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This is our first year HS’ing. My children are 9yo and in 4^{th} grade. I purchased the Life of Fred Elementary series and we started with the first book in the elementary series. My children like LOF but I think I need to add a more traditional math curriculum. They’ve been doing random worksheets every once in a while but I am afraid I will not cover everything. They also go to a Montessori teacher’s house 1x/week and often work on math. She has them play math games and use Montessori materials. (If I knew we were going to continue to HS I wouldn’t be so worried about their possibly being behind. My son is considering PS next year for 5^{th} grade and he wants to be prepared.)
The background…My children went to PS for 1^{st} grade and used Everyday Math. They were in Montessori for 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} grades. They are very comfortable with the Montessori manipulatives but I think they w/b considered ‘behind’ in math if they were to go to PS. e.g. They can divide and carry into the millions using test tubes but cannot divide at all on paper. They can do simple division in their head and understand the concept. I was shocked that, on paper, they could not add or subtract with carrying. I showed them once and they are doing it fine now. They need a little work on their multiplication facts (7’s, 8’s, 9’s and 12’s).
So…I considered the Key To books (which is what they would be using this year, along with Mortensen Math for algebra, if they w/h stayed in Montessori). I also looked into Math Mammoth and Beast Academy. A friend of mine suggested Saxon and loaned me her 3^{rd} grade books to review. Saxon seems overwhelming/cumbersome to me but maybe that is just the size and number of books. Maybe LOF is enough?
Any advice? I think I might need to start with a 3^{rd} grade level to fill in any gaps. I printed the Math Mammoth assessment test for third grade but haven’t had them take it yet.
TIA
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Are there any areas you are concerned about?
I really like Singapore Math and I highly recommend it. However it is not just a supplement; it is a full on grade by grade math curriculum. Right now my son is going through 2nd grade books. I got him both the textbooks and workbooks which works out to be four books a per grade. I am not sure if it is my son or the way the Singapore math books are written (or both) but he seems to zip through them without hitting any steep learning curves. The incline has been very comfortable for him so far. He also plays a lot of math games on the ipad which I am sure helps with the retention of basic math facts. Speaking of games, although we have not used it, I have heard of Timez Attack as being a great way of learning multiplication facts. This is another thing to consider. If you are just trying to strengthen what is already there, then there are many games that help do that and be a true supplement/support instead of replicating what they have learned/are learning in LOF.
Are there any areas you are concerned about?
I really like Singapore Math and I highly recommend it. However it is not just a supplement; it is a full on grade by grade math curriculum. Right now my son is going through 2nd grade books. I got him both the textbooks and workbooks which works out to be four books a per grade. I am not sure if it is my son or the way the Singapore math books are written (or both) but he seems to zip through them without hitting any steep learning curves. The incline has been very comfortable for him so far. He also plays a lot of math games on the ipad which I am sure helps with the retention of basic math facts. Speaking of games, although we have not used it, I have heard of Timez Attack as being a great way of learning multiplication facts. This is another thing to consider. If you are just trying to strengthen what is already there, then there are many games that help do that and be a true supplement/support instead of replicating what they have learned/are learning in LOF.
I am concerned that their nontraditional Montessori instruction might have left gaps in their math education; but I haven't identified all of the gaps. Children who left the Montessori school after 5th or 6th grade did really well when they transferred to PS. But children leaving after 2nd or 3th struggle and are considered behind in math. I am not sure if this is because they have not completed the entire program or if it is because the Lower EL teachers changed a few years ago. Either way, if my son decides to go to PS next year for 5th I want to make sure he is prepared. And the fact that he could not subtract two four digit numbers with carrying, after third grade, concerns me.
I guess I s/h said I am looking for a math curriculum and LOF will be the supplement! According to the creator of LOF, it is a full curriculum...but I am not convinced. LOF is strange. They are learning, but I am not sure they are learning all they need to know. (and they are learning other things that most math programs wouldn't cover.) I had faith in Montessori's nontraditional approach and have been let down a bit. Now I am questioning LOF since it is not a typical math program. OTOH, my children respond well to nontraditional teaching and they melt down when given worksheets.
My children used to play Timez Attack and they seemed to have their math facts down...but I guess they didn't.
I haven't looked at Singapore Math. It is good to hear it moves at a comfortable pace. I am going to look into Singapore Math.
