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stop gap math curriculum for K


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I’m looking for a math curriculum for a bright soon to be 5 yr old that was in her second year of the 3 year primary cycle at a Montessori school. She can read and write well, can write numbers through 100, understands place value, and can do basic single digit addition. The curriculum would only be used for these next 2 months but possibly also through the following school year. Not past that though as we like Beast Academy and would get her started on that once she’s able.

I would like to keep some of the Montessori basis for the sake of consistency but don’t want to invest or keep track of a million manipulatives. I like RS and ShillerMath for their Montessori underpinnings but both feel like a larger investment, financially and time wise, than I’m ready to contribute right now. I like MUS Alpha but worry it may be too easy for her. I’ve heard great things about Singapore Essentials and MM but not sure if it deviates too far from her current math approach. I already have and use the RS abacus. Is there a mix and match approach I could pursue here? Maybe MM with the RS abacus and math games? Or MUS and it’s manipulatives with MM as supplement? I know MM technically starts in 1st but I've seen others here use it slowly in K with their math literate kids with success. Can Singapore be used with manipulative? I really want something open and go. 

Open to suggestions. Thanks in advance

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Deviating from her current maths approach may not be a bad thing. It might just teach her to be flexible, and you can't really tell whether they have learned a concept rather than memorised a pattern until you give them problems presented differently to what they are used to.

My favourite is CSMP (google "CSMP Materials" to find it.) It's quirky, scripted, the lessons are short and sweet, but add up to a very strong foundation and entirely free online. It's pretty well open and go presuming you have a printer and some manipulatives around. Start at the K level.

But really, you can use pretty much anything if you are able to be flexible, which you may or may not be depending on your experiences, since we all learn as we go along.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

DD really loves the AL Abacus. I ordered Singapore Essentials B and plan to use it along with the abacus. Also considering getting the Right Start card games as a supplement. Should I also consider getting Activities for AL Abacus and the accompanying student worksheets or would that be overkill? I was also looking at Addition Facts That Stick, would that be comparable to the RS games? 

Edited by ca06c
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I will say SIngapore Essentials A would probably be too easy. We do it with my kids as a first formal math at newly 4yo and all my kids spent maybe a month or two completing it, including my likely dyscalculia kid. Singapore Essentials B would probably work. It is open and go, but it may also be too easy. Honestly, I would choose either Miquon (with c-rods) or Singapore 1A (also with c-rods). And use Education Unboxed as a fun way to get going with the c-rods. Both Miquon and Singapore are excellent precursors to Beast Academy. For Beast Academy, I would strongly recommend completing a second grade program before starting. The level 2 name and topics give you the sense that it can be used earlier, and it can, but ime, it is a huge step up for most kids and a little more math maturity helps a lot. That said, you know your kid.

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I agree with Meagan that Singapore Essentials A is probably too easy.  It is really preschool level math at most.  My 4 year old does not fully understand place value, can only count to ~30 and do addition up to 10 with pictures or manipulatives, and she is working in Essentials B right now.

Essentials B starts with counting and comparing numbers up to 10.  Then focuses on place value up to 20.  Then addition - first with pictures, then introducing number families, and then slowly moving to symbolic only.  This is where my daughter is right now.  We will probably not make it through the whole thing...all three of my older kids reached a point that Essentials was moving too slowly, and at that point we jumped right to Math Mammoth 1.

If you are looking for something short term, you also might like the Star Wars math workbooks put out by Brainquest.  I'm not a huge fan of the kindergarten one - I think it has too little number sense and too much writing and recognizing numerals.  The first through fourth grade ones, though, I really like.  They are colorful and fun and interesting, but also surprisingly conceptual and deep.  The first grade one starts out with a couple easy pages of counting, and does thoroughly cover addition and subtraction up to 20, but it also includes graphing, estimation, the commutative property of addition, word problems and writing number sentences, adding and subtracting 10 (ie 13 + 10, 44 - 10, etc), early algebraic thinking (converting 8 - 5 = ? into 5 + ? = 8), geometry and very beginning fractions.

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15 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I wonder about Miquon too.  The visual style might be a good fit with Montessori.

I haven't used Miquon myself,  so I'm not really speaking from experience, although my DS used it when he was small, and loved it.  

Miquon isn't *visual.* It's kinesthetic. Not all children need kinesthetic, though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Following up: I edited the typo in my last comment, it was Essentials B that I ordered, not A. But, as suggested, I'm finding that I'm having to do a lot of cherry picking with Essentials B. Half of it is too easy for her, the other half is presented in a way that confuses her immensely. For example, she subtracts without issue when we play games like Sum Swamp and the like. She understands the concept and while I understand the value of familiarizing her with varied vocabulary for subtraction, the emphasis on "fewer" in the first subtraction section just wasn't clicking with her. As soon as I rephrase to "take away", we're back on track. I'm also not super keen on the emphasis on counting when she seems so drawn to grouping. 

I'll have to revisit Miquon, although at first glance I liked Math Mammoth more. @wendyroo I'm considering jumping into MM1 (with AFTS as a supplement) as soon as we work our way through what I can salvage from Essentials B. Can I adapt it to use with the AL abacus in addition to c-rods? We really love the abacus. I know Kate Snow did a whole blog post about how the AL abacus is her favorite manipulative and she feels it can be used with most any curriculum. In the meantime, we have the rods and I'm going to make an effort to really sit with education unboxed to see if I can will myself to love them as much as we do the abacus. We use them interchangeably at the moment but more along the lines of how number beads are used in Montessori math. 

