Last night I had the rare opportunity to have dinner with my husband alone. The kids went with Grandma and Grandpa so me and Chris ate dinner and went grocery shopping together. He asked if we were excited to come back from our two-week break from “school” on Monday. If school is learning than we never really stopped, but I knew what he was talking about. Am I excited to plan out our activities in a planbook and schedule assignments? Yes, super excited, but only because I have seen something beautiful going on in the boys, and I think my job is about to get a lot more pleasant. My husband is going to join me even more this coming year. 2013 is going to be good, I can feel it.
As me and the hubby talked about what changes need to be made in our homeschool, math was at the forefront as our conversation turned to how we could make it better. We are using Teaching Textbooks. It’s a program that gives a lecture online, then the student does a few practice problems, and then he does about 20 math problems. It’s auto graded and really kinda’ neat. The problem is, my kid is used to another program. We began with A beka, which was hard-core advanced and actually managed to incorporate Bible into the subject. How many Bibles does Tim have if he sells 37 of his 52 Bibles? Yeah, something like that. My kid learned a lot with A Beka and he graduated kindergarten in 6 months, but hated the books. He didn’t like school when we were using the super advanced program. So we switched to Sonlight, and he loved it, but they didn’t provide math. So we tried Horizons math, Alpha Omega math(another program, but the same company), and I looked at Saxon. The programs were all similar, with some having more practice than others, some workbooks being more colorful, and all great choices. But then I came across Miquon math and Singapore Primary Math. They use a lot of manipulates in the early grades, namely Cuisinaire rods. Singapore Primary Math helps cement the concepts of adding, subtracting, and how much more would be needed to make Sally get to 50.
I like that they (the Singapore Primary/Miquon company) look at the math problems from every single angle. They take 3 numbers and have the child do everything they can with those number bonds to help the child understand said numbers. There is absolutely no memorization involved in Singapore. Awesome. When it comes to multiplication, Singapore has the child use their brains instead of memorization. I am not knocking memorizing, it’s how I did it in school and it works for a lot of people. But I like the deep learning that happens even if it takes more time. For example, instead of memorizing 7×7, they have the student use multiples of 5, which is easily understood, to get to 35. Then from there, how many tens and ones are need? We used 5 sevens and so we need 2 more. How many tens do we add to 35? One ten, which makes it 45. How many ones are in 14 that we add to the 45? Four ones which make the answer 49. It goes a lot faster in the head and really creates analytical thinking. Another HUGE plus to the program is that because there’s no memorization, there is no drill or massive amounts of workbook work. The kids do just enough to practice and understand. So much of their practice continues on in real-life learning. Singapore math is also really inexpensive, but teacher intensive. It’s a trade-off.
My husband and me talked about switching to Singapore. I just don’t know if I can handle the extra work that it would take me. That’s when my husband offered to take on helping me with math. He would be their official math “teacher” and I would be his helper in that subject. I would help the boys do their everyday work and Dad would do the teaching of new concepts.
I was very happy to have the support. I wouldn’t have thought to ask for his help, until he offered and it sounded like a great answer. My oldest will be done with Teaching Textbooks in 3 months and then we’ll switch to Singapore.
My youngest use Singapore (Teaching Textbooks doesn’t make math programs for the younger grades) and I had planned for them to use TT once they were older. But I can safely say that we are going back to Singapore for all elementary grades and we are sticking with it until high school. That’s when the books stop and we’ll need to find something else. We’ll probably go with My Father’s World’s recommendations.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I’ve enjoyed talking about our math. Some other changes are being made, but I’ll save those for another day. Thanks for reading!