I have been dreading writing this post because I do not know what to do about a math curriculum. We have been using Teaching Textbooks for a few years now. Teaching Textbooks gives a short lesson before each chapter, then you have some sample questions and then you practice the material. All of this is done on your computer via discs (a workbook is available for purchase – I liked having the workbook as the lessons are also in the workbook and easily referenced). If you have not seen this curriculum it is worth taking a look at prior to making any decision on a math curriculum. Lightning and I both selected this curriculum together after using Bob Jones for Math. I liked Bob Jones but made the mistake of not buying the Teacher’s Manual. I think if I would have purchased it we might still be using Bob Jones. I am going to check it out at the conference for her level now and see what I think. We probably would have switched anyway, because true to form Lighting wanted to move on to something new. She didn’t dislike it, she just wanted to try something different. This stresses me out. I worry that switching Math curriculum every two years or so she will wind up with gaps in her math education, however, the reason I am switching from Teaching Textbooks is because I felt there were gaps in the curriculum and that she was not receiving enough practice and reputation of the material taught. Lighting did well on every lesson, but she only really seemed to grasp the material for that lesson. Five or ten lessons later when asked dot recall prior material she struggled because it had not be reinforced continually. Now I could fill in those gaps and give her extra worksheets, however, with Teaching Textbooks I am not as hands on as I am with other curriculum considering the lesson is taught for you and corrections are also provided or you if you struggle with how to complete a question. One of the reasons we selected Teaching Textbooks was so she and I would not get frustrated with me teaching her math. Adding more worksheets to assist her in reinforcing prior material would just be too much math for her. I prefer having a curriculum that will make it part of her lesson to regularly practice material taught previously. Over the last two years of Teaching Textbooks I have found I need to be more hands on in teaching math.
I am focusing in on Singapore Math. I have not yet viewed a good sample of the material on-line, but have read great reviews and have spent some time on their website to have a feel for the curriculum. They offer Common Core Edition, U.S. Edition or Standards Edition. I have pretty much decided on Standards Edition if this in the curriculum selected. It is hard to assess what level to place Lightning in because their levels don’t correlate with grade. They have available placement tests to assist, but even selecting what placement test I should give her has been a struggle. After having her take two of the tests I definitely see some gaps that I do not like in her math knowledge. I do feel she has covered most of the material with Teaching Textbooks, however, I do not feel the material has been covered enough to really cement her knowledge.
Saxon Math is another curriculum that I have checked out. The material seems to offer a review at the beginning of the book of material learned is reviewed again and then a new lesson is taught. This is one of the favored curriculum of homeschoolers but I have a mental block on selecting this material. Lighting is not a huge fan of math, she has a love hate relationship with it, and Saxon is just your typical math textbook. I am concerned that I will lose her if I place a typical math textbook in front of her. I am going to try to get her to take their placement test and see how she likes the way the material is presented. I received some free textbooks of this material so I am keeping my options open with this material. If I can’t decide on a curriculum I might stick with the free Saxon material since I did like it and it does seem to satisfy my concerns regarding material review.
UPDATE FOLLOWING THE CONFERENCE:
I purchased Singapore Math 4B for us to try over the summer. There is an A and B, obviously for the first half of the year and the second half. Lighting actually only placed in 3AB but when I actually saw the book I just felt the material was going to be too easy. I am hoping whatever she did not learn will be picked as we progress in the book. I purchased the Textbook, Workbook and the Teacher’s Guide. So far I am not a fan of the Teacher’s Guid. I don’t feel it is really assisting you in teaching, but it is helpful with the answers. We have opted to supplement with Khan Academy. She listens to a lesson on Khan Academy regarding the Lesson for the day. So far that seems to be going well. I initially planned to compete a lesson a day, but that is just too much work. Between the textbook and workbook she could have about 10 page of math problems. We are now trying to break up the textbook and workbook into two days. She does really seem to be grasping the concepts though. By the end of the summer if she is more in the swing of this material I think we will stick with it, however, I am keeping Saxon Math as a future possibility depending on how this summer goes.
Singapore Math Placement Tests: http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_Test_s/86.htm
Teaching Textbooks Website and Placement Tests: http://www.teachingtextbooks.com