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#1 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Every few weeks, someone will post a question on this forum about choosing a math curriculum or how to "do math" if you're unschooling. We seem to agonize over math curricula as much as our decisions to home edcuate at all! I've seen things like "I'm not sleeping at night over this, what if I was wrong?" and "I felt like I was getting married when I finally commited to a math program." I think it's high time that we had a sticky on the subject! If you're using a particular program or have experience with one, please post the following here:

1. Title your post with the name of the program.

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#2 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

I did this program with my 7-year-old niece last year. We used Math 2; her level did not have a particular influence on my choice of this program.

What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

ChibiChibi is very bright, absolutely loved math, and is a kinesthetic learner. She can learn absolutely anything if she's permitted to wiggle, stand, clap her hands, run, or jump while she's doing it.

Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

The Saxon early elementary program is extremely manipulative-heavy, which is why I chose to use it for ChibiChibi (she's all about moving concrete objects). It is, however, seriously incremental in it's approach. It makes sense, but the increments are absolutely tiny; Chibi was bored if we didn't do at least 2 lessons at a time, and we often did as many as 5. She worked through the entire program in less than 5 months. The repetition was overkill for her; Chibi understood concepts the first time around, and didn't need to do them again and again and again to make them stick; it felt like a lot of busy work. The scripted lessons meant that prep time was minimal for me (I only had to skim the Teacher's Guide and assemble the required materials) but I would have gladly done a bit more work to keep the busy work out of our lives. Even though the version we used was ostensibly for homeschoolers, there seemed to be a heavy focus on managing your child's time, which came across to me as a token effort to change a book on classroom managment into something which could be useful in a home/family situation. It didn't quite work.

Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

We are classical homeschoolers, and The Well-Trained Mind rated Saxon very highly. I looked into some other programs briefly before deciding that the heavy manipulative approach might be well suited to ChibiChibi.

What do you like/dislike about the program?

I still like the incremental approach, but I think that the increments should be bigger and that there should be less repetition. I really liked all the manipulatives, and ChibiChibi did, too. It really felt like I was walking in shackles, though; it was a bit like slogging through mud to get through the whole thing, and I can't imagine doing it one lesson at a time. It was also extremely expensive (though I didn't have to pay for it, and I bought it on eBay); because there are no textbooks for the k-3 levels, you'd have to buy two new workbooks for each child at each level. If you're not independantly wealthy and you've got more than one child, this could definately be a problem as the workbooks cost us $23 each new on eBay! :

Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

I'm not home educating ChibiChibi this year. I know that the late elementary/high school program is different, but I haven't looked into it yet as I don't have children at that level. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would not choose Saxon for Chibi, but another program into which I could easily incorporate extra manipulative work for her.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#3 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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Math U See, Primer level

Ds just turned 6, and we're doing the Primer level

He is a hands on learner.

This program does use manipulatives, not on every exercise though. Usually I can read the directions to ds and he goes on his way doing as many pages as he wants. It's definitely suited to homeschooling! There is sometimes too much repetition for ds, but we get around that by letting him skip some and then we come back to it later, maybe another day, that way he's not too bored.

We picked MUS after reading about it on here and also on the homeschool reviews website.

So far there's nothing I don't like, I like the simplicity, the manipulatives, and ease of use, and the way it helps us stay relaxed about it.

We plan on sticking with MUS for both our boys and well into the future. I think it's a good fit for us.

~Rose~ 

Homeschooling Mom to Two Boys, 13 & 9. rainbow1284.gif Baby Girl Arriving April 2013!

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#4 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

BeanBean is doing a kindergarten level program this year. This did influence my decision to use Singapore with him.

What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

Very visual, though BeanBean seems to pick things up in a variety of ways. He's got a strong visual-spatial component to his learning style, and has little/no trouble remembering things that he hears. Like me, if he hears and sees something at the same time, it sticks. BeanBean enjoys learning, and has been harassing me with books of all kinds of late, eager for my active participation in all of his endeavors.

Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

Primary Math is based on the Singaporean system. Children in Singapore consistently score very highly on standardized math tests, hence the program's popularity amongst American homeschoolers. Each year requires two textbooks (inexpensive, non-consumable paperbacks) and two workbooks (inexpensive, consumables). The low cost is definately a benefit!

I don't have the teacher's guides, but the program does not rely on manipulatives at all. It is very visually-oriented; the pages are full color and visually apealling. It looks a bit cartoonish, and if you're not mathematically inclined you might be skeptical that something which looks so much like a comic book could actually teach your child mathematics. The program teaches math "the way that math people think," and seems to me to be quite effective. There is very little in the way of repetition and drill, and the lessons are brief, just about right for a kindergartener.

Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

After a year of doing Saxon with Chibi, I decided that it was probably too much repetition for BeanBean. He also loves manipulatives, but doesn't seem to need them as much as his cousin did. I asked for opinions here and heard a bit more about Miquon and Singapore; after visiting a local homeschool resource center and looking through the books in person, I chose Singapore. I thought that the strong visual elements would appeal more to BeanBean than Miquon.

What do you like/dislike about the program?

I like the short lessons, colorful pages, and the price. BeanBean is doing very well with it, and loves to pelt me over the head with his math book by way of waking me up, so I feel like I've made the correct decision with him. I wish that there was more manipulative use incorporated into the program, but it's not at all difficult to include manipulatives in the lessons. I'm actually looking into EarlyBird 1A for my daughter, because she loves to "do math" with her brother but she's not ready for Primary Math 1A (which is what he's doing). Oh! EarlyBird 2B and Primary Math 1A overlap substantially, so if your child has already completed the EarlyBird books he will fly through Primary Math 1A with no trouble at all. I have only seen EarlyBird 2B, though, and don't feel qualified to critique the program.

Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

BeanBean is doing very well with the Primary Math program, and I think that we'll stick with it at least until he finishes elementary level work. I'll have to reassess once he gets to the higher levels.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#5 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 06:33 PM
 
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I'll have to answer in past tense :

1. Title your post with the name of the program.

Had none. I guess we could call it Mommy's Eclectic Math, originally inspired largely by Waldorf techniques I got from some pretty cool little books like these - Waldorf math - although the two I used are not among the ones listed there.

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

He's now in college. But I began doing math with him when he was almost 8, after he'd been in the 1st grade. Up till that year in 1st grade, he hadn't done any math at all - because he had been in a Waldorf kindergarten. And I pretty much quit doing formally structured studies with him during that first year of homeschooling.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

It's hard to say. When he was pursuing learning on his own, he thrived - the strong internal learning drive took over the controls and he didn't have to think about his style. If I was the one trying to figure it out, I tried to provide him with multi-sensory experiences that could fill in his needs. He's definitely mathematically talented at his age, and always has been - but I don't know how much that has to do with it never having been ruined for him.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

I started out with big blank "lesson books" I got from a Waldorf supply store. I used large, waxy, beautifully colored pencils to illustrate things as I explained concepts to him - like a vine with sets of 4 berries going up the stem and numbers entered along the way to show skip counting. I eventually realized it was a lot of fuss over nothing - he could easily learn any of that stuff quite rapidly without having anyone or any program spoon feed ("teach") it to him. Still provided some play with numbers - like things from the Marily Burns and Naomi Pappas books, and generally just made math a fun little thing to think about - just occasionally playing with numbers and seeing the patterns. Provided computer games. Much later, I got him the Keys To series and other things, and he used to do a bit from each of them, but didn't need to finish them in order to get enough out of them. He didn't really use much of it, and still scored very well on his SAT test for college entrance just from getting a tutor to catch him up to speed on algebra, even though he's never formally studied it (and he got scholarship offers based largely on his SAT scores).

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

He had been in a Waldorf kindergarten, so I had familiarized myself with other ways than what were being done in the public schools and had made it my business to look around and see what all was out there - and to find ways of "doing no harm." When his dad had a big anxiety attack when our son was 10 over that fact that we weren't following a structured program, I took him to a math tutoring center for testing and assessment and was told very enthusiastically by the head of the center that he was way ahead of the game, understood "real math" (unlike the kids she spends most of her time trying to undo damage for that has been caused by making math boring and laborious) and had no need of her services.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

Liked that it worked! And that it did no harm. Disliked that I didn't realize sooner that he was doing just fine in his teens when he wasn't "doing math."

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

I changed approaches constantly in reaction to his needs, and eventually left him to his own devices - and that worked perfectly for him. My math article - "The Delights of Exploring Math With Your Child" - with links to resources.

- Lillian
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#6 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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Thank you Lillian! I am feeling far more confident now! My DD is only 5.5 so we haven't done any math curriculum, but I am really wanting to stay away from math the way I learned it
We do talk about numbers every day as we go through our lives. One day not long ago she suddneny said "Mama, if 3+3 is 6, then 30+30 must be 60
She was so excited and it didn't take much teaching in my part. I am so math phobic due to the horrors of learning it a different way than my mom did! She wasn't able to help me at home because her way was "wrong" even though she came up with the "right" answers
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#7 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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Before hurriedly running off on an errand, I wrote:
Quote:
By the way, when he was studying for the SAT, he mentioned to me that he knew there were a lot of other ways to do some of the operations but that he was going to just go ahead and let the tutor show him the most common ones so that he could just learn them for the test and get on with it. Most kids grow up assuming there's only one way to do things - but his experience had showed him there were lots, but he was willing to just take a short route that would get him on with other things that were most important to him without having to put a lot of thought into it.
I doubt that this was clear. He grew up thinking of math as something you figure out or understand and work with, rather than thinking of it as a series of set routines that you memorize and then figure out how to use. So what he was saying was that to fill in the things he didn't already know, he was going to forgo figuring them out for himself - which would ordinarily have been his preference - and just go ahead and learn commonly used algorithms. For instance, when he was around 9 or so, I overheard a conversation outside the window on our trampoline. He and two friends were out there, on boy who went to a little private school and one who went to a local public one. The one from the private school said, "I heard a problem the older kids were working on the other day and I've been trying to figure it out - it was "How much is 3/7 of 21." The two school kids talked back and forth about what you were supposed to divide by what or multiply or what... My son hadn't done formal math since 1st grade, so he didn't think like that. He thought to himself, "Okay, what can go into 21 seven times... Maybe 4 - so 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 - no, not 4. Maybe 3 - so 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21. THREE! It's THREE. So 3, 6, NINE! 3/7 of 21 is NINE." He came up with his answer just before they came up with it. THAT incident was a major turning point in my own concerns - I knew then that it was going to be okay. The boy who brought the problem up in the first place did okay too, though - he's majoring in physics in college now. Lillian
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#8 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie
I am so math phobic due to the horrors of learning it a different way than my mom did! She wasn't able to help me at home because her way was "wrong" even though she came up with the "right" answers
That brought back memories of when I was studying Spanish. My mother was Mexican, raised in L.A. (I don't use the term Mexican American for her, because she found it obnoxious to mess around with terminology that had been used forever by the people it applies to). I was always asking her the STUPIDEST questions like "What's the past participle of [whatever]?" She'd "tsk" and shake her head and tell me once again that she didn't know any of that. I couldn't understand why not at the time - after all, she spoke the language, f'r Pete's sake! Must have annoyed the heck out of her... - Lillian
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#9 of 77 Old 01-02-2006, 09:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie
My DD is only 5.5 so we haven't done any math curriculum, but I am really wanting to stay away from math the way I learned it
We do talk about numbers every day as we go through our lives. One day not long ago she suddneny said "Mama, if 3+3 is 6, then 30+30 must be 60
She was so excited and it didn't take much teaching in my part. I am so math phobic due to the horrors of learning it a different way than my mom did! She wasn't able to help me at home because her way was "wrong" even though she came up with the "right" answers
You might want to take a look at the living math site and yahoo group for ways to incorporate math and math concepts into 'everyday' through books, games etc.

