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AngelaR

Kinder math: Singapore Dimensions v. Kate Snow

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Hello all!  Question about math curriculum for my 5 year old.  

Background:  I began our HS journey when we were thrust into quarantine on March 17.  I had already planned to HS for 2020-21, which would have been my first year of HS, but since I already had all the curriculum, I decided to get a head start. I had been a high school teacher for 8 years, and I was not scared, worried or apprehensive about teaching my own children, so I dove in.   Not a good idea to start with next years' work, but we survived.  

Also background:  a good math teacher friend of mine recommended Singapore math because it teaches the concepts behind everything.  I opted for Singapore Math Dimensions when I was choosing curriculum back in February, mostly because I liked the illustrations better than Primary Math, and I figured it would all be about the same anyway.   It's ok for DD (6), who had been in public kindergarten doing Common Core anyway, but DS (who was finishing up his Pre-4 year) ended up throwing a fit whenever we had to do math.  Frankly, it was a struggle for the first 8 weeks of quarantine to try to get him to do anything, really...Long story short, I revamped our Language Arts and math to be a little more like preschool and less textbook oriented (aka, I pretty much threw Dimensions out for DS!).  It was a whole lot more fun for all of us, and he doesn't fight me nearly as much to do "school" but it really seems to have to be hands on for him for anything.  Except when I read to them.  He just balks at writing, or doing anything he's unsure of, actually.  Anyway, I'm looking towards the start of school and as I was looking up tools to help DD with addition, I discovered Kate Snow.  I haven't actually tried her techniques, being on summer break and all.   She's just come out with a Kindergarten Math curriculum (that they sell on WTM Press website, aka this one!), and it seems really lovely and gentle and hands-on.  So different from the Dimensions book we were doing.  I am highly tempted to get that curriculum for DS, and just sell my nearly brand new Dimensions Kindergarten books.  

Does anyone have any insight or experience with her new curriculum?  Any advice about math for my little DS?  

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This is our first year, too!  My second grader is doing Dimensions 2A&B, but I had seen recommended on here ”Singapore Essentials Kindergarten A and B,” and actually ended up going with that for K (we are starting with B—don’t need A).  It is a workbook that has a note on the bottom of each page as to how to use manipulatives to teach that concept, then you use the page for practice. I’m going to do 10-15 minute sessions each day with my Kinder and see how fast we finish. I’m going to warm up with skip counting (1’s, 5’s and 10’s this year), then do the suggested activity, then do the practice, and then keep going as time allows. 

Edited by JoyKM
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10 hours ago, AngelaR said:

Any advice about math for my little DS?  

Mostly that he's still little :-). It's more important that he winds up not hating math than anything else you do right now. 

I'd also really really really recommend figuring out yourself what concepts it is you're trying to communicate to him, before you follow a program. What would you like him to learn this year? What are the major ideas there? Once you know where you're going, it's easier to figure out how to get there. 

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I used Dimensions last year with my 1st and 4th grader. It is a solid program. That said, I think it was designed for classroom use and homework. In my opinion, Dimensions has a lot of work in it. That amount of work may not really be necessary in a homeschool situation, especially not for a kindergartener. Things I like about Dimensions: the teacher's guides are well written, it includes ideas for games, it makes good use of manipulatives, there are a lot of problems to practice if needed.

I have not used Kate Snow's kinder curriculum, but I have read about it. I have used her "Facts that Stick" books and think they are fantastic! I think she has a really good understanding of how kids learn, how to incorporate games into math, age appropriate amounts of work, and how to teach math. She says that her curriculum is "middle of the road" as far as difficulty and should only take about 15 minutes a day to complete her kinder curriculum.

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1 minute ago, amiesmom said:

In my opinion, Dimensions has a lot of work in it. That amount of work may not really be necessary in a homeschool situation, especially not for a kindergartener.

It definitely does have a lot of individual problems, especially in the workbook.  When I was in school the teacher would often assign specific problems out of the book as homework--we never did all 25 problems or anything like that.  I'm trying to plan the first several chapters before the school year starts, and part of what I'm doing is highlighting which problems in the workbook I expect my daughter to complete for indepedent work.  I view any problems left undone as an opportunity to reteach things that she missed the next day.  It's important to pick them individually instead of just "do all of the odds or evens" because I've noticed sometimes doing that means they don't practice a certain version of something--all of the odds might be addition and all of the evens subtraction.  So you need to mix it up.  

