April 7, 2012

Math Curriculum–What say ye?

math

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What math curriculum have you used this year?  Has it worked for your family? Why or why not?  Will you use it again? What were the best and worst parts of it?

What say ye?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

No spammers please. We want real reviews.  Thanks.

27 comments - Add a comment below -:

Tristan said...

This year we've used Math U See for my 5th, 1st, and K children. I love that they understand not just how to do math, but why they do what operations. The hands on component of blocks makes sense to them visually. While the program comes with dvds teaching the lesson to the mom, I don't use them. On the other hand my sister in another state has her oldest son just watch the dvd for a teacher and she helps him if he doesn't understand it from that. It's flexible!

In the last few weeks my oldest has started reading the Life of Fred elementary books as well. These are really fun because all the math is introduced through the story of the character Fred as he needs it. It's not a full curriculum by any means, but it is a fun supplement. It gets them seeing and thinking of math in real-life terms even more.

Anonymous said...

We LOVE Life With Fred! In our experience so far, it does cover everything really well and it does review concepts on a regular basis. But there aren't pages and pages of drill work, so if your child needs that,Singapore might be a good add on because it is a cheap curriculum and you can pick and choose which pages to use to supplement Fred. But we are VERY pleased with Fred, so far, and my kids have not needed anything else to go with it. We find it to be very complete and because the concepts are presented in a story like format that kids understand, they in turn understand the concepts sooner. We cannot say enough good things about this series! :)

Anaise said...

We're using Life of Fred elementary series. I though the same as Tristan at first, that it was not a full curriculum, but as we're working our way through the books, I am finding that it is really solid, covering more topics than any other curriculum I've ever seen.

The odd thing about Life of Fred elementary is that all 10 books only cover about 1 year of study. I'm not sure how you'd use it if you want math every day for every year of elementary school.

It is working for us because I delay formal math instruction until about age 8. At age 8 the Life of Fred elementary series is perfect and will allow a 9 year old to start up with the Fractions book and move on from there.

In the past we've used Math U See with limited success and Horizons math with no success--that's why my 12 yo is math phobic and why she's working through Life of Fred along with her younger sisters this year. She now really looks forward to math and isn't afraid of it.

One last note: Life of Fred is really fun, but it also demands some creative critical thinking. I have one daughter who sometimes gets frustrated because she's not a problem-solver, not a creative thinker. I have to help her think through the questions more than I do with my other kids, but I consider that a positive thing.

Beth said...

We have used Teaching Textbooks and overall it's been great.
Pros: really clear interactive lectures at the beginning of each lesson, immediate feedback on each problem (you do it, if you are wrong you can try it again, and there is the option after that to see how it is done). It is also almost entirely child-driven. Unless one of my kids is having trouble with a concept, it's a subject they can do entirely on their own.

Cons: a bit pricey, it doesn't start until 3rd grade, and my kids hate the guy's voice.
Cons:

Kristi said...

I've got to chime in in support of Life of Fred, also. Never has math been so fun. It's great for the math-phobic, but equally effective for those who love to play with numbers. In fact, at the end of every chapter, the problems are presented under the title, "Your Turn to Play." Instead of tests, the student is met with "Bridges" that must be crossed to continue reading the story. Fred, by the way, is a 5-year-old college math professor.

Erica said...

I used Saxon when I was homeschooled and am now using them with my girls. My 7 year old is almost done with the 2nd grade book (I've loved the manipulatives). I also have a 13 year old girl I adopted from Ukraine a year ago. She has been doing very well with Saxon as well. She's got some holes in her math we're trying to fill and all the practice has been very good for her. She's about done with the second book (started a few grades behind to make sure we caught all the concepts) this year and I hope to have her up to grade level by the time she's going into 9th.

Sundy said...

I've really enjoyed using Saxon Math with my daughters. They are older and more self-sufficient so they do much of it on their own. It's really worked for us! :-)

Julie P said...

Saxon Math is a fabulous fit for our family. We are so happy with it.

Karina said...

Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar is fabulous for middle school math. She uses practical examples from girls' prespectives, but my son is using it and loves it as well. For someone who hates workbook-style teaching, this book is a life-saver. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0452289491/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tj063-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0452289491

JRoberts said...

We absolutly love Teaching Textbooks. My boys have used a few programs in our course of studies and Teaching Textbooks has been our favorite by far.