Karen

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#10 of 77 Old 01-03-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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Thanks for this interesting thread! I love math and am home sick today so forgive me for the length of this! Also thanks for the resources everyone has shared so far!

Level/age - 5th grade, we have used Waldorf-based instruction since kindergarten, but we have broadened it. In earlier grades, we used pure Waldorf (such as the math gnomes, ball-bouncing, clapping games, etc.) with Cuisenaire and Miquon add-ons. About late 2nd grade I found Golden Beetle's syllabus & this site:

Mathematical Tale Winds
http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~jameis/
Routine and non-routine math story problems for 1st-5th grades

Now we mix in a wider sphere of ideas and personal interests. I follow a Waldorf syllabus, write my own adapted lessons, and then follow up with practice online, in workbooks such as Singapore, and Barron's "Painless" series of books. We still do a LOT of hands-on and whole-body work.

Learning Style My Fifth-grader is a linguistic learner. He seems to take in math concepts fairly easily and understand what steps he is to do next - very logically - etc...but he was challenged by memorizing the tables and isn't a natural at math. I do need to teach him or he has trouble at first. He also seems to benefit from manipulatives and physical work - in taking in the concepts.

Program Details
Well, we do math like everything else in 3-week block periods. We study just one main subject at a time, and then have a secondary subject-more artsy- in the afternoons. If the main lesson is another subject area - there is usually at least a small amount of math worked in - such as some geometry in Egypt & Greece, basic word problems in Physics, etc. Sometimes the artsy blocks are mathematical things like paper folding or origami.

When we're doing a math Main Lesson block, we start with an opening activity - usually a verse coupled with movement - something rhythmic or that expresses the quality of numbers. This leads into a short exercise to review basics, usually a mental math challenge problem. I LOVE non-routine math that makes them think!

Then I actually teach the lesson, bringing in as many senses as possible. I have a few sample lessons posted here. I rarely use a book in the teaching time, but rely mostly on hands-on exploration or observing patterns that show the concept. Usually there's at least one activity - whether making something or measuring, etc. I now use the Mental Math books by Lobosco a LOT.

Then we work through the idea in a sample problem or two and then I give him follow-up worksheets or text. I've used Singapore Math, Barron's Painless Geometry, Word Problem booklets from the teacher supply stores, and online supplements such as Math Maven Mysteries and the many resources at Living Math.

Natural Math online was a logical approach to memorizing the multipication tables that really worked with my son.

5) Why Waldorf? To me this was a basic decision when I chose to homeschool. I've simply broadened the traditional Waldorf approach to follow the philosophy of teaching to the student rather than from the curriculum.

I like it, find the only disadvantages to be time... and time. And I plan to continue, with only one change when my second child starts grade school - I will alternate writing lessons and buying pre-packaged Waldorf curricula for each child each year. I just don't have time to do it this way for both.

Best wishes,

Lucie

P.S. His little brother (my 6 yr old kindergartner) is showing signs of natural ability, asking me all sorts of math problems and proclaiming very proudly that 8 + 8 is 16. The kindergartner will likely know his addition tables before he starts official Waldorf math at age 7. He likes to play with the Cusenaire rods. He's a logical-body kinesthetic learner who I think will also benefit from Waldorf.
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#11 of 77 Old 01-03-2006, 02:27 AM
 
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1. Title your post with the name of the program.
Just finishing up Primer, about to start on Alpha.

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

She just turned 5. I wanted something that would suit the attention span of a younger child and not have distractions such as cartoon pictures on the worksheets. Just black and white math, with some manipulatives.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

Abi seems to be all of the above from what I can tell.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

There are some manipulatives. It encourages their use to get the concept, and then wean from them. It does not require much prep. We watch the DVD of the teacher explaining the lesson, and then we do the worksheets. I don't have to teach her anything, really. She enjoys the DVD lesson and will sit eagerly and play it over and over for fun. It is well suited for home educators, but could also be used in the classroom. There are 6 worksheets for each lesson. THe first few are only for that lesson. The last few worksheets have review problems at the bottom.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

It came recommended by TWTM, the price was right, and my friend uses it with her kids and likes it.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

The only thing I dislike in the lessons so far is how they teach subtraction. That was a little strange and dd got confused with how they turn the blocks over on top of each other to represent taking away something. I got out her counting beads and taught subraction more traditionally, and she got it right away.

I also dislike the fact that Alpha seems to have a lot of repeat lessons from Primer. Had I known that I would have saved my money and skipped Primer.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

Yes we will continue with it as long as it's working for her.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#12 of 77 Old 01-03-2006, 03:41 PM
 
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What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
My dd is 6. She is adding and subtracting small numbers, and multiplying and dividing with manipulatives. Her age was not necessarily my reason for using these materials.

What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
My dd is very active and athletic. She doesn't like to sit still and work on written work for more than a few minutes at a time. I would say she is "gifted," and uses many different methods for learning depending on the challenge and the situation. The cuisinaire rods help her, but she doesn't feel that she needs them all the time, especially when she understands the lesson. She says "I don't need the rods, I'm not a baby!" and does the problems in her head. That's when I know we can move on to a more challenging worksheet...

She also really likes to have me sit with her when she does her work. She likes me to play teacher, and won't really do "school stuff" without me. She enjoys it a lot, but she is very extroverted and likes to have company.

Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?
Miquon is designed for use in a lab setting. The lab room in the Miquon school is filled with lots of different manipulative tools. The children are familiarized with the Cuisinaire rods from an early age, and use them extensively. The workbook pages, known as lab sheets, are meant to be a small part of the lesson. The kids use the manipulatives to do the lab sheets, but I get the idea that they are mostly turned loose with the manipulatives and given lots of opportunities to mess around with them in their own way. The focus is on understanding rather than drill, so there aren't many problems on each page. The pages are simple, without much decoration or explanation. The idea is to give the kids lots of freedom to figure things out on their own.

For instance, we've been doing some addition and subtraction pages. There are 8 problems on the page, 4 add and 4 sub. In the course of figuring out the problems with the rods, dd notices that the add and sub problems are in pairs: 3+4=7, 7-3=4. Using the rods shows her exactly how that works. I can then tell her that's called the commutative law and that it works for all addition and subtraction problems. She thinks that's pretty neat! She has decided that any problems on the page left without a partner must be lonely, so she likes to figure out what the pair would be and write it down. Then she draws a line between all the pairs.

Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
I may have found it from a post here, I know I read about it in one of John Holt's books. How Children Fail? I had a hard time in math as a kid, and was worried that I would pass my fears on to my dc. I like Miquon because there is very little drill, the lessons are designed to be used according to the child's interest rather than a scripted lesson plan, and because of the focus on manipulatives. In the school, the kids are turned loose in the lab room with all of the manipulatives, and are given lab sheets that interest them. The sheets are all filed together, and the students choose the sort of thing that they want to do. When you buy the books for the program, the workbooks are set up into levels. However, you are encouraged to skip around rather than work straight through from one page to the next. I xerox the pages, to give us the option of doing things over a few times if something gets tricky.

What do you like/dislike about the program?
Because dd works at her own pace, she progresses without anything having to be a struggle. Because there aren't very many problems on each page, we can finish a workbook page in one sitting, and go on to the next if we want. I think that is important, because she is left at the end of the lesson feeling like she accomplished something, rather than feeling like she had to sit there doing 100 math problems getting bored and frustrated by the end of the lesson. Dd learns quickly, and remembers what she learns. I see no need for more drill. I like how little instruction there is, it allows me to run the lessons in ways that work, rather than trying to fit into someone's idea of a script. It seems like a very respectful program. It doesn't have little cartoons telling you what you're supposed to learn on the page, for instance, or chapters with lessons that lead you by the nose through an operation. It feels like actually doing and understanding math, rather than following steps and getting an answer. In fact the author Lore Rassmussen points out that the "mistakes" that children make can tell you a lot about their thought processes and understanding. She cautions the teacher against marking something wrong without really figuring out what the child was thinking when they did the problem. Usually she sees that according to their reasoning and process they were correct. Again, that approach seems very respectful to me.

What another poster has said is true. There is very little direction with these materials. There is a book which annotates each lab sheet, and gives a few suggestions for using it. I actually really like this aspect of the program, although it was a little weird at first. I feel like a strange bird, because on the one hand I'm doing Classical education with my kids, but I'm also really drawn to unschooling. It seems like a total contradiction, I know, but I am trying to find a middle ground between presenting material in a logical way (the History Spine) and encouraging academic progress on the one hand, and letting my dd plan her activities and follow her interests on the other. Miquon is a very child-directed program, and fits right in with what I'm trying to accomplish.

Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
I plan to keep going with this one until the end, there are 6 workbooks meant to be used through third grade. My dd is officially kindergarten age, but we are doing first grade work in math. I'm not sure that we'll get through both first grade books this year, so I'm not sure where we'll be when we run out of miquon. I'm not entirely sure where we go once it's done, whether she'll be ready for algebra or not. This guy, the MathMan looks interesting to me.
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#13 of 77 Old 01-03-2006, 04:41 PM
 
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What level/age is your child?

My children who are doing math are almost 7 and almost 9.

What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child?

They are very comfortable with thinking of things in mathematical ways and they think of math as fun and interesting. I don't know much about what the various learning style lables mean, so I'm not going to try to put it in those terms. But I can say that they both grasp abstract concepts easily, and they prefer to do most of their computing and exploring of mathematical relationships in their heads, which I am very pleased about. To me it's a chicken or egg sort of thing -- I don't know if they were just that way, or if the way we've encouraged them to think about math has made them that way.

Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

We often just talk about it, and otherwise use pen and paper because I am most comfortable myself using drawings to explain concepts. I introduce concepts to them when they ask or when it's relevant to something we're doing. I don't require that they do repetition -- rather we work on comprehension so that once they get it, they've got it. Besides, it's counterproductive for them do the same thing over and over when their minds are wanting to move onto something else.

Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

The kids have questions -- "How old will I be when J is 10?" "What is infinity?" "What are those markings on the measuring cup?" -- and I answer them. That's our program, basically. I wait for them to bring it up so that I know they're ready for it and that there is a context that will help it make sense to them. We talk about the relationships rather than about rules.

This more natural approach (as I see it) is intentional. I've always felt that my own mathematical instruction was lacking in that I learned to manipulate equations (and did it well up through trigonometry,) but had little understanding beyond that. It's not a perfect analogy, but I think of it like being able to put together a grammatical sentence solely by using the rules of language, seeing how it works, but not understanding the meaning behind it. I was angry when I began to realize this, of how long I spent juggling symbols around just to juggle them, when my brain could have been making the deeper connections. I feel like it was like a monkey being trained to do tricks, just going through the motions. Ridiculous. So that was the main reason I wanted to take a more organic approach with the kids, in the hopes that it would help them to develop an intuitive sense for it, which I believe is important as far as its ultimate usefulness to them, as well as for sheer enjoyment.

What do you like/dislike about the program?

I'm seeing no disadvantages to it at the present time.

Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

Programs are really off my radar entirely. The way we're approaching math learning, I see them being at best superfluous. If the kids go on to higher math (which I am expecting, given their interest and aptitude now) I envision us using some of the used school textbooks I've picked up here and there, mostly as a springboard for exploring concepts, but I imagine most of their resources will be internet-based, as I've found more that way myself than I ever have in a book.
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#14 of 77 Old 01-03-2006, 11:56 PM
 
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ugh !! will need to repost my response..........dd hit the WRONG key and booted my computer off !!
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#15 of 77 Old 01-04-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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1. Title your post with the name of the program.
done -- see above. Here is the website: www.alabacus.com

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
Brianna is 5 1/2 and just began level B lessons today! I started the program very informally with her when she was 4 because it uses a specific naming system for the numbers greater than 10, and I thought it would be easier for her to use that system if she became familiar with it at an earlier age. Plus, the early lessons of Level A were *super* easy - mostly stuff she already knew, even at 4. We took a long hiatus at her leading when she learned to read from 4 1/2 - 5. We then began regular lessons (several times a week) this fall. (I know, a "school-y" schedule! 3 y.o. ds is in a great preschool, so we do sort of follow his school calender for the time being.)

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

Hmm, I don't know if she's mathmatically "oriented" or not. We've always presented math as fun, so maybe she just picked up on that. She does like math and likes doing her lessons. She picks up on math concepts pretty quickly I think. She's mostly an auditory learner, but Right Start does a pretty good job of incorporating various learning styles. I like that dd is encouraged to use visualization, for example -- something that doesn't come very naturally to her, but that is valuable to have at least a taste of. The hands-on activities might not be crucial to her understanding of a concept, but they sure help reinforce it, kwim?

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators?
I'm not very familiar with many programs, so I don't know to compare. But I think RightStart uses quite a few manipulatives. There are relatively few worksheets, especially in the Level A book. The worksheets are fairly short, and just a reinforcement (practice) of what the child should already be grasping.

Is it compatible with other programs?
I'd say it's not very compatible with other programs. In fact there are "transition lessons" for kids who have reached 2nd grade level or above with other programs and are switching to RightStart! It probably wouldn't be too hard to switch *from* RS to another program though.

Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance?
Not much preparation, but yes, it does require active guidance. Each lesson is pretty short though. We sometimes do more than one at a time because dd isn't ready to quit.

Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?
RightStart has a specific home education program, which is *great*. I love the instructor manual -- I do the lessons with it open in front of me! It's very clear and easy to follow, but doesn't assume the parent/teacher is a moron.

Each lesson starts with suggested "warm-ups" which generally include review of concepts from previous lessons. I decide which warm-ups are useful, if any. My dd doesn't require or like lots of repetition, but if she did, we could work that in with this program.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
I found it because I thought an abacus would be fun for my dd (who was 3 at the time -- I was *not* looking for curriculum, but I had made the decision to homeschool). I was searching the 'net for activities to do with an abacus. RightStart uses an abacus rather heavily, so my search took me there. I loved what I saw and asked about it on this board and another homeschooling board. I only got a couple of responses from each board, but the reviews were glowing!

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
I love how it relays math concepts and emphasizes comprehension of the foundational concepts rather than manipulating numbers or simply surface use of math for simple computation, etc. *I've* learned a thing or two about how to think about math -- even from the Kindergarten lessons! I feel that dd has a super-solid foundation for further math learning as she grows.

My only complaint is minor. Parts of the curriculum seem pretty arbitrary. Most of the concepts build upon eachother in a logical fashion, but not everything. Suddenly thrown into the middle of learning about 10's and 1's will be some rather obscure geometry stuff, for example. : Telling time is introduced at the end of the level A book because... they might as well learn it sometime? Oh well, those things are *easily* skipped if a child isn't interested. My dd was almost always interested and even insistant that we not skip anything. Nevertheless, some of the "random" content was totally unrelated to anything else in her life, so she didn't retain it. No biggie IMO -- she'll learn those concepts and remember them when she needs them. It's not hurting anything to introduce them as long as she welcomes it.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
Right now, the program is elementary level only (through 4th grade). There is a "preliminary edition" of a geometry program aimed at middle schoolers. I see no reason to switch at this point. DD is doing well with the program and I suspect that my younger ds will too. I have no idea what we might do when we are done with the RS books -- that's too far off to predict right now.

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#16 of 77 Old 01-05-2006, 08:39 PM
 
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What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
Always in search of a better way.......My 7 is using Harcourt and Brace math advantage and my now 9 is doing Voyages research based mathmatics Grade 3

What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

According to the Uncshcooling handbook assesment my 7 is tactile, visual and auditory and my 9 is taclile, auditory then visual. Upon observation 7 yo likes to manipulate. Anything she can play with is fine with her but she also oprefers to do a workbook when not actually being required to do a workbook. 8 to is working on graphs.


Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
This was a fluke, I came across the workbooks midway through our school year. 7's program is a GREAT review of what she has already learned. I like the review I am getting from 9's math...it is an overview of everything from Roman numbers to statistics and graphs.

What do you like/dislike about the program?
I am not totally thrilled but it will do for now. Four pages a day can be done within 30 minutes tops.


Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
I am looking into programs right now so I am not help to anyone else

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#17 of 77 Old 01-05-2006, 09:23 PM
 
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2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)


W used this while my dd was in k- 3rd but we didn't get even half waythrough.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

She is a difficult learner. Shehjas different learning styles for each area. Mostly visual I think though. this was not the right program for her. this was opposite of the right program for her. there could not have been a more wrong program. She has SID and has trouble seeing patterns and this program was all patterns.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

it uses cuisenair rods mostly. There are no real instructions for how to teach it which really left us hanging. There are not even instruction on the pages which made it hard for her to get things because i couldn't always explain it to her right. There are some good yahoo groups who will help youout though. I would bet there is a parents guide in the works by independant people. There are no right and wrong way to do things but there are definitely things they want you to pick up. but they don't come out and say it. This is great for self motivatd learners who are observant and good with patterns and logic.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?