Thanks
Ah, okay. I went back and reread your first post also. So, it sounds like they are now ok (once you showed them how) with adding and subtracting with carrying but are still weak in that skill and unable when it comes to larger (4 digit numbers). Ds is nearly finished with the first set of 2nd grade books and there has been a lot of two and three digit subtracting and adding while carrying. They have now introduced basic division and multiplication simultaneously so that students are able to see the connection between the two operations. The second set of 2nd grade books go through a lot of practice with subtraction and addition with carrying (still 3 digits) and around the end, they introduce very basic fractions at which point they also do money with decimals instead of using whole numbers (like $1.75) because these two are interconnected. It is easier to see 1/4 of pizza is like .25c. They also do analog clock practice after they cover fractions because that is also related to fractions! Really basic, light introduction to prepare them for the next level.
I looked over the 3rd grade books and as far as the four operations are concerned, it looks like four digit adding with carrying begins in earnest in 3rd grade with heavy practice built in and goes into multiplication and division more heavily. Maybe that is where your kiddos are?
I find Singapore thorough without being needlessly repetitive. Simple in its presentation, the scope and sequence of what is covered is done in a very clever way. With each additional grade, it delve a bit more in each math area in a very organized coherent way. Both my son and I enjoy it. Best of all, my son does it all by himself. He reads the textbook and does the workbook. The books are written with the student in mind. He is basically teaching himself math.
The Singapore Math website has placement tests. I understand these tests are pretty spot on. Maybe test your kids and see where they fit? Here is a link: http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_s/12.htm
I hope someone else will also chip in here with their thoughts. I hope this was helpful. Granted SM is not for everyone but I thought I ought to mention it since it is working so well for us.
E.
I have used and enjoy Bob Jones Press math (if yoiu are not religious, those parts can easily be skipped) and Christian Light. Both are full programs. I am using BJU math 6 this year with Life of Fred middle school series :)
sorry...I shouldn't stay up until 4:00am and post  I do not make sense .
When I first gave them four digit problems w/carrying, they couldn't do it on paper...only with manipulatives. However, once I showed them how to carry when adding or subtracting, they caught on right away and can do any number of digits now. (I gave them worksheets several times a week for two weeks and they did fine; no matter how many digits.)
The fact that Singapore does not have a lot of repetition might be a good thing for my children. They understand the math idea...but need to do the work on paper instead of using manipulatives. Using the above example, I only had to explain it once and they got it. The same with fractions...they can add, subtract, multiply, etc but not on a worksheet...only with materials or in their heads.
I have not heard of these programs. We are not religious so I look for secular curriculum. I'll look into them. Thx
I'll second the recommendation for Singapore. My kids started out with a manipulativesheavy nontraditional approach to math ("math lab" activities from Miquon). It gave them a very good conceptual understanding, and I found that when the time came for direct teaching of computational algorithms on paper, that translated very well into strong mainstream skillset. Our doorway into the pencilandpaper stuff was Singapore Primary Math at the late2ndgrade level and I found that it did a good job of capitalizing on their conceptual strengths unlike, say, Saxon or Teaching Textbooks, which are much more about teaching to the test and less about understanding. Singapore is low on repetition and big on mental math and problemsolving. It is a workbookoriented approach, but the workbooks are varied and unintimidating.
We found the Singapore placement tests to be accurate. My kids jumped in at a 2B to 3A level and completed the program through 6B in the space of 13 years. It set them up very well for high school math, though because they were quite young when they completed Singapore, they benefitted from a year or two of "prealgebra" enrichment before launching fullon into a high school curriculum.
miranda
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grownups
Dbsam, I think I now have a pretty clear picture :) Your kids seem to have a very good grasp of math concepts which is wonderful. That will make filling in the paper and pencil gaps even that much more easier! I am also very happy that Miranda chipped in with her two cents. Come to think of it, my son also had a very strong conceptual understanding of math before we started with SM. He has always been into math based games. He also did a stint in a Montessori school before I pulled him out and began homeschooling. All this helped his smooth transition into a workbook based approach to math. It has been super intuitive for him.
E.
moominmamma and Emaye,
Did/do you use the US version or the Standards edition?
I looked at the comparison of scope and sequence and am leaning toward the Standards edition.
thx
We mostly used the 3rd Edition (the original exported program from Singapore) but when it became impossible to find, we used the US Ed.. As a Canadian I have zero interest in adhering to Californian standards; I put more faith in Singaporean standards. The US edition is very true to the Singaporean edition, just with the addition of some US Standard measurement problems and some Americanization of details (Devon collects baseball cards rather than Menghui collecting Malaysian stamps).
Miranda
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grownups
I also used the U.S. edition and I have had zero second thoughts about it.
Thank you moominmamma and Emaye.
I have spent too many nights up late reading about math curricula! I need to purchase one before another month slips by.
Thank you for all your help.
Coming in late ... someone mentioned Timez Attack  but is there a version for homeschoolers? That seems to require school enrollment?