I'm planning to run Dimensions and Essentials like this:  Start with my second grade Dimensions child.  Teach the lesson, do the guided practice, then assign her highlighted independent problem.  While she is doing those, teach my Essentials Kindergartner.  Second grader turns in her Dimensions work and goes to play.  I'll check over her work, then the next day we review the corrected work before doing the next lesson.  I do think that math is a subject that involves more actual teaching and time.  We are going to do it first each day to make sure we all have the energy and focus for it!  

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I LOVE those two workbooks, Essential Math A and B. I love that A is basically an activity book, so no kid could really dislike it, and it builds confidence. And then B is really slowly and steadily solid, but never intimidating, just fun. I haven't used Kate Snow, but I did try the Singapore Earlybird K workbooks, and they were more colorful but not nearly so good. We are back to Essential Math for my next Ker. Love it.

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11 hours ago, amiesmom said:

 In my opinion, Dimensions has a lot of work in it. That amount of work may not really be necessary in a homeschool situation, especially not for a kindergartener. Things I like about Dimensions: the teacher's guides are well written, it includes ideas for games, it makes good use of manipulatives, there are a lot of problems to practice if needed.

I felt like it was a lot too, but honestly I thought it was because I've always HATED math.  Glad to hear from someone else it is a lot.  It seemed like it took us at LEAST and hour to do math with both kids (trying to get one to work while I "taught" the other), and I really really dreaded it.  So did the kids.  

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12 hours ago, square_25 said:

I'd also really really really recommend figuring out yourself what concepts it is you're trying to communicate to him, before you follow a program. What would you like him to learn this year? What are the major ideas there? Once you know where you're going, it's easier to figure out how to get there. 

Absolutely NO IDEA.  I'm not a math person.  I used to get my High School students to check my math whenever I was forced to use it when I taught History, and they all thought it was a great joke.  I made no secret of the fact I was awful at math.  So, I really have absolutely no idea what's important at this stage.  

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12 hours ago, amiesmom said:

I used Dimensions last year with my 1st and 4th grader. It is a solid program. That said, I think it was designed for classroom use and homework. In my opinion, Dimensions has a lot of work in it. That amount of work may not really be necessary in a homeschool situation, especially not for a kindergartener. Things I like about Dimensions: the teacher's guides are well written, it includes ideas for games, it makes good use of manipulatives, there are a lot of problems to practice if needed.

I am currently using a mix of Dimensions and Miquon with one kid, and just Dimensions with another. I absolutely agree with this poster about the amount of work. I actually had 3 kids using it, but the lessons just took forever with oldest, if we tried to do it all. It was frustrating him and me. Add in the fact that I thought more daily review would be good for him, and I switched him to something else.

I actually don't use the teacher's guides (at least, I haven't for K and 2). I do have them; I've just never felt I needed them. My method of teaching math at this age/stage is: see the topic for the day, teach it (myself on whiteboard, with the book, or whatever...call this "I do), work some problems together ("we do"), have student practice ("you do"). Anyway, I've settled on setting a timer for lessons. And we get done what we get done. If student is showing understanding, we move on, regardless of how many problems are done/undone. 

I wasn't a fan of the "Facts that Stick" book that I saw. (I know...I know.)  Or, I should say, was disappointed to see it's basically games, which made it not a good match for the kid I was thinking of. He just wants to get 'er done, so games in math are not necessarily a good match. 

Anyway, long story short, I really like Miquon for young kids, with Dimensions on the side. Basically, I pull sheets out from each series, and let DS choose what to do each day. Blending the two keeps things interesting. 

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2 hours ago, AngelaR said:

Absolutely NO IDEA.  I'm not a math person.  I used to get my High School students to check my math whenever I was forced to use it when I taught History, and they all thought it was a great joke.  I made no secret of the fact I was awful at math.  So, I really have absolutely no idea what's important at this stage.  

Hmmmmm. Then I’d suggest you either learn ahead or get the kids a tutor. I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach your kids math without knowing the basics yourself — you can’t catch conceptual gaps that way.

If you’d like to learn ahead, there are definitely other people on this board who’ve done so, and I’d be happy to help as well!! 