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2 hours ago, ca06c said:

I'll have to revisit Miquon, although at first glance I liked Math Mammoth more. @wendyroo I'm considering jumping into MM1 (with AFTS as a supplement) as soon as we work our way through what I can salvage from Essentials B. Can I adapt it to use with the AL abacus in addition to c-rods? We really love the abacus. I know Kate Snow did a whole blog post about how the AL abacus is her favorite manipulative and she feels it can be used with most any curriculum. In the meantime, we have the rods and I'm going to make an effort to really sit with education unboxed to see if I can will myself to love them as much as we do the abacus. We use them interchangeably at the moment but more along the lines of how number beads are used in Montessori math. 

I've never used an official "AL" abacus, but a couple of my children have gravitated to using a cheap, old Ikea abacus as their manipulative of choice with Math Mammoth.  We have also used base ten blocks and M+Ms.  C-rods have never really clicked with us...we have them, I've watched all the education unboxed videos, we sometimes free build with them, I want to love them, but they are never our first choice manipulative.  Recently we have watched some of James Tanton's exploding dots videos, and the kids have been playing around with that as a manipulative.

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19 hours ago, wendyroo said:

I want to love them, but they are never our first choice manipulative

Same here. I'm encouraged to hear from you, and elsewhere, that MM is abacus compatible. The AL abacus is just lauded for having two colors in groups of 5s so it helps the student more readily group by 5. It's not unique to the AL Abacus, in fact there is a nearly identical one sold by Learning Resources. 

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On 5/7/2020 at 4:01 AM, ca06c said:

It's not unique to the AL Abacus, in fact there is a nearly identical one sold by Learning Resources.

Cotter did not patent or whatever her design, so yes it has been copied. Make sure the version you buy has the high place value options on the reverse.

Your dc might enjoy the positive/negative turnovers game from Ronit Bird. It's in her free Card Games ebook. 

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On 5/9/2020 at 4:01 PM, PeterPan said:

Make sure the version you buy has the high place value options on the reverse.

Yep! The Learning Resources one has the high place value back side too. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

WTM has a new K curriculum.  It might be "underkill" for your daughter, but it might be interesting to stay on level but look at arithmetic in a new way.  

One thing I learned with my son who ACED everything in math K -2 is that he knew how to work the curriculum.  He didn't really get the concepts. I found that out while we were playing math games.  In 3rd grade, I took him back to grade 1 in a more concept-driven program and he took off like a rocket.  He GOT why the arithmetic worked, and his test scores jumped "four grades" to "7th" (I know what that means...I just use it as a measure of growth, not an evaluation of ability).  He also grew to *love* math because now he knew how it worked and that it wasn't just random symbols on flashcards.

I became a fan of using more than one curriculum to make sure he wasn't just working a system.  (FWIW, he was in the highly gifted category...I mention it because it came up in the OP.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Can she do subtraction? Teach that with whatever you have at the house including the abacus.

I like using the free worksheets on Greg Tang's website for starting to add double digits. They break down the steps for adding by making a ten then adding on the rest. She could use the abacus. If she can learn that, and assuming she understands subtraction, then she should be fine starting BA2. 

My 5yo does BA2 Online just fine. We also use the Singapore textbooks (he's in 2a) orally. Since everything in the Singapore textbooks is drawn out you don't even need manipulatives. However, if she can't yet add and subtract without manipulatives then you may want to start at level 1 and give her time to practice and move into mental math when she's ready.

My older child, who is into building, liked Miquon with the c rods. My middle child, who is more into art, likes Singapore a bit better. They both did/do both though, and BA.

I use MM units for short bursts on a specific topic, but the plain worksheets are nobody's favorites around here. *I* like them as a teacher but my boys would not want to do MM as a primary program. If you're just looking for a few months and your child likes worksheets then it could work before starting BA.

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@Sarah0000 This is really helpful! She understands subtraction and can do double digit subtraction with the manipulatives. In the time since this post was written, she's breezed through Singapore Essentials B and we both enjoyed it. I'm considering putting her in Singapore level 1 but I've heard there's a learning curve to teaching it which is intimidating me a bit. Do you find it pretty open and go? Part of what drew me to MM was that it was a work text and seems pretty streamlined. 

My plan right now is to work through MM this summer and see if we like it but I was also considering just moving on to Singapore and using the MM skills pages for added review. 

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If its only short term you may like Math lessons for a living education (you will need to do the assessment), I do not like it as a stand alone curriculum but for short term and something different it could work very well. It is also under $40 possibly even under $30 for everything. 

I am using The Good and beautiful math for my coming on first grader but it does have manipulatives, and isn't cheap (@$100) but you could just get the math box and use the games and such to add a measure of fun to her math. I'm guessing you'll need level 1/2 box. Its about $45 I want to say?

Also there are Kumon workbooks that are nice and not too expensive with no manipulatives.

 

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3 hours ago, ca06c said:

@Sarah0000 This is really helpful! She understands subtraction and can do double digit subtraction with the manipulatives. In the time since this post was written, she's breezed through Singapore Essentials B and we both enjoyed it. I'm considering putting her in Singapore level 1 but I've heard there's a learning curve to teaching it which is intimidating me a bit. Do you find it pretty open and go? Part of what drew me to MM was that it was a work text and seems pretty streamlined. 

My plan right now is to work through MM this summer and see if we like it but I was also considering just moving on to Singapore and using the MM skills pages for added review. 

I find Singapore open and go and it wasn't a learning curve for me. Have you seen all those complaints about Common Core math with examples parents post of their kid's homework? If CC makes sense to you then you'll be fine in Singapore.

Also, take a look at the Greg Tang website and free resources. If none of that is confusing then Singapore 1 and 2 shouldn't be confusing. Most likely it's already the way you do math but you may not be use to the format of breaking down the steps.

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