Thursday, February 14, 2013

Maths in 2013

This year we will be continuing with Math U See for our math curriculum. We all like the curriculum, it's easy and thorough and the girls can skip ahead or do extra work in an area.

Agent Smell will be starting Delta shortly. She is just doing a bit of revision of the computer for her multiplication tables. She knows nearly all of them but is a bit slow and I would like her to have a really good handle on them before she starts on Delta which is all about division.

The Fashionista is halfway through Epsilon which is mostly about fractions. She has found it pretty easy and I put that down to fun activities as a child. We did the measuring cups and spoons with water at an outside table. Did the pretend play dough pizza which she cut it into quarters, halves, etc.

I feel there are still a few holes in the curriculum as nothing is written especially for your needs so I will be incorporating living games into the lesson plan one day a week. This is also to show them that math can be fun as poor old math tends to have a negative image. That could be anything to working out a recipe (1/8 cup flour plus 3/8 cup of flour), playing a numbers board game (math bingo, rummikub, mancala), doing some math pages (measuring things, working out roman numerals), making  or even a computer math game. I was even thinking of getting them to design and work out the measurements for a goat house and then with their Papa to actually make it up.

Here's a small article I wrote for our local homeschool groups newsletter last month on choosing a curriculum.


If you are the type to use a math curriculum then here are some things you may wish to take into consideration when choosing one;

·        What are your realistic goals for your child? It is no use purchasing a curriculum that doesn’t fill those needs. In some cases you may be able to supplement the program with things that it might be missing. My eldest was obsessed by roman numerals so I had to organise a separate unit study as it didn’t come up in her curricula for another couple of grades and she was dead impatient to learn it.

·        Work out what kind of learning style your child has. I have an auditory learner, who at six looked at the blocks and then looked up at me incredulously and then said to me rather dispiritedly “I don’t have to use them do I? Can’t I just write the answers in the book?” and she did and it was fine. The younger kinaesthetic one has to be forcibly removed from the blocks and we have to watch the video a couple of times as she misses so much of it due to getting sidetracked by her building. She also does well in her math and builds some great towers!

·        I think the most important thing to consider is YOU, the teacher. I used a fabulous math curriculum when I first started homeschooling but I neglected to realise how hands on it was going to be. It was a very heavily loaded package which I simply didn’t have the time for. The program we switched to is still very good but places less demand on me thus freeing up time to spend more on some living math and less time resenting the time it was taking up, when I could be working on other subjects or simply play.
I also have met a number of parents, especially women, who tell me that they don’t like math or are no good at it. Under no circumstances please ever let on to your child that this is the case. Remain enthusiastic and positive about it at all times; it will help your student develop a similar attitude.

Lastly, and I pinch a quote here from Maria Miller of Homeschool Math “Remember; do NOT become a slave to the curriculum. The book is just a TOOL for teaching. Filling the book is not the purpose or goal of mathematics education. There are many other tools and ways to teach, too, such as games, explorations, projects - living math.”

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