Saturday, January 31, 2015

Math–An Overview

We began our official homeschooling journey when Olivia was four, and starting preschool.   It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this for eight years already!

In those eight years, we’ve used three different math curriculums.  I thought I’d share my thoughts and opinions on all three here.  This is not a review per se, just me sharing what we’ve used and why we’ve changed.

Abeka:

I used Abeka math  from preschool through 2nd grade with Lindsey, and preschool through 4th grade with Olivia.  

Pros:  The program is thorough.   The scripted teachers books is perfect for the beginning homeschooler.  The colored pages in the workbooks are bright and cheery.  Math is taught in a spiral method (this is also a con, read below).

Cons:   The colored pages had too much going on and were a complete distraction for Olivia, who became more focused on the artwork in the book than the math.   The math was taught in a spiral method, however sometimes a concept would be taught one day, and not spiraled back around to for several weeks.   Or, similar subjects like 1/4, quarter till the hour, quarter after the hour, monetary quarter (25cents) were all introduced within a very short time frame, using the term “quarter” which completely confused Lindsey.

Math Mammoth:

We used Math Mammoth for 3rd grade for Lindsey and 5th grade for Olivia.

Pros:  You can buy the entire curriculum on DVD and have grades 1-6, for a low price and you can print the lessons as you need, or over again if you need.    Mathematical concepts are taught in several ways, which can help the student who learns differently.   There are free, online videos you can watch to help with some of the topics.

Cons:  There is no color, no graphics and quite honestly it is dry and dull.   Some of the pages just flat refuse to print in sections where there are charts etc.   This is more of a work text, with little teacher involvement and little teacher guidance.   New mathematical concepts are taught in several ways, spread out over several lessons.   Both kids were thoroughly confused by the 2nd or 3rd explanation and became really frustrated.  We lost a LOT of ground mathematically during this year, and both kids came away hating math.

Horizons Math:

We used Horizons for 4th and 6th grade math.

Pros:   The pages have color, and a few graphics.  It’s fun and engaging, but not distracting.   The teachers book has lesson plans, suggestions on how to teach the lesson, test answers, lesson answers and additional worksheets that you can use if necessary.   New items are covered well, and reviewed for the next several lessons and then in small increments later in the curriculum.

Cons:  As we’ve entered the pre-algebra realm, there are a few places where I feel that their really needs to be a bit more explanation in the teacher’s manual…or maybe I really need to remember my high school math better, grins.

Overall though, we are thrilled with Horizons and plan to continue with it next year.   Both girls have regained a fondness (I wouldn’t say love) for math, and I’ve seen both of their grades and comprehension raise well above last year.

If you would like to find out about other math curriculums, be sure to hop over to the Math Curriculum Link Up at Home & School Mosaics.

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