I will agree with Beth above though, his voice is a bit annoying. :)

We live in Alberta so our stuff is all funded (if we stay in our limits) so the price is not something I worry about, but if you have to pay out of pocket, it is pricy.

Cassie said...

We use MEP it is a free math that you can just print out as you go. We love it. http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mepres/primary/default.htm


We like Life of Fred too!

Dana ♥ said...

My two youngest do not like math. They dread it. I think it is because of all the drill work we did, in addition to requiring mastery before moving on to other math concepts.

A few months back I decided to start them back at the beginning with Life of Fred Elementary Series in hope to somehow find some joy in Math or at least lessen the dread. We have worked through 4 of the books and will continue on. Life of Fred is fun and different.

In an effort to also catch them up a bit, we are adding in Teaching Textbooks level 3 as well. They've worked the sample lessons online and enjoyed them.

My younger two are 11 and 13 but even so, I backed them up to reclaim something good regarding math.

Just FYI, next week I'm listing the Life of Fred levels we've completed for sale at Noggins & Nonsense. I thought I'd throw in this plug, in case anyone is interested.

Amy Beth said...

I do not like Saxon, sorry. I know it is popular. I started with Singapore & it worked well for several of my sons, then I switched one struggling son to Math U See. It is wonderful, we are still in the elementary levels though. I have another son still using Singapore. I figured if it wasn't broken no reason to fix it. I am trying to decide what to start my 5 yo on Singapore or Math U See. I think he will do fine with either.

I am trying to justify purchasing Life of Fred Elem set. You are all confirming that.

Mama Rachel said...

Khan Academy has been a life-saver for our family! (At least a "Math Saver," anyway.)

It has been wonderful for helping my high-schoolers fill in their gaps and strengthen their weaknesses. It has also challenged them to tackle area of math that terrified them (and me!) before.

I also love the fact that I can keep track of all my kids; what videos they've watched, what exercises they've completed, and their proficiency at every level. I can see at a glance what they still need to work on! And it has a built-in incentive program for the kids, so *I* don't have to motivate them to move forward. They challenge themselves because they WANT to.

I can't recommend it enough!!! (I am so excited that a program this great is also FREE!) I have been so, SO impressed. My kids are motivated to not only do their math, but they have been learning some of the higher sciences like physics and chemistry through watch the videos. It's an amazing resource.

www.khanacademy.org

Linda H said...

We love Teaching Textbooks. We haven't used the CD for it -- I just explain the lesson, assign problems, and we're done. Teaching Textbooks provides many opportunities for repetition which is nice for those struggling.

Elissa said...

I use Math-U-See for my 7yo and it has worked pretty well. Recently, we've had a little push-back and so I'm thinking about Life of Fred or something to make it a little more fun.

Suzuki Mom said...

We use to use MEP, but my kids were struggling - so we switched this year to Right Start and are loving it.

We are also using Khan Academy on occasion - my kids just do whatever they want on it. I personally didn't really like the couple of videos I watched, but hey - it is free! My kids like to earn the badges.

btw - I am just chuckling at the math image at the top of this post... there is some complex math for you!

Andrea said...

I use a combo: A Beka for computation practice and The Critical Thinking Co for logic/problem-solving. I LOVE how great it has worked for us. I do, intentionally, make my children slow down in math. So my daughter, who is starting grade 4 next fall, is just finishing up 2nd grade math.

However, she used three textbooks (A Beka second grade math, Mathematical Reasoning grade 2 math through Critical Thinking Co, and Building Thinking Skills by Critical Thinking Co--a logic/math book) so that takes some time.

I know this isn't the conventional approach, but my oldest has a really solid grasp of why she does things and she is definitely ready for the next concepts before she moves on.

I felt, as an "honors" student that I was pushed in math really fast and wasn't developmentally ready for the concepts I encountered. Therefore, I cried my way to straight A grades and hated the subject the whole time.

My daughter loves math. Yeah!

Mindy said...

I'll put a plug in for RightStart Math. We're in our second year of using it, so we've got RightStart A and B curriculum at the present.

It's worked great for both of my sons (ages 7 and 5), who both have different learning styles. I'm excited to use it with my girls next year (two 4-year olds).

One of the things I love best about RightStart is the near absence of worksheets. They are used very sparingly! Instead, there are plenty of different types of manipulatives and games to help reinforce concepts introduced and learned.

