Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Great Math Debate Part 1

I am in a new position this year as I choose our materials for next school year.

I need a new math program.

Math has been our one constant through all our years of homeschooling. Every child so far has started Rightstart A in kindergarten and continued on in it each year. In another month or two though, Grace will be finishing up RightStart Level E and while there is a Level G (why no F?) I don't think we are going to use it.

Because:

It is a whole year of geometry, with a bit of review thrown in- at least from what I can tell. RightStart recommends that you combine Level G with Videotext Pre-Algebra, thus stretching the level out for two years and preparing the child to go into algebra in either 7th or 8th grade. I wasn't able to find very much information about using the program in this way, so I am reluctant to try it. I like to see at least a few reviews of a program and know that kids have succeeded with it before giving it a try. 

Also- RightStart isn't going to take us up through high school math anyway. I think it's probably better to get a year of non-algebra math from another program under our belt and then progress (hopefully) with that same program up through high school level math. A year to cement things and make sure we've got basic arithmetic down.

Ideally this will be the first and last time Grace switches homeschool math programs. Math is the one thing I really hate to jump around with- so I've had to nix Math Mammoth, because it doesn't go past sixth grade. My top contenders as of last night were Teaching Textbooks, Math-U-See, Saxon, and Singapore. I spent almost two hours last night reviewing the Teaching Textbooks website and reading threads about it over at The Well-Trained Mind. I have come to the conclusion that Teaching Textbooks would probably be great for me (as a non-mathy person) but may not be challenging enough for Grace (who is definitely mathy). My initial feeling is that Math-U-See may fall into the same category. But I need to do more research.

Right now I am leaning towards either Saxon or Singapore. I need to do more research on both of these. My initial concerns are that Saxon may feel a bit too intensive or dry and TWTM recommends that Singapore be supplemented (though it seems Singapore may sell supplementary materials). So off to do more research!

Either way, I am seriously considering using Life of Fred as a supplement to whatever sixth grade math we decide on.

1 comment:

  1. Check out Math Mammoth, seriously! We went from Saxon to Math Mammoth, and the kids LOVE it. It is simple and straightforward. Homeschool Buyers Co-op runs specials on it regularly.

    I like too that the author shows several approaches to various types of problems. For example, when Cyrus did division work, he learned about grouping, reverse multiplying, dividing by repeated subtraction, etc.

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