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My 8yo son is currently using Horizons 3rd grade math. We both like the worksheets and that it has built in review. He's moving through it fine, but I feel like we're reaching a point where he is looking for more of the "why" not just the "how". I'm not looking to abandon the curriculum entirely, but I'm looking for something to add to round out the conceptual side of math that I feel is lacking. 

I've seen a lot of people talking positively about RightStart, Singapore (I see there are 2 options, Dimensions Math and Primary Math - happy to hear about both of these), and Math in Focus and would love some feedback. In my mind, the ideal situation would be for him to complete 1 page of Horizons a day as review work (he really goes through them quickly) along with 1 lesson from something more in depth.

I don't mind spending 30 or so minutes a day of active teaching time on math, so if something is more teacher-centric that's not a deal breaker. 

We tried Beast Academy and he was luke warm about it, and to be honest I was too. I think it's a great program, just not a good fit for us. I had seen in another post that someone was using a RightStart/Horizons/Singapore Challenging Word Problems combination which (without actually doing it) seems very well rounded.  

I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions! Thanks! 

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I adore Rightstart.

But it's a complete curriculum, not a supplement. So is Horizons, I think. It may not be great to attempt to keep two full curricula going at once, that might be too much for your student. I guess if he's flying through Horizons he might not mind?

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2 hours ago, MaxsMom said:

My 8yo son is currently using Horizons 3rd grade math. We both like the worksheets and that it has built in review. He's moving through it fine, but I feel like we're reaching a point where he is looking for more of the "why" not just the "how". I'm not looking to abandon the curriculum entirely, but I'm looking for something to add to round out the conceptual side of math that I feel is lacking. 

I've seen a lot of people talking positively about RightStart, Singapore (I see there are 2 options, Dimensions Math and Primary Math - happy to hear about both of these), and Math in Focus and would love some feedback. In my mind, the ideal situation would be for him to complete 1 page of Horizons a day as review work (he really goes through them quickly) along with 1 lesson from something more in depth.

I don't mind spending 30 or so minutes a day of active teaching time on math, so if something is more teacher-centric that's not a deal breaker. 

We tried Beast Academy and he was luke warm about it, and to be honest I was too. I think it's a great program, just not a good fit for us. I had seen in another post that someone was using a RightStart/Horizons/Singapore Challenging Word Problems combination which (without actually doing it) seems very well rounded.  

I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions! Thanks! 

I am always puzzled by posts about Horizons not teaching why.  What concepts is he encountering where "why" is not being taught?  (If the reliance is strictly on the boxes in the student text, it is doubtful the concepts are being thoroughly explored b/c the textbook doesn't expand on the concepts in every lesson, only briefly once in the student text.) I have taught through Horizons 5 8 times now and am on Horizons 6 with my 8th.  Horizons breaks down the concepts into exercises for the "whys" long before encountering any sort of algorithm.  (All those exercises using 10 rods and one rods and having them do 3 tens + 5 ones = 2 tens + 15 ones are teaching them regrouping for subtraction, etc. )  Horizons teaches simply and logically, but bc it is spiral vs. mastery, the concepts are interspersed vs. being the focus for an entire unit.

A simple supplement to use alongside Horizons Hands-On Equations Verbal Problems Book.  

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4 hours ago, MaxsMom said:

he really goes through them quickly) 

 

I am just going to share something and please take it or leave it, you can't hurt my feelings 🙂 

When one of my kids was around this age he was just zipping through his math program (it was CLE at that point, so it would be pretty similar to what you've got going on). So, based on his zippiness I added things and eventually moved away from CLE and then added things onto the new thing. 

I would have been far better served to just sit tight with CLE and let the math be on the easy side for a while. I know this, because I went through the exact same thing with his brother lol. 

So from my sample size of two, I'm going to say that the move here isn't adding or switching but simply asking, "Why does this work?" or "Can we figure out why this works?" ...and sitting there for five or ten minutes and showing or figuring out how whatever random thing it is works. I don't have to do this every day or for every topic. The sweet spot is getting the kid just a little something to chew on. 

I don't regret our time jumping around and playing with different things, but mathematically speaking we would have been better off to sit tight. 

THAT SAID if you do want to get something you can do some extra working with here and there: Math Mammoth Dark Blue. 

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1 minute ago, OKBud said:

I would have been far better served to just sit tight with CLE and let the math be on the easy side for a while. I know this, because I went through the exact same thing with his brother lol. 