I had heard lots of good things and really liked the theory. one of the things I liked the most is that addition subtraction, multiplication and division were all introduced in thier simpelist forms right from the start. they took a totaly different more logical path than most math programs.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
my biggest dislike was that it gave no guidence on how to use it.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why

we have decided not to continue with this program as it was too loose for my dd and didn't giver me enough support.

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#18 of 77 Old 01-05-2006, 09:30 PM
 
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2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)


Madeline is 3rd grade
Lily is K

and no that had no infkluance on us.


3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

Madeline- mostly visual, good at book learning
Lilyka - not sure. She can learn anything any way it is presented to her. Life will be easy for her . . . .


4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?


Very manipuylative driven (but uses mostly stuff around your house and unifix cubes) uses repition and builds slowly but smoothly. Also lots of pictures in the work books. This is not a work book driven program though. Concepts are explained using large and small motor skills, writing, talking, manipulatives and finaly worksheets.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

My friends recommended it and I was able to really look it and decided it would suit us. And it was inexpensive and available locally


6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

scripted. I didn't think i would like that but it is nice toknow that in an area my dd has so much trouble in and we don't think alike in I wasn't going to m iss anything or make any assumptions about her catching on.


7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?


yes we will stick through this though all the levels and forall our children.

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#19 of 77 Old 01-05-2006, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
Twelve, almost 13 (in 5 days!). This is a book written for adults or older high school students planning to take the GED, so the reading level is fairly high and it's pretty word-heavy.

Quote:
What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic?
It seems to change every 6 months or so... she's definitely stronger in verbal skills (reading and writing) but then she's spent a lot more time doing these things... I hadn't considered her mathematically-oriented until we started using this book, and I realized that she had already come up with her own ways of solving a lot of arithmetic problems...
Quote:
Describe your math program
It's a review book for the GED. It starts with whole numbers, runs through basic arithmetic operations, fractions and decimals, basic algebra, geometry, and some trig. Basically, mathematics through high school level in under 300 pages. It's just a book, with thorough explanations of everything, a few sample problems, and a few more practice problems.

Quote:
Why did you decide to use this particular program?
Rain at 12 was wanting to learn math more formally, with a goal of taking a community college class placement test (required in our county for anyone under 16). She had a lot of practical experience with mathematics, but almost no academic experience. A lot of this book is review for her, at this point, but it also gives her kind of a conceptual framework on which to hang her knowledge, and some of the standard algorithms she's learning are quicker than the ways she'd figured out on her own. She's also learning terminology that hadn't come up before. A traditional math program would have been hard to start, at this point, because her skills are all over the map - she hasn't learned math in the precsribed "order".
Quote:
What do you like/dislike about the program?
The explanations are clear and thorough, and the book doesn't talk down to the student. There are no goofy illustrations and no boring drills, and there's no repetition. It's a resource more than a curriculum, I guess.

I don't think we dislike anything, yet...
Quote:
Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
I love Harold Jacobs's stuff, so I'm hoping that at some point she may want to give that a shot, but it's up to her... and then if she goes to college, she'll use a different program there.

Dar

 
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#20 of 77 Old 01-05-2006, 10:58 PM
 
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MCP Math and Singapore Primary 1a/1b1.

2. What level/age is your child? 1st grade-I was looking for a visual progam w/out a lot of extras and affordable. I started with Singapore but felt we needed a lot more review of basics so got the MCP Math to supplement. I use the MCP more now than the Singapore.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Overall he is very auditory but didn't like plain pages of math, he wanted some pictures and liked the Singpore books.
The main manipulative he uses is an abacas.

4. Describe your math program:
Singapore lacked review and drill which is why I added MCP which has a lot of review and drill-I skip what we don't need but he does most of it without complaint. Neither has to use specific manipulatives but canuse any counters you might want if needed.
Singapore has the text bk that the parent and child go thru together and then the workbk has coordinating lessons.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? see #2

6. What do you like/dislike about the program? Singapore lacks review and drill but otherwise I like it. I like the textbk lesson for parent/child-otherwise I tend to leave him too much to work on his own and he gets bored.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
I'll continue both of these together.

FYI-The MCP (Modern Curriculum Press) Math is about $13 for the workbook (I didn't get the teacher's guide that was about $20) and the Singapore bks are about $6-7? each thru www.rainbowresource.com

Full-time homeschooling mama : of a 15yo "teenager" , 12yo DIVA, 9yo builder, & 4yo treasure.
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#21 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#22 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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1. Title your post with the name of the program.

See above!

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)

Dd is five. She's always had a fairly intuitive grasp of math concepts, such as sets and things, so I wanted something that would challenge her and not be too much busywork.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)

I would say she's relatively mathematically-oriented. It's hard for me to put a label on learning style. She's fairly similar to me, in a lot of ways - most visual, but she needs to do something, either with manipulatives or just writing it down, to cement the knowledge in her head.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

I think both of them are PERFECT for home educators.

Miquon relies very very heavily on rods. It is not really compatible with other programs, and I knew once we began it, we were making a committment to the full six book series. It doesn't require much if any prep, but it does require my presence while she's working. There isn't much repetition at all.

Developmental Math doesn't use any manipulatives, and require no prep, no intervention, very little guidance. It's my way of ensuring a little more repetition, and coming at things from a different angle. It's our secondary program.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

I chose both of them because I thought they would be complementary. I didn't want something with too much busywork, and I liked the discovery-type aspect of Miquon. And the price on both is great!

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

I think I covered most of that above.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

We will continue with Miquon through all six books - dd loves it, anyway. Developmental Math I will use primarily for review and reinforcement, and at some point, that may mean discontinuing it. Not to mention Miquon is only a three year program, and DM will only take us through fourth, fifth, or sixth grade! So we'll have to pick something new at some point.

