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12 y/o unschooler needs math book suggestions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I unschool my 7, 10 and 12 y/o and we recently had to do some testing to prove to the gov't here that that the kids are doing OK.  It turns out that they are ok but 'behind' in math.  (this is not surprising to me since we don't 'do' math).  It is upsetting to my 12 y/o who wasn't exactly told the results of the tests but he gets that he's not up to par with his schooled friends in math. 

We live in a country where the books sold are not in the language I speak although I can decipher the math books.  I have just a day or two to order something on e-bay or amazon for the 12/yo because a friend can deliver it- but also for the 10 and 7 y/o.  My 12/yo is currently working out of a math book for 10y/o's and almost has it complete.  He says it's about the level kids in school are at anyway around here (we're in the Caribbean and school tends to be delayed).  He is the only one of the three that wants to do math.  We are using Khan Academy videos to get some of the info - today he did reducing fractions to the lowest common denominator - and he gets it pretty easily.  My 10y/o and 7 y/o do not want to do math problems.  The issue is that the gov't here is going to make me get tests each year so it may be that I need to introduce some sort of formal study.



Anyway - that was the long way of asking if any of you have book recommendations for Math. 


thanks in advance!!

post #2 of 5

I generally make dd's math worksheets myself but have lately been using the following: 


- Singapore (she did one entire workbook last year but this year I am just looking through it and making worksheets for her based on the material)

- Key to Algebra , Key to Geometry - again, I am referring to the book and making the worksheets. 

- Life of Fred


She has read LoF in the past but never done the problems until now. 


The reason I make the worksheets is partly because that is how we have done it from the beginning since she always found fault with published workbooks.  But now, even though we are pretty happy with these workbooks, she is obviously not going to do all three of them in their entirety so I just draw from them and keep making the worksheets as we have done in the past. 


For a while she was also doing Khan pretty regularly and I found this to be very convenient as far as reporting to the school authorities was concerned (we have a review twice a year), because I could just print the reports from the website.  But recently they changed the format of the site and if there is one thing dd resists, it is change.  So bye bye Khan.  


Singapore and Key To  are not very expensive.  Key To is a bargain, actually. Both are really basic with out colored pictures, detailed explanations or fancy formatting.  Just problems to solve - that is what dd likes about them.  Life of Fred is kind of expensive but not consumable so you can reuse them for every kid, if you have several - or you can resell it, it seems to retain its value.  It's written like a story so even if you start with a book that is at a lower level than what your child needs, it is still interesting and then they can continue on through the levels.   But if all they want is practice exercises and no story, then no need for Life of Fred.  Khan Academy itself could be enough - you mentioned that you are watching the videos.  Are they also doing the problems? 

post #3 of 5

I was going to suggest both Key To and Singapore as well. Singapore is more comprehensive so if your kids want the comfortable feeling of having "covered everything" it would be a good route to go. There are placement tests available online that are pretty accurate. Each year's worth of curriculum covers a variety of topics appropriate for that level. 


Key To ... is good for gap-filling at the middle school level. It would be especially useful for your 12-year-old if he has specific topic areas that he recognizes he does not have mastery of that he wants to focus on. So if he's keen to figure out how to work with fractions, the Key To Fractions series would give him an unintimidating way of working through pretty much everything about fractions. 


Both programs have inexpensive consumable workbooks that my kids have enjoyed. 



post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you both!

I looked up singapore and didn't get the levels so the online placement tests was important to know about. 

I am tempted by life of fred b/c maybe it would work for my younger ones who are math resistant.  I don't quite get what it is about though.  We have a book called "the cat in numberland" though that describes the number infinity in a story and is just brilliant. (of course the only one interested is my now 12 y/o but he even liked it when he was 8...)  Wondering if it's something like that if you've heard of it?



post #5 of 5

Cat in Numberland looks interesting  ... I have never read it. 


Have you read Flatland


Also - how about videos of Vi Hart? 


And how could I forget our very most favorite series of math books (not textbooks or workbooks, just math entertainment) --- Murderous Maths by Kjartan Poskitt.   A laugh and a half!  And dd has picked up quite a bit of math from them as well. 

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