Out of totally random curiosity, why would it have been better? Did you run against material that was too challenging too soon or did you wind up leaving too many gaps? 

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5 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Out of totally random curiosity, why would it have been better? Did you run against material that was too challenging too soon or did you wind up leaving too many gaps? 

Because we would have gotten where we were going without any fuss if I had just stayed the course. 

Now, having one of my other kids simply sit there and attempt to "justify" what's happening in math to me- just every now and then- while plugging along with a program (any known program. I am fully convinced any program the student and teacher can stand.) he's gotten where big brother got with a whole lot of fuss. 

"out of totally random curiosity" my left foot LOL! We all know you're wildly passionate about math, Ma 😁

 

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2 minutes ago, OKBud said:

"out of totally random curiosity" my left foot LOL! We all know you're wildly passionate about math, Ma 😁

 

Oh, totally!! I'm not trying to pretend or anything :-). I just meant that I don't have any experience with either CLE or Horizons, lol, so my input is bound to be limited in usefulness... However, I WAS curious! I like learning from other people's experiences... I can't live all of them, after all! 

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

Because we would have gotten where we were going without any fuss if I had just stayed the course. 

Yep. 🙂

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This actually reminds me about something I think about a lot... namely, being goal-oriented. I do think it can be reasonable to plot your own course, but there has to be a good reason why and a realistic plan of how you're going to get there. With math, the question becomes what you're trying to get out of his elementary math education, what fraction of it he's getting right now and whether small tweaks or large changes are necessary. 

My goals were nonstandard and our math path so far has been very nonstandard as well. But I had a very good idea of what we're doing and why we're doing it, and the things we wanted out of an elementary math curriculum were quite different from most people. If that's not the case for you, then lots of standard curriculums with good hands-on teacher involvement (and manipulative use if the student desires) will do the job just fine. 

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40 minutes ago, square_25 said:

This actually reminds me about something I think about a lot... namely, being goal-oriented. I do think it can be reasonable to plot your own course, but there has to be a good reason why and a realistic plan of how you're going to get there. With math, the question becomes what you're trying to get out of his elementary math education, what fraction of it he's getting right now and whether small tweaks or large changes are necessary. 

My goals were nonstandard and our math path so far has been very nonstandard as well. But I had a very good idea of what we're doing and why we're doing it, and the things we wanted out of an elementary math curriculum were quite different from most people. If that's not the case for you, then lots of standard curriculums with good hands-on teacher involvement (and manipulative use if the student desires) will do the job just fine. 

Simply ancedotal, but my observation over the years is that it isn't the curriculum that really matters.  It is the teacher and innate ability.   Teachers who can't teach "better" programs can end up causing lots of messy math issues for kids with avg abilities whereas teachers using "lesser" programs but can teach can help kids with avg abilities to slightly better outcomes. Students who use curriculum that lack depth and complex application problems but are strong intuitive math students can take what they have learned and apply it anyway.  Kids who are "taught the right way" who lack innate abilities will still not surpass kids who see math abstractions without effort. 

It isn't a simple doing this math program will yield this result.  Math debates can get pretty heated. So many parents have thrown away perfectly good math programs b/c they instead search for the "perfect" program.  They vascilate back and forth and all over with huge angst when a simple direct path like OKBud pointed out will land in the exact same place, especially if the teacher is teaching vs handing a book and walking away.

Once you get beyond elementary math, I think you start to see a much bigger discrepancy in math programs than at the elementary level.  Ability still plays a key role in leaping over gaps in instruction and application, but the more advanced you get, the foundation will start to crumble for kids using weaker programs without the innate ability.  Stronger instruction can help lift and maintain the weaker student.

Just my random thoughts as a non-math person who has some decently strong to really strong math kids.

 

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Simply ancedotal, but my observation over the years is that it isn't the curriculum that really matters.  It is the teacher and innate ability.   Teachers who can't teach "better" programs can end up causing lots of messy math issues for kids with avg abilities whereas teachers using "lesser" programs but can teach can help kids with avg abilities to slightly better outcomes. Students who use curriculum that lack depth and complex application problems but are strong intuitive math students can take what they have learned and apply it anyway.  Kids who are "taught the right way" who lack innate abilities will still not surpass kids who see math abstractions without effort. 

It isn't a simple doing this math program will yield this result.  Math debates can get pretty heated. So many parents have thrown away perfectly good math programs b/c they instead search for the "perfect" program.  They vascilate back and forth and all over with huge angst when a simple direct path like OKBud pointed out will land in the exact same place, especially if the teacher is teaching vs handing a book and walking away.