Also, has anyone used LOF in middle school? I am contemplating whether to buy the PreAlgebra and Algebra series. Anyone used it?
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... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
Regarding Timez Attack...we bought the online home version a couple of years ago. I'm not sure if it is set up the same now, but at the time there was a choice to purchase as a home user or a school.
ah, i see it now
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... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
We use LOF as a supplement rather as the base curriculum. For us, it does not provide enough practice and doesn't seem to cover as much as other programs. My oldest started on Singapore and then I switched him to Christian Light Education math in 3rd grade because Singapore was moving to fast for him and he needed the extra practice. I really like the CLE math for him because it constantly reviews older topics, and seems to be very thorough. They are individual workbooks as well, so it is super easy to follow through each lesson. They have lots of speed drills and repetition of ideas.
My younger son is now in Singapore. It works well for him because it is simple and quick.
Mom to two boys, ages 8 and 11, and one blessing due May 8th.
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@rumi , you can download the free version of Timez Attack @ http://www.bigbrainz.com/Multiplication.php and then go from there.
I also like Singapore. For elementary math in our house, we have found singapore to be a good fit with math mammoth as supplement (if needed). I did like Beast Academy, but they just haven't published enough yet. Also, I really don't think it would be good for everyone. Regarding Saxon: I didn't like this program at all, though there are some people who do. Also, Everyday Math is a disaster of a program.
I originally was going to suggest that you do a placement test (either math mammoth or singapore) and see where the gaps are. If they know all the 3rd grade stuff except one thing I would just get a topic specific book from math mammoth to catch them up before moving on to a fourth grade curriculum.
Amy
ETA: we use the US edition because I like that both measurement systems (US and metric) are included.
Mom to three very active girls Anna (15), Kayla (12), Maya (9).
How far are you in the LOF elementary series? We're in E now, and I find it to cover lots and be welldesigned. It SEEMS random, but when you keep plugging away, you see the repetition and the building of concepts. It's fine to use other things too, but LOF is better than I think you think it is. :)
We have Singapore around (probably because Miranda talked about it years ago :)). We have used it some and it is a wellmade, straightforward program. There is a lot more practice in Singapore than there is in LOF, but there is less than other programs.
We're only up to 2nd grade right now, so it may be that with a 4th grader you'd need to go farther in the LOF books to really get what you are looking for.
How far are you in the LOF elementary series? We're in E now, and I find it to cover lots and be welldesigned. It SEEMS random, but when you keep plugging away, you see the repetition and the building of concepts. It's fine to use other things too, but LOF is better than I think you think it is. :)
We're only up to 2nd grade right now, so it may be that with a 4th grader you'd need to go farther in the LOF books to really get what you are looking for.
I think you may be correct. We started LOF in September and haven't been doing it daily. My daughter is in book 'E' and my son is in book 'D'. My daughter works in spurts and will do quite a few chapters but not often. My son likes to do one or two chapters a few times/week. (I was comfortable using LOF alone until my son expressed an interest in going to PS for 5th grade and he said he does not want to be behind. My concern was magnified because when I was on the board of the charter school they attended in 1st grade, I heard many times how important it was for the school to be two grade levels ahead in math. I wasn't sure if the regular public school had the same attitude.) Even if we purchase Singapore Math, I want to continue with LOF because my children and I like the series. And, we already have the Elementary, Intermediate, and Fraction books. The teacher my children see 1x/week gave them the Key to Fractions book last week and she said they finished 1/2 of it in one sitting on their own and didn't want to stop when it was time to leave. (She is an ex Montessori teacher but runs her homeschool classes using a Sudbury model.) I've asked her to make sure she covers some math and she intends to give them the Key to Decimals book next. So, I think we are attacking math from several directions. Well see what we end up using. (Actually math is the only subject we are 'attacking'. I am not sure if I am unschooling the other subjects or just being an incompetent homeschooler! I love the idea of unschooling but am too worried about math to trust the process.)
I haven't ordered Singapore Math yet. Someone else suggested RightStart and I started doing more research; but stopped because I was driving myself crazy! So...the kids took the Singapore placement tests today. Their immediate reaction was crying that they didn't know how to do any of it. They thought it was a test and coming from Montessori with no tests, they panicked. But once they calmed down they did better. They had trouble understanding what was wanted. e.g. If the paper said "What is the difference between 1100 and 763?" They said they didn't understand 'difference' between two numbers. But when I told them what was wanted they could do the work. This happened repeatedly, so I know they need practice doing math in a more traditional manner. I am considering ordering the 3B workbooks and let them work through the workbooks. I will also order the textbook so we can use it for weak areas but we will not necessarily go through the entire 3B text book.
I hope this makes sense...I have a migraine today  ugh!
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