Edited by square_25
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14 hours ago, square_25 said:

Hmmmmm. Then I’d suggest you either learn ahead or get the kids a tutor. I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach your kids math without knowing the basics yourself — you can’t catch conceptual gaps that way.

I thought that’s why there was curriculum available to buy, so anyone could teach their children.   Isn’t that the premise behind homeschooling?  

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18 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

I thought that’s why there was curriculum available to buy, so anyone could teach their children.   Isn’t that the premise behind homeschooling?  

I really don't know whether there's a single premise or not, but I think it's a good idea to know the concepts yourself if you're going to teach them. That way, you can gauge whether your kids are understanding what they are doing or not. 

I think you can absolutely teach your children math without a degree in teaching, but you'll do a much better job if you learn some math yourself, so you can guide them. They will not get a good math education if they are guided by someone doesn't like math, doesn't know what's coming up, and communicates that they don't like it. (And that applies to most things, not just math. If you aren't sure what you're trying to communicate, it's hard to communicate it well.) 

Do you think you could work through the work they are doing a few grades ahead of them, so you can see where they are going and think about how the pieces fit together? 

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1 hour ago, AngelaR said:

I thought that’s why there was curriculum available to buy, so anyone could teach their children.   Isn’t that the premise behind homeschooling?  

Some curriculum is more what is called "open and go" which means you don't have to plan ahead--you can just run through the lesson, follow the steps, and your child should learn just fine.  Other curriculum involves more planning ahead but may lend itself better to some families.  You had said you were a high school teacher for eight years, so you are familiar with the sort of effort it takes to plan ahead with lessons. I  was a middle school math and science teacher for seven years, and I can say that planning all of the subjects for an elementary level homeschool has taken me more time.  There are a lot more things to choose and figure out how to incorporate--I am no longer able to devote all of my creative energy to one or two subjects. I have chosen an open-and-go ELA course since that is an area I feel more insecure in teaching, but math, science, history, geography, citizenship, handwriting, Bible, art, field trips, special activities and read alouds--it has taken some time to get the hang of how to schedule all of these things into what I consider a reasonable homeschool day/week. 

How this relates to Dimensions:  Dimensions isn't an open and go math program, and you may find more joy in homeschooling math if you could find an open and go program.  The most important thing you can do, especially for a Kindergartner, is help him feel postively towards math and get basic skills down.  You said that Dimensions felt long, was not in your wheelhouse, and you dreaded it.  Maybe it's not for you!  I can definitely see how a math teacher would recommend it because I was drawn to it as a former math teacher.  I was never looking for an open and go math, so I'm not sure what is out there.  I'm sure there is something, though.  I think Dimensions is too much for Kindergarten at a home school and am happy to use Essentials for my Kinder so I can put more of my mental energy into learning to use Dimensions with my second grader.  

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The best math program is the one that you can teach best.  My big kids are older and I used Saxon when they were little.   I have another little one coming up and have been eyeing the Kate Snow book!  I like math in early grades to be fun, hands on, with lots of manipulatives, often done on a white board.  I often scribe math for little ones- maybe I do half the problems for them, then they just have to finish the rest on their own.  For your younger one, I would suggest you keep math all together- none on his own.  Whatever you get, do the entire thing with him until hes confident.   

 

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For a kid who likes hands on, look at MEP (MATHEMATICS enhancement Programme) Reception level. It's all free online, just print the worksheets out. The lessons are short, to the point, and have a kinesthetic element. The worksheets are usually colorful and sometimes story based, never rows of problems.

Since your kiddo likes to read take a look at the Math Start picture book series. Each book covers a core concept and includes suggested activities in the back. These may help you learn how to practice math with your kid without using worksheets. 

Right Start is an open and go program with lots of hands on. Its incremental. But it's a big upfront cost and takes more time. 

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Is your son balking at the level of writing vs. the math? I don't know if you scribe for him or expect him to write. I had two kids that were fine with math but not with writing. DM is new since mine were that age, but we used the DM 7, and it's a lot of material!