Kash, homeschooling mommy to Gillian (8/5/00) and Jacob (3/23/05)
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#23 of 77 Old 01-15-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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1) Shiller MAth

2) Age: 6.9

3) He has a good sense of math (by 5 was saying stuff like, 10 hundred is 1000, so 20 hundred is 2000, etc. etc.). He is very physical and "hands on". He is also a very visual learner, and likes to play and experiment. Very self-directed.


I liked that Shiller had lots of manipulatives, and that it is Montessori based, exploratory and fun. I also liked that they introduce fairly advanced concepts early on, with the manipulatives, so it's concrete and easy to understand. FOr example, addition with exchange, and you actually take your unit cubes and exchange ten of them for a ten rod. It's very well thought out, number cards are color-coordinated with manipulatives and so on. Also, they do cool stuff like estimation and probability early - ds loved this. It's scripted, which makes us laugh, but would be helpful for the math-phobic.

I first saw it at a convention and loved it. It seemd perfect for ds and it is!

We just finished the first kit (supposedly three years worth but he loves math and catches on very fast). I did continue to research other methods but it was clear to me that this was the best for us (and that ds had learned very thoroughly from it) and I just purchased the second kit - by the end of these three books (again, supposedly three years worth) you've covered everything up to the end of 6th grade. I expect these will take us a lot longer!

I LOVE SHiller and recommend it very highly. Not that many people seem to know about it but all those I know who use it, love it.
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#24 of 77 Old 01-15-2006, 02:06 AM
 
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Could Neopoints be considered a math program?
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#25 of 77 Old 01-15-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
Our child just turned 5, and a couple of years ago, we were doing Saxon 1A. Though we did get through it, Saxon does not lie when it describes itself as "an incremental program."

Yeah. Like glacier growth incremental. That's why we turned to Miquon -- Miquon emphasizes more hands-on, concrete use of Cuisenaire rods to use in performing the functions, so our DD really got to "see" the difference between 1, 10, 100, and so on.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
She is highly verbal. Math is not really her strong suit. She learns far better with manipulatives than with abstractions and learns very well when you personalize or add a little story to the function you're trying to teach. For instance, we play a game called "Fuzzballs Go to the Dance." We have black fuzzballs representing negative numbers and red fuzzballs representing positive numbers. In a problem like 6-12, you pair up the red fuzzballs (the six of them) with a corresponding number of "dance partners" among the black fuzzballs (the negative numbers) and the remaining fuzzballs who don't get to go to the dance will give you the answer. She loves doing that one, for instance. She tends to be far more concrete and kinesthetic with math.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

I love Miquon. For one thing, it introduces EVERY major math concept in the first book -- addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, etc. You could proceed either in spiral fashion (that is, returning to the same material again, but in more depth and difficulty) or pursue the topic across several books. It works spirally or laterally, basically. I love the idea that it introduces all the major functions early on because I think this approach gives kids a wider and more comprehensible understanding about what math is for and what it does. Lots better than trying to figure out some of that stuff later!!!

Miquon is very dependent upon Cuisenaire rods, which have been wonderful for us -- and even in mental math, where you can visualize the rods in order to do the operation. It requires parental participation to help talk the kid through the first couple of examples (or through a new concept), but other than that, it's not too parent-intensive. I find it very suitable to home educators, but I do wish that it included a degree more repetition than it does. Maybe a supplemental worksheet book???


5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
I interviewed parents of kids like mine and asked them what they like. Saxon was almost universally despised (and having given it a go for a year, I could see why). Miquon, Everyday Math, and Math-U-See were the overall favorites. I liked Miquon because it introduced all major number operations in the first book and did so clearly, cleanly, and with a flexibility I really enjoy. In addition to writing out problems like "13+45=___" they also have "___= 13+45" and so on. I think it's very safe to say that my DD has a far better number sense after a year of Miquon than she did after a year of Saxon.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
I really like it; I just wish that there were more repetition of some harder concepts, especially early on, and I wish that the teacher's workbook (Lab Sheet Annotations) gave more of an idea about how to teach the concepts most effectively.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
We'll see it through to the bitter end, but I don't believe Miquon progresses beyond elementary math. For pre-algebra and up, I'll have to switch to something else. Not Saxon, though.

HTH!!!
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#26 of 77 Old 01-15-2006, 09:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I love Miquon. For one thing, it introduces EVERY major math concept in the first book -- addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, etc. You could proceed either in spiral fashion (that is, returning to the same material again, but in more depth and difficulty) or pursue the topic across several books. It works spirally or laterally, basically. I love the idea that it introduces all the major functions early on because I think this approach gives kids a wider and more comprehensible understanding about what math is for and what it does. Lots better than trying to figure out some of that stuff later!!!
Actually, the above also describes Shiller, and I absolutely agree about the wider understanding that results. THanks, CB!
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#27 of 77 Old 01-15-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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I am going to look at that Shiller Math.........had not heard of it before. I like the idea of using manipulatives, and the Montessori math materials are always liked alot!
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#28 of 77 Old 01-16-2006, 04:06 AM
 
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We've now finished Level B and are about 10 lessons into Level C.

Most recent additions in blue

DD1 is done with RS. We progrossed about a third of the way through Level C (just far enough to ease the transfer to Singapore). It's a great program, but DD1 needs more control and was frustrated with everything being teacher led. I'm happy with started with RS rather than Singapore, but now that she has the basics down, I'm confident she's not missing out on anything significant. I'm still considering using RS Geometry when the time comes.

Additions are in red.

There is a Yahoo! group called RightStart. It's not horribly busy, but the quality of discussion tends to be high.