I also love how easy it is for me to prep a lesson. It takes me less than five minutes to read through the lesson and gather the materials I'll need.

The only downside is that it is one of the more expensive curriculums out there, which could be a deterrent if you are planning to use it for only one child or if you like to curriculum hop. :)

However, we love it and I plan to keep using it! It has been a good fit for both the teacher and the students.

Katie said...

Half-way through our school year I changed my sixth grader from Saxon Math to Teaching Textbooks, and our days immediately got better! I love that she gets immediate feedback on her performance, and she loves the encouraging comments made by software when she gets the answer right. My fourth-grader uses Saxon math, but I think she found it boring, and sometimes I forget to grade it right away! I'll switch her to Teaching Textbooks next year, too. I'll be looking for the recommendations for second grade, though!

Jen said...

We started with Saxon K Math, and it was too simple, so we jumped to Saxon 1...and while it was a good curriculum, it moves really slowly...and we really got bored with it, plus I really needed something that could allow my son a bit more independence in Math, so I could focus on my other kids as well. Needless-to-say we changed to Math-U-See starting with Alpha about mid year (My son is in K this year) and we really like it!! We will be continuing with it next year. I do think Saxon is great, lots of hands on, and very detailed, but for us right now Math-U-See works out better. I have hung onto Saxon K though and will try it out with my other kids, but probably at age 3.5/4.

Anonymous said...

Teaching Textbooks and Life of Fred are our math of choice right now. After 14 years of homeschool and 8 kids of vastly varying abilities in math this combination works best for us. I have tried them all and will consider anything new but nothing that is out there now beats it :)

Deila Taylor said...

Me too-- Teaching Textbooks is great for high school algebra and above. I didn't want to pay but we are being careful not to write in the book and plan to resell it to recoup the cost. Great CDs and methods. I like it much better than Saxon and Math U See. Never used Life of Fred, but have seen it and it looks wonderful. I find you have to try and each child is different.

OJT Mom said...

I used Math U See to bring my kids up to par for their basic skills but then my older two grew tired of it. Now they're using Kan Academy and I love it. They do too because they are not dependent on me. Very very important! One sits down as soon as he is done with his early morning Seminary class and do his math and Mango Spanish and then the other gets on.

C T said...

My 2nd-grader and soon-to-be-kindergartner have been using Bob Jones University Press's math worktexts. Not only are they inexpensive, but they are consumable, i.e. super convenient for me. I like the order in which math concepts are presented, while the children love the illustrations. I slow down and supplement when needed with drill worksheets, cheap workbooks, and games to help them memorize their math facts.

Amy said...

I have used and love Math U See and Life of Fred also, but one series that I didn't see any one else post and that was fun for my little ones has been the Sir Cumference books by Cindy Neuschwander. Sir Cumference is married to Lady Di of Ameter and they have a son Radius. There are 6 books that not only cover circumference, radius and diameter, but also angles, pi, place value, area and perimeter.

David n Jennifer Fitton said...

My third and fourth grade boys have been working through Life of Fred books for the past two school years, one chapter a day and I can't say enough good things about the curriculum! Don't let the fact that it's fun fool you into thinking it's not enough... It challenges my boys and when I started to doubt it was enough, I used Saxon's placement test thinking I needed to supplement. They bothe made it through the 5/4 section and through most of the 6/5 section with ease. I think I will just save my money and continue to use the life of Fred series (which I have from my older kids). My current 8th grader used Fractions and Decimals n Percents books in fifth grade, then went on to use pre-Algebra w/biology in 6th and pre-Algebra 2 w/economics in 7th. This year I started him in Math U See Algebra for the first half of the year and recently enrolled him in K12 for this semester. (To give him a taste of what level of work and responsibility other 8th graders have). He is WAY ahead of his "Algebra 1" class, and I believe it's because of the solid foundation from Life of Fred. I will stick with Fred, the series has proven itself worthy to me, I truly believe its claim that by the time a student finishes Life of Fred Calculus, that child will have had a year or 2 of college math. I've seen fruit already. But be prepared... The companions that come with the high school courses have provided too much for my older daughters and they spent hours and even a few summer hours working through the curriculum. It is by no means "light". I've found the Elementary set very thorough and I've never seen anything like it, from my kids wanting to do "just one more, Mom" to teaching themselves their times tables with "Honey cards" (flash cards- but sh! Don't tell them that!)