Since both of my kids have dysgraphia, I looked for something with less writing that was also conceptual and ended up with Miquon for my youngest (my older one started homeschooling past that age). He LOVED it, and it set him up perfectly for Singapore/Math Mammoth style math later on. It's not a full elementary program, but it's very inexpensive, hands-on, an excellent foundation, etc. When I talk about handwriting issues, I mean that my younger son had extremely hypermobile fingers, and he struggled to cross the midline. It took him 18 months to be able to reliably form the number 8 with paper and pencil, but he was really, really ready for school and math in particular. So, if handwriting is an issue, you really need to find something where handwriting is minimal, and you might need to scribe, provide number stamps, etc. 🙂 

Oh, I forgot, but before we did Miquon, we used MUS Primer. It's the only level we used, but that was also excellent. We did it mostly orally, or we used number cards vs. writing. Primer is organized so that you can meander into and out of topics and do them in any order. It was a really nice year. He was 4.5 when we Primer, then he started Miquon in his "real" Kindergarten year.

You can keep the DM Kindy stuff for now and consult it on the side, then sell it later if you don't end up using it. 

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3 hours ago, kbutton said:

So, if handwriting is an issue, you really need to find something where handwriting is minimal, and you might need to scribe, provide number stamps, etc. 🙂 

I agree completely.  All of my kiddos have been much farther along in conceptual math than their handwriting could keep up with.  Sometimes I scribed, other times they used number stamps.  One of my kiddos even struggled with the fine motor skills necessary for number stamps, so I would use magnets to tack his math page on the fridge and he would answer the questions by just sticking on he appropriate magnetic numbers.

 After going through K math four times, I have found that what works best for us is flexibility.  If I invest a substantial amount in one curriculum, then I feel compelled to complete most of it.  But my kindergartners' math skills have developed very non-linearly - I have a 4.5 year old currently who is great with place value, adding and subtracting with manipulatives, fractions, counting by tens, etc, but she can't accurately count through the teen numbers and she still needs to count concrete objects for simple problems like 3+1.

So for early math, I tend to use a lot of cheap resources and just pull from them whatever seems appropriate on any given day.  Right now, my 4.5 year old is using Singapore Essentials B, Star Wars math grade 1,  Math Mammoth grade 1, and random free worksheets I find online.  She won't complete all of any of them...some topics we might not cover at all if she has already mastered them, others we might dip a toe in with one book, decide she isn't ready, and revisit much later with pages from the other books.  The books generally tell me what topics we are aiming to cover, and I follow the kiddo's lead as to what she is ready for and interested in right now.

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7 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

But my kindergartners' math skills have developed very non-linearly - I have a 4.5 year old currently who is great with place value, adding and subtracting with manipulatives, fractions, counting by tens, etc, but she can't accurately count through the teen numbers and she still needs to count concrete objects for simple problems like 3+1.

Wow, that's quite the range!! What is she currently doing with place value? 

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27 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Wow, that's quite the range!! What is she currently doing with place value? 

If I make a number (up to 100) on the abacus, she can count the groups of tens and the "extras" and accurately tell me what number it is...unless it is between 13 and 19 which still baffle her.  If I show her a written number up to 100 she recognizes how many tens and ones it is made of and can efficiently make it on the abacus or out of base ten blocks.  If I show her a number either written or with manipulatives, she can tell me what is one more, one less, ten more, and ten less. 

I've never officially introduced place value over 100, but she was playing with the base ten blocks and intuitively started making and talking about numbers like 2 hundreds, 4 tens and 1 extra...and then surprised me by accurately naming those numbers...again, as long as they didn't end in those wily teen numbers.  When faced with the teen numbers she tends to swap them such that she would name 219 as 291...though she doesn't do that with any non-teen numbers.

She can very accurately translate even "tricky" word problems with extra information into number sentences, discerning addition from subtraction and the minuend from the subtrahend, but then she can't mentally add 4+1, though she can independently use fingers, manipulatives, or draw her own pictures to find the answer.  OTOH, using the abacus or base ten blocks she can add 32 + 44 and "see" that she just needs to separately combine the tens and the ones to reach an accurate answer (without regrouping).

For all of my kids, this has been an age when their math skills are very uneven and unpredictable.  I could wake up tomorrow and she may have all the teen numbers mastered or be able to mentally add small numbers...or those skills could still be months away and instead she may conceptually master double digit addition with regrouping using manipulatives while still being unable to accurately count to 20.

