The homeschool math curriculum

JMJ7  *Number sense is the goal in the early years.  For most of us, that is not achieved solely with pencil and paper, but rather with exploring physical objects.  We decided to use colorful MCP (Modern Curriculum Press) workbooks for grades K-2, supplemented with manipulatives including pattern blocks, stacking cubes, unifix cubes, geoboards, and pocket charts with the numbers 1-100. 

Ring the School Bell 7/180 days

I wore so many “hats” today!  Necessity dictated that I dust off my “math” hat from last year.  Armed with my DVD math knowledge, I was prepared to assist.  Sarah was stuck on finding the equation of a line given 2 points, and Melissa couldn’t see the point of factorization, to the point of being mad about it. Math mom to the rescue!

I halfway convinced Melissa that knowing how to factor would help her in future number-related problems, and that it could actually be fun once she understood the process.  Okay, she would give it another try, but just couldn’t see the practicality of it in real life.

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I can assist in math up to a bit of Precalculus, but I am forced to throw in my “hat” when it gets to Calculus. That, and Gaussian Elimination in Algebra.  Please don’t ask me to logically explain this one.  Besides, the name of it sounds rather vulgar! And to master such a beast as Calculus would take too much time, a precious, prorated, valuable resource for moms.

Homeschool math curriculum

With two girls already in college, I “calculate” that we achieved a certain amount of math success over the years.

There is so much math curricula out there, it would be impossible to sample it all.  I tried a lot of curriculum which did not work for us.  This is what did work, and how we accomplished our math goals:

Early Primary Grades

Number sense is the goal in the early years.  For most of us, that is not achieved solely with pencil and paper, but rather with exploring physical objects.  We decided to use colorful MCP (Modern Curriculum Press) workbooks for grades K-2, supplemented with manipulatives including pattern blocks, stacking cubes, unifix cubes, geoboards, and pocket charts with the numbers 1-100.  If the budget is an issue, use manipulatives from around the house, such as utensils or socks, basically anything can work.

www.rainbowresource.com (search for MCP mathematics)

The girls learned number sense (a sense about the relationship of numbers and being able to visualize adding, taking away, and then later multiplying and dividing) with these math manipulatives and a bucket of about 100 well-loved little plastic bears.

Middle Grades  

For these grades, I found an award-winning homeschool program that saved me hours of tutoring help.  It is a complete program that includes instructional cds, workbook, and answer book.  The nice thing about this program is that it self-corrects and helps the student understand where they went wrong. I stuck with this program until my daughters were ready for Algebra 1.

www.teachingtextbooks.com/

Upper Grades

By upper grades, I am referring to when each of my daughters was ready for Algebra 1.  I also found a fantastic curriculum for these grades.

www.chalkdust.com

The curriculum is called Chalkdust, and includes DVD instruction for all your higher math needs.  We used Chalkdust for Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Statistics, and PreCalculus.  Dana Mosely, aka Uncle Buck, does a fantastic job explaining mathematical concepts.   I watched the DVDs with the kids and worked out sample problems with them, before assigning independent work, with the exception of Sarah, who didn’t need my assistance and preferred to work on her own.

In conclusion, find a curriculum that works for your family.  If something doesn’t work, experiment and find a good match.  It makes all the difference in learning math.

Other news on day 7 of the school year… University research has been an all-consuming project for Sabrina.  She is looking into local universities that might work.  Some she could commute to, others she would need to live on campus.  My “advisor” hat worked well here, as I brainstormed and gave her some input.  She is currently deciding which SAT subject tests to take, since some of the universities like to see these from homeschool applicants.  We both didn’t realize that it would have been much wiser to begin the search process last year, her junior year.  For her, unfortunately, she is the senior guinea pig in the family, so to speak, so we are learning as we go.

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Was homeschooling a gift for my children or rather for me?  Oftentimes I feel that homeschooling was more a gift for me.  It has allowed me to do a type of schooling re-do, an awesome opportunity to actually enjoy the sciences, great literature, and the arts.  I have been given the chance to learn many things I should have learned about in high school, but didn’t.  Hey, that could be a book.  The many things I should have learned about in high school, but didn’t by me.  I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying playing catch-up!  I have read many fine books with my children, including J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

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I could have put on a “hat” fashion show today, I wore so many of them, while I yet again put on another one of my hats, the “homemaker” and finished recovering the cushions for the swing outdoors.  The squirrels destroyed all of my previous cushion covers, while filling their nests with the fluffy stuff and it was time to do something about it!  Seriously, look for yourself.  I caught them in the act!

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Adorable Troublemaker

Larry, Attila the Bun, Ewok, Truffles and Genghis were behavior problems today.   Even in hot weather they choose to huddle together, but as soon as I show up to put them in their hutches for the night, they immediately scatter. Disheartened Melissa, had the most difficult time with Larry, who was cowering behind the back post of the hutch, and refused to come forward, even for an enticing treat.  Time for the “farmer” hat, as the job of corralling the rabbits has now been delegated to me for the rest of their stay at our rabbit ”bed and breakfast”.

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is part of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.  Every day’s blog entry coincides with a day from that special year.  It can be read from the beginning by selecting the “Ring the School Bell 180” category on the side bar.  Commence with the narrative, “The School Bell- What comes to mind when ‘you’ hear that bell?”

Start here to get the story from the very beginning:

https://onceuponaschoolhouse.wordpress.com/?s=what+comes+to+mind

Follow along with us day-by-day through the school year.  Hope you will join us!

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette

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Sarah

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