Thank goodness for friends and used curriculum, otherwise making a choice would be SO much harder!
This last month, planning Math has given me fits- Luckily, I think I have it all sorted out! (Just in time too, as we start back after our Christmas break today).
Bug finished Saxon 2 about 6 weeks ago. I really enjoy Saxon Math (their K-3 program) because it is so well organized, and covers so many topics painlessly. Their “Morning Meetings” brought a sense of order into our homeschool, and I am so grateful for that. The downside is that the program feels very slow moving because of the spiral nature, and it was really breaking the spirit of my “Mathy” child. He felt discouraged that the worksheets covered so many topics he “already KNEW” each day, and asked me why he had to “keep doing it when I know it already”.
Bug’s resistance grew and grew as we were closer to finishing Saxon 2, and I knew we just had to find something else for him at this point. Math had been taking us SO much time, mostly because we had to spend half of it whining about how much work he needed to do, and how boring it was (sigh). Luckily, I had access to most of my “top picks” for math programs (thanks to a large homeschool support group and friends willing to let me see their curriculum) so I could compare our various choices and try to get a good fit for his needs this time around.
Math Mammoth was still out due to the small lines and crowded pages (even though we sometimes use it as a supplement). Math U See was out due to their non-traditional scope and sequence. Saxon 3 was out because we could not continue the same way we had been. Sticking it out until we were ready for Saxon 4/5 wouldn’t work because he isn’t ready to copy problems out on paper, even if he was ready for the math. Teaching Textbooks was out because he tested into level 5 without breaking a sweat, and that didn’t “feel” right. Which leaves me with Singapore Math and Beast Academy.
I had originally dismissed Singapore Math as being “strange” and “light” when I saw their first grade level, but I am really impressed with the third grade books. The textbooks are in color, which appeals to Bug, especially after the clinical look of Saxon Math. The workbook pages are not cluttered, and there is plenty of room for Bug to write (he may be good at math, but his ability to write small and neat leaves a lot to be desired). The home instructor guides have so many ideas for fun ways to teach and reinforce the topics. The best part is, the program really enforces mental math skills, which I would love to see Bug work on more. I’m really excited to give this program a try! We’re also working in Beast Academy 3A in the hopes of stretching him (as well as having some FUN now and then).
The good news is, two weeks into the Singapore/Beast Academy combo, we have not yet had any tears, and Bug seems appropriately challenged. He hasn’t complained once about “knowing it”. In fact, he has even struggled with the mental math, which sounds strange to say, but it’s nice to see him struggling rather than flying through his work. I feel like he is learning, and it’s refreshing.
Right now, his math topics include mental math strategies for adding larger numbers, as well as skip counting and multiplication. I hope in a month I can still tell you this combo is working for him!
Mr. Man is working in Saxon Math K. We both LOVE this program because it is thorough, but also still very much a program for a small child. No writing is required, and there is heavy use of manipulatives. Many of the lessons I feel like a parent could probably come up with on their own, but I still like having the teacher’s manual to use as a guide for how I can turn play into learning opportunities. Today, we made towers out of Lego bricks, while counting the bricks and determining which tower had more or less bricks in it. Mr. Man still has trouble counting to 20, and his sequence normally goes “13,14,17,18,20!” …. But, he’s learning, and we’ve having fun doing it!
That’s about it for Math right now!