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1 minute ago, wendyroo said:

If I make a number (up to 100) on the abacus, she can count the groups of tens and the "extras" and accurately tell me what number it is...unless it is between 13 and 19 which still baffle her.  If I show her a written number up to 100 she recognizes how many tens and ones it is made of and can efficiently make it on the abacus or out of base ten blocks.  If I show her a number either written or with manipulatives, she can tell me what is one more, one less, ten more, and ten less. 

I've never officially introduced place value over 100, but she was playing with the base ten blocks and intuitively started making and talking about numbers like 2 hundreds, 4 tens and 1 extra...and then surprised me by accurately naming those numbers...again, as long as they didn't end in those wily teen numbers.  When faced with the teen numbers she tends to swap them such that she would name 219 as 291...though she doesn't do that with any non-teen numbers.

She can very accurately translate even "tricky" word problems with extra information into number sentences, discerning addition from subtraction and the minuend from the subtrahend, but then she can't mentally add 4+1, though she can independently use fingers, manipulatives, or draw her own pictures to find the answer.  OTOH, using the abacus or base ten blocks she can add 32 + 44 and "see" that she just needs to separately combine the tens and the ones to reach an accurate answer (without regrouping).

For all of my kids, this has been an age when their math skills are very uneven and unpredictable.  I could wake up tomorrow and she may have all the teen numbers mastered or be able to mentally add small numbers...or those skills could still be months away and instead she may conceptually master double digit addition with regrouping using manipulatives while still being unable to accurately count to 20.

Super interesting! 

I don't think I've ever tried place value at this age, and perhaps I don't have enough manipulatives around, so I have no idea if my kids could do it or not! 

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

Super interesting! 

I don't think I've ever tried place value at this age, and perhaps I don't have enough manipulatives around, so I have no idea if my kids could do it or not! 

MUS Primer works on place value with "decimal street," and my younger kiddo was able to add and subtract 3 digit numbers with and without regrouping using the manipulatives and number cards at 4.5. After he understood place value and the adding and subtracting, it took only a couple of well-placed questions for him to regroup things on his own. Transferring this to written numbers didn't come until quite a bit later. 

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4 minutes ago, kbutton said:

MUS Primer works on place value with "decimal street," and my younger kiddo was able to add and subtract 3 digit numbers with and without regrouping using the manipulatives and number cards at 4.5. After he understood place value and the adding and subtracting, it took only a couple of well-placed questions for him to regroup things on his own. Transferring this to written numbers didn't come until quite a bit later. 

Cool! Makes sense to me :-). 

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On 7/4/2020 at 2:24 PM, AngelaR said:

I thought that’s why there was curriculum available to buy, so anyone could teach their children.   Isn’t that the premise behind homeschooling?  

 

Anyone can teach their children, but it's not because of the curriculum. It's because anyone- with any academic background- can sit down and figure out how to do it. Curriculum is one tool. Often an important tool, but really JUST a tool. A homeschool teacher's background might be one tool. Community resources another. So on and so forth.

You can teach your kids!! Even math, yes. 

Of the two you listed I think you should go with the Snow book because it is less of a program, if you see what I mean. You need to get your bearings around both homeschool and math, and a program you won't necessarily understand a few years down the road isn't really going to help you do that when you're jumping straight into it with all these anxieties and preconceived ideas. 

While you take your time with your little kids (I wouldn't even do anything except play with and read to the 4/5 year old.), start reading about how people learn math and what they do with it throughout their school careers. Understand going into it that there are polarizing opinions about this, but you can read both and come to your own conclusions! And then, next year, you'll go from there with this new understanding and you'll be able to ask more specific questions, not predicated on a random recommendation, and get what YOU want for YOUR kids. 

Everyone here is doing our best, but each post here, just like anywhere else, reflects just a particular experience and goal combination, unique to each poster. 

You'll find your way if you stick to it, I PROMISE! People homeschool well with all sorts of pasts, restrictive current situations, goals, and unique challenges in their kids. You can **totally** do this if you want to!!

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25 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Anyone can teach their children, but it's not because of the curriculum. It's because anyone- with any academic background- can sit down and figure out how to do it. Curriculum is one tool. Often an important tool, but really JUST a tool. A homeschool teacher's background might be one tool. Community resources another. So on and so forth.

You can teach your kids!! Even math, yes. 

