Believe it or not, we are pretty much through all of our curriculum for the year! Obviously, we did not do enough fun stuff. We are still trying to figure out the best methods for homeschooling that work for us (of course, I know this will be an ever-changing piece of our lives). However, this week I am going to focus on math.
Last year we used Singapore Math for everyone with Montessori and Waldorf exercises in the mix. Parks was the only kiddo who really enjoyed this method. Thus, Parks continued with the Singapore math mixed with Montessori and Waldorf. He finished up his level 1 A and 1 B books by the end of January. For him (1st grade), Singapore worked well. The book had a lot of pictures and not an overwhelming amount of information on each page. For me, it was very easy to tie in bead chains, the multiplication board, the hundred board and the Waldorf stories into the Singapore Math curriculum.
Now with the older two kiddos, we did a complete change. They did not want to continue with Singapore, and they also did not want to continue Saxon which we did the previous year. Where to go? Looking at our schedule and considering that now I had three levels to teach, I decided to go with a computer based math program. We chose Teaching Textbooks levels 3 (Sawyer) and 5 (Sims). Yep, I handed in the towel on math-my favorite subject. However, I freed up a lot of time and put a new responsibility on them. Initially, the kids were excited but unsure of whether or not they were going to like it. In the end, they loved it and asked to do it again next year.
My opinion of it-well, it definitely freed up some time. The kids took ownership of the program, and they were very good about asking me when they did not understand a concept. I do not think that either child was challenged much at these levels. However, at this time-a challenging program was not the goal. In their end of year testing, they each scored average on their computation skills (straight addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), and they scored amazingly well on their applied math skills. So I am happy that the program seems to be teaching the math in an applied way. We will continue to work on straight comupation skills, but understanding when and how to use those skills is more important in my mind. Beginning in the middle of May, I plan on getting them each started on the next level. Now that they are comfortable with the program and using the computer (My kids are not on the computer much so this program required them to also gain some basic computer skills), we will work on challenging their math brains a little more.
In addition to their basic math curriculums, each kiddo continues to work through the Life of Fred series. Parks and I started back at Apples and we just finished Butterflies. Sawyer worked through Cats, Dogs and Edgewood. Life of Fred is her favorite way to learn math! Sims worked with Parks on Butterflies and is now working through Goldfish on his own. Life of Fred is the only curriculum that my kids all ask to do-even on the weekends. The books are funny and entertaining.
What math program did you use this year? I am always interested in what others are using and how it is working for them!