2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
DD1 just turned 4. We are about halfway through Level B (1st Grade). We'd started in Level A about a year ago, but it didn't move quickly enough for her. We did about 20 lessons in B not long after that, then she lost interest (my being very busy with her sister probably had something to do with this). We picked it up again in November, and we average 5 or 6 lessons per week. She loves this program.

It didn't require much writing (we could have completed it without her writing anything).

Well, she loved it until we started subtraction. She wanted it all laid out, now. She can work through Singapore at her own pace. While it would be possible to compact RS (I did a bit), it's more work than it was worth to me. Besides, she was ready for a format change.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
She's mathematically oriented and picks up new concepts quickly, but she is more gifted with language. I think she's a both a visual and auditory learner... I'm often confounded by what she comes up with.

She may be more mathematically oriented than I thought. She whizzed through a multi-day series of lessons leading up to 4-digit addition on paper in two days. In fact, the first worksheet problem she did was on paper rather than with the abacus. (The program is designed so that children intuit how to do it on paper on their own.)

I'm pretty sure she's visual.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?

The program is visually oriented. Children are actively discouraged from counting at all and are taugth instead to see objects in groups of 5's.

The primary manipulative in the early years is the abacus, which is a fantastic tool for DD1. She can "see" the abacus in her head. The abacus is two sided: the first side values all beads at 1, the other is used once the child understands place value (VERY early on) and has beads valued, 1, 10, 100, 1000. I'm not sure subtraction is formally introduced in Level B (though there are plenty of ___ + 4= 10 problems), the reasoning being to have the child master one dominant concept completely before moving on, but DD1 is already adding 4 digit numbers, completely understands the concept of trading, has learned her math facts through 15, skip counts by 2's, 5's, 10's. We're not there yet, but the child is also taught to add 2 digit numbers mentally. The program is big on the comprehension of underlying mathematical principles -- you KNOW when your child has hit a wall, the lessons are structured so there's no faking understanding.

This program is designed for homeschoolers, though there is a classroom version. Worksheets in the early years are few and far between; concepts are reinforced either through use during the lessons or elaboration. Some concepts are built upon steadily, while others, like basic geometry, are introduced more sporadically.

There is little preparation, other than gathering materials; however, the parent is heavily involved with the lessons. Lessons are more or less scripted (which is nice because precise use of terminology is important), though the child is expected to think her way through problems rather than just be shown how to do it.

Subtraction is introduced, but in a cursory manner and mastery is not expected. It is dealt with in Level C. The only problem DD1 had in the entire course was with the introduction of subtraction as "counting up" rather than "taking away." I think she had a pretty firm idea of what subtraction was already. I merely taught her how to "count" up change and moved on.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?

I'd evaluated a number of programs (MUS, Saxon, Singapore) and simply fell in love with Right Start. I love how I can see the foundations being laid for advanced concepts in the Level A and B manuals. I love the emphasis on mental math and comprehension. The manipulative make complete sense to me (I've always hated cuisinair rods).

The woman behind RightStart has a PhD in mathmatics education and degree in engineering and is a former Montessori teacher. The program itself is heavily Asian influenced in both content and teaching style.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?

See above.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?

We'll be sticking with Right Start for as long as possible. At the pace Dr. Cotter seems to be writing the middle grade manuals (Geometry still isn't finished), we may have to change then.

I feel just as strongly now.

DD1 doesn't feel as strongly as I.
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#29 of 77 Old 01-16-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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Disclaimer: we use only the text for Saxon, not the extra practice sheets, tests and such.

2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
She is 12 and at about a 6th grade level in math. That didn't have an influence above choosing *which* Saxon text to use.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
Kelsey is my math conundrum. She is extremely auditory, seeing the problems doesn't help a whole lot she needs them verbally explained to her. She doesn't really like manipulative's either and needs constant reinforcement or she'll forget. WE chose Saxon because of the short lessons with plenty of review of previous concepts. Also because it was easy for me to read the lessons to her and help explain concepts verbally.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulative's? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom management? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much? There are no manipulative's as part of the program, although I do use some. DD's not fond of them though so not so much. For us it requires involvement and guidance, but that's because of how DD learns. I could see a child doing it independently without much of a problem. There is a lot of repetition, but that is good for DD. Saxon is *spiral* which is a necessity for DD.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
I first looked at it because it was highly recommended on another board but I chose it because it suited my DD.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
Like: I like the short lesson and the review/repetitions. DD likes the way it flows. I like that I can get the texts used for cheap
Dislike: there are alot of problems in a lesson, probably 10-15 for the new concept and 25 for review. I think that's to many (as does DD!) so I pick and choose about 20 total and vary the review so she sees old concepts at least once a week.

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
We will use Saxon at least through 8/7, maybe algebra 1/2. After that I've heard it's not as good so we may have to re-evaluate. I'm thinking maybe Jacobs math?
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#30 of 77 Old 01-16-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
DS is just turned 7, about a first grade level I think. No it didn't.

3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
DS is very independent and loves numbers. He resists being taught and is very visual.

4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulative's? Rely on visual indicators? Is it compatible with other programs? Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance? Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom management? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?
We have the Horizons K workbooks. Lots of bright, happy looking pages using different ways to show a concept. They are also spiral and review a lot. it does require a good bit of parental involvement, but at his age I don't think that's a bad thing.

5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
OK, this is going to sound lame but I picked it because of how the workbooks looked At this point we are using the workbook mainly as fun. DS likes colorful pages with fun decorations which the Horizons has at this level. I also chose it because a friend with a child a lot like him used it and liked it.

6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
Like: short lessons with fun graphics, nice introduction and coverage of concepts.
Dislike: there are a lot of lessons!

7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
I'm struggling with this right now. DS likes Horizons, I like Horizons but we aren't really *doing* the Horizons KWIM? It sits on the shelf a lot! I'm thinking maybe I'll just skip curriculum next year and buy a copy of Family Math
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