Oh, absolutely. I agree with this! But you shouldn't teach your kids math while feeling like you're terrible at it and hate it. If you want to teach your kids math, you should do your best to learn it with your kids and be positive about it. 

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OP --  you do not need to get a math tutor for your 5yo.  You can do this, you just need the right program for you and for him.  

Dimensions is a challenging program.  Definitely not the right fit for this scenario. 

I used RightStart with my kids in K-2nd grade.  It was the perfect program to teach me how to teach math.  It is scripted (tells you just what to do and say) but it is also very teacher intensive.  You reinforce the concepts by hands-on activities and games.  I do very highly recommend it, but it is not for everyone.  

Christian Light is a really great program that is very incremental.  It introduces a tiny bit of something new and then consistently reviews and builds very strong math skills.  It is workbook based and very non-threatening.  It is solid and thorough, but since the new info is presented in such small bits, it is really easy to implement and not feel lost as the teacher.  

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

Edited by kristin0713
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On 7/4/2020 at 1:24 PM, AngelaR said:

I thought that’s why there was curriculum available to buy, so anyone could teach their children.   Isn’t that the premise behind homeschooling?  

I think some people were a little surprised by this, but I would answer YES! I am currently doing Greek and Latin with my kids, and it is going very well, and I'm not learning ahead at all, and had no background knowledge. We either do it together or I use a combination of the answer key and the student instructions to figure out any issues, which has worked great and models finding the answer!

Also, I was good at math growing up, but I had no memory at all of how to do those tasks like borrowing, or dividing fractions, and certainly no clue about the best ways to teach it! We use Math Mammoth, which is excellent and written directly to the student. If my kids need help, we look at the text or go back to where it was explained. You don't need to be a master of a subject to teach your kids, just willing to learn and problem solve. And I should add that my kids all love math and are ahead of grade level!

Some homeschooling moms love to do more of a controlled teaching, with a guide. Some have a more relaxed "let's do this lesson together" approach. As long as you're willing to problem solve and approach it with a good attitude, you can teach anything! And if you top out on your skills, there are online classes at that point. Don't feel intimidated, just look for a program that is open and go, or written to the student, or with DVD lessons you can watch together.

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OP-- I could have written your question myself, down to the math teacher friend recommending Singapore! I had a "good" (if defined as "got good grades and did well on college entrance exams") but completely procedural math education myself. I did not feel confident teaching math the way I wanted to. I have enjoyed slowly reading through the WTM math book recommendations for parents!

I ended up with RightStart, mostly because of Kate Snow's math curriculum reviews. It has been a good program for us; our only problem is that is moves soo slowly at the beginning of each book that both years my son was about to tear his hair out...and then there was a switch and it got interesting. 🙂 If it happens again this year (2nd grade), I will know to skip or just touch lightly on the review part at the beginning. It is pricey because of the manipulatives, and it is very scripted (which works for me, but is not everyone's cup of tea). It is teacher intensive, but I think a lot of things have to be when you have really young children. Anyway, here is another recommendation for taking a look at that program, but also I think Kate Snow's would take a similar approach and could be a good fit. If I am not mistaken, she used RightStart for her children's first few years and thought highly of the program, so I imagine both programs would have similar strengths.

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6 hours ago, OKBud said:

 

Anyone can teach their children, but it's not because of the curriculum. It's because anyone- with any academic background- can sit down and figure out how to do it. Curriculum is one tool. Often an important tool, but really JUST a tool. A homeschool teacher's background might be one tool. Community resources another. So on and so forth.

You can teach your kids!! Even math, yes. 

You'll find your way if you stick to it, I PROMISE! People homeschool well with all sorts of pasts, restrictive current situations, goals, and unique challenges in their kids. You can **totally** do this if you want to!!

