That learning how to learn has been a useful skill in college.

And yes, MUS has enough review built in that he'll nail the procedures. 

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Math Mammoth does both, but it goes through 7th and stops. It has placement tests for every grade level, and they offer grade-level options or topical units. So, if you suspect holes, you might use a placement test to get a feel for where they might be, and you can supplement with individual topical units (if you watch for sales, you can get them bundled very inexpensively). 

But yeah, MUS is very popular, and it's a good option.

https://www.mathmammoth.com/faq-series.php

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