Once you get beyond elementary math, I think you start to see a much bigger discrepancy in math programs than at the elementary level.  Ability still plays a key role in leaping over gaps in instruction and application, but the more advanced you get, the foundation will start to crumble for kids using weaker programs without the innate ability.  Stronger instruction can help lift and maintain the weaker student.

Just my random thoughts as a non-math person who has some decently strong to really strong math kids.

 

 

I think that is absolutely right. Given a student's abilities, a teacher makes the biggest difference, because the teacher is the one who has to ultimately figure out what the student is struggling with and then explain it. No matter how "conceptual" a program is, if it moves ahead with a concept before the student is ready, that will not serve the student well. (I actually constantly see this with AoPS and Beast Academy.) 

On a related note, I'm now teaching my second kid to read using "100 Easy Lessons." I don't know if it's the world's best program, but I liked it with my older girl, so we're using it again. And of course... I had to modify it with my older girl, and I've had to modify it in a completely different way with my younger one. And the modifications absolutely made the difference between a child succeeding and enjoying the program, and a child failing and finding it hopeless drudgery. 

Ultimately, the curriculum isn't anywhere near the whole of the teaching. It's just something you build on. 

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5 minutes ago, square_25 said:

"100 Easy Lessons." I don't know if it's the world's best program,

This made me burst out laughing.  I used it in 1994 with my oldest.  I associate it with torture.  😉  I ran away from it as fast as I could and never turned back!! 

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

This made me burst out laughing.  I used it in 1994 with my oldest.  I associate it with torture.  😉  I ran away from it as fast as I could and never turned back!! 

 

Different strokes for different folks, I guess! Both of mine learned to read with it, it seems like (we aren't quite done with the younger girl, but we're close, and she's reading Bob books by herself now.) I do think it works better if you're going to do with young kids, though... the stories are really at a 3 and 4 year old level. I can imagine them boring an older kid to death. 

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Different strokes for different folks, I guess! Both of mine learned to read with it, it seems like (we aren't quite done with the younger girl, but we're close, and she's reading Bob books by herself now.) I do think it works better if you're going to do with young kids, though... the stories are really at a 3 and 4 year old level. I can imagine them boring an older kid to death. 

No.  Just the approach to teaching blending.  I love Sing, Spell, Read, Write.  Fun and blending is simple and phonics is learned through songs.  

Lots of people love 100 EL and swear by it.  Obviously, bc you are using it 26 yrs later!

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Just now, 8FillTheHeart said:

No.  Just the approach to teaching blending.  I love Sing, Spell, Read, Write.  Fun and blending is simple and phonics is learned through songs.  

Lots of people love 100 EL and swear by it.  Obviously, bc you are using it 26 yrs later!

 

Oh, interesting!! We found the early blending lessons boring but moved past them and had fun after that. But I can see what you mean. I'd probably use it if we had more kids, too, just because I'm so used to it by now... so I know what you mean about Horizons, lol. If it ain't broken... 

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If Horizons is working I’d stick with it and just add videos from education unboxed. Just Play with math for a while. Or add in some critical thinking puzzle books or hands on equations.

 

my first pick would be to watch education unboxed videos and play with your son, it  wouldn’t cost you anything to try 🙂

 

her videos are amazing and explain the “why” behind math

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If you're happy with your current program, I'd probably add a page of a word problem book or problem solving book each day. I would start with Fan Math Process Skills which is a really short workbook with only a few problems on each page, then Challenging Word Problems and/or Zaccaro Challenge Math.

But for something to do together that's exploring conceptual math, you could add in a math read aloud after worksheet math. There are tons of great picture books for that level and a little beyond, some of which have activity ideas or extension questions in the book for discussion. The Sir Cumference books would be fun to start with, the Time-Life math books are a great blend of story and math problems, then the Penrose books are a little weaker on the story side but introduce more conceptual math topics. There are also biographical picture books of mathematicians that explore interesting math ideas, especially problem solving. Mathematicians Are People, Too is great but not a picture book. These are all easy to just sit on the couch and go.

If you find yourself with extra time and interest there are websites and books with hands on project ideas for exploring conceptual topics. These are harder to open and go, so in our house these are more like mini unit studies. But even the above read aloud books have sparked on the spot hands on exploration requiring no prep.

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