Thanks, I really appreciate that.  I was homeschooled myself by a mother who was not a teacher, but a nurse, and she relied entirely on the curriculum guide.  Given this experience, I have rather taken for granted the idea that as long as one has quality curriculum, homeschooling isn't rocket science and  anyone can do it.  I have hardly ever felt like my education was lacking, and when I did feel that way, it was generally more along the lines of "Why didn't they teach me how to think better for myself at my missionary secondary boarding school?" not necessarily something I felt lacking from elementary school.  I was taught Calvert math (old school from the 80s) and then Saxon math in high school (a boarding school, not homeschool). I have always felt like I did just fine in life, not particularly liking math.  I just assumed that some people like math/science, others like history/the Arts.  And I can tell you, the moment I didn't have to take any more math (college Algebra), I quit, much to my delight.   I do have two Master's degrees, so I had to reteach myself a lot of stuff I had forgotten in order to pass the GRE, but I did it.   I'm a teacher so I'm all about school.   In fact, a course I took for continuing education for my teaching certificate back in January was all about how research shows that people with and without college degrees who choose to homeschool have children who do equally well in school.  Sort of along the lines of what you said.  The main issue, according to that research, was essentially parental involvement, and that parents who homeschool are of course more involved in their child's education, no matter the level of education achieved by the parent. So thank you for your affirming words!  

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41 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

OP --  you do not need to get a math tutor for your 5yo.  You can do this, you just need the right program for you and for him.  

Dimensions is a challenging program.  Definitely not the right fit for this scenario. 

I used RightStart with my kids in K-2nd grade.  It was the perfect program to teach me how to teach math.  It is scripted (tells you just what to do and say) but it is also very teacher intensive.  You reinforce the concepts by hands-on activities and games.  I do very highly recommend it, but it is not for everyone.  

Christian Light is a really great program that is very incremental.  It introduces a tiny bit of something new and then consistently reviews and builds very strong math skills.  It is workbook based and very non-threatening.  It is solid and thorough, but since the new info is presented in such small bits, it is really easy to implement and not feel lost as the teacher.  

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

Yes...I don't plan to get a tutor for my 5 year old.  When he wants to do calculus, sure, bring on the tutor!!!!  In the meantime, I'm going to give Kate Snow's new curriculum a try.  I can totally get down with hopping on one leg to learn the letter one.  It sounds more fun, and doesn't fill me with as much dread as opening the TM for Dimensions K.  

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I actually feel very affirming of people's ability to teach lots of things. But yes, I'd make sure to learn the material ahead so you know where it's going. I'm going to have to do the same for material I don't know well myself -- for me, that isn't math, but I'm absolutely going to figure out how to learn some more history and geography that I know right now, and I'll probably need to go over quite a bit of high school science as well. 

18 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

I have always felt like I did just fine in life, not particularly liking math.  I just assumed that some people like math/science, others like history/the Arts.  And I can tell you, the moment I didn't have to take any more math (college Algebra), I quit, much to my delight.

In my opinion, that attitude is not setting up your kids for math success. There are obviously innate differences in aptitude, but feeling like some people are probably not math/science people isn't a good way to start out. 

I absolutely think you can teach your kids. I think you will do a vastly better job of teaching your kids if you re-learn the material, this time making sure to understand it and not to do it by rote, and if you stop thinking of yourself as someone who's just bad at math and hates it. If you've ever had inspiring teachers in your life who encouraged you to succeed, I would guess they were not people who made the subjects seem awful and unpleasant. 

You might not be naturally a mathy person, but I promise that if you work hard at it, you'll be able to understand it, and it won't be as unpleasant as it was in elementary school, when you had no choice. And I'm sure there are lots of posters on here who would be happy to help both you and your kids learn :-). 

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1 hour ago, Emily ZL said:

We use Math Mammoth, which is excellent and written directly to the student. If my kids need help, we look at the text or go back to where it was explained.

Miller also has tonnes of videos on the MM website! I mention it as often as possible because there's usually someone who doesn't know about them 🙂 She is so wonderful ❤️ 

https://www.mathmammoth.com/videos/

Edited by OKBud
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1 hour ago, AngelaR said:

  It sounds more fun, and doesn't fill me with as much dread as opening the TM for Dimensions K.  

Awesome!  Sounds like the next attempt will go much better. 

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Yeah, don't make a 4 yr old do worksheets. Or a 5 yr old either, if they hate them. Plenty of time for that later, I promise. 

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On 7/6/2020 at 5:58 PM, square_25 said:

Super interesting! 

I don't think I've ever tried place value at this age, and perhaps I don't have enough manipulatives around, so I have no idea if my kids could do it or not! 

How do you teach numbers greater than 9 or 10 without place value? Place value is the very next big thing I teach after subitizing to 5, at around 3-4 years of age. Just curious as to other approaches.

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4 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

How do you teach numbers greater than 9 or 10 without place value? Place value is the very next big thing I teach after subitizing to 5, at around 3-4 years of age. Just curious as to other approaches.

Hmmmm, I think all I've ever done is rote counting and reading numbers until we actually get to addition. DD7 liked counting up to 100, but we never really explained what the digits meant. 

I always figure place value is really learned when you actually have to regroup, so I don't worry about it a ton early on, to be honest. At age 3 or 4, we do addition on fingers, and I recently started teaching DD4 to count on -- she can't quite do it yet, but I'm at least getting her to count the first number fast, without touching the dots on the dice. We also just talk informally about numbers. 

With DD7, we started "official" written math lessons at age 4.5 or a bit later, but that's because she had taught herself to write, and I saw no reason why not. I don't know what we'll do with DD4 -- I've never wanted to force a kid to learn to write, so we may very well do something less formal but scheduled for a while. We'll see :-). 

Edited by square_25

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

Hmmmm, I think all I've ever done is rote counting and reading numbers until we actually get to addition. DD7 liked counting up to 100, but we never really explained what the digits meant. 

I always figure place value is really learned when you actually have to regroup, so I don't worry about it a ton early on, to be honest. At age 3 or 4, we do addition on fingers, and I recently started teaching DD4 to count on -- she can't quite do it yet, but I'm at least getting her to count the first number fast, without touching the dots on the dice. We also just talk informally about numbers. 

With DD7, we started "official" written math lessons at age 4.5 or a bit later, but that's because she had taught herself to write, and I saw no reason why not. I don't know what we'll do with DD4 -- I've never wanted to force a kid to learn to write, so we may very well do something less formal but scheduled for a while. We'll see :-). 

Oh interesting. I don't encourage rote counting until around 6-7 years old after addition/subtraction and around when they start multiplication. And then it's just to make sure they can and to introduce skip counting. I do ask them to rote count in foreign languages though to practice vocabulary.

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24 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

Oh interesting. I don't encourage rote counting until around 6-7 years old after addition/subtraction and around when they start multiplication. And then it's just to make sure they can and to introduce skip counting. I do ask them to rote count in foreign languages though to practice vocabulary.

DD7 really loved rote counting and it didn't bother me. DD4 is less interested and I really don't care whether she does it much or not. It does show the pattern, though... if you teach binary, the pattern is actually surprisingly helpful! 

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I don't have advice about which of the 2 math programs mentioned in the original question would be best - we never used the Snow program.  Singapore was a good fit for us, but my kids never did the K books - they started with 1st or 2nd in K and I scribed when they couldn't keep up with the writing requirements. I'm not a 'math is fun!' person, butt my husband and are both STEM people so math was something that we incorporated into life when our kids were little. But, which program you choose for K math isn't what I wanted to post about.  There's nothing wrong with your planning consisting mainly of 'I want my K kid to learn K math' and then choosing a program that you think will work based on your family - do you need interesting pictures, clean pages, incremental steps, very little repetition, lots of repetition, etc?  Once you've done it for a year or 2, you may get ideas of specific things that you need to work on with your student, or you may find that you're doing fine and so you just move to the next level.  My kids used Singapore all through elementary because it worked for them (and others can say the same about Saxon or Miquon, or many other programs).  At different times with my kids, I've realized that we needed to work on something specific and made plans to fix those missing skills - fractions for one student, converting mental math to written problems on a page for the other, for instance.  So, we did a bunch of Life of Fred fractions in 5th grade with one student, and I sat side-by-side with the other to do pre-A word problems on paper that kiddo could easily do in his head  But, barring a problem, it's OK to just want to do the next thing in a program.  

You'll also figure out how much you need to relearn as you move through the program.  A good teachers guide can help.  I was fine with elementary math, although I did glance at the teacher's guide to make sure that the approach that I was using was compatible with the models shown.  My little kids wouldn't have had the patience for sitting still while I tried to look it up on the fly, so I looked ahead.  But, once they got older, it was no problem for us to write an algebra problem or geometry angles problem and then both of us stare at it for a bit, contributing what we knew.  Sometimes I'd use the teacher's guide, and sometimes we'd logic through it together.  Which approach works for you will depend on your situation.  I have often found myself not doing a subject the way that I had planned, but if something is working I leave it alone.  

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