## Monday, January 9, 2012

### What’s working and what’s not: Math edition

I’m excited to be joining in the Virtual Curriculum Fair, hosted by Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This week’s discussion is about math – what works and hasn’t worked for us.

At the beginning of the school year, I posted here that we were planning on using Montessori Math, supplemented with Math-U-See Alpha and Shilller Math.

What didn’t work?

Well, the biggest thing that didn’t work for us was Shiller Math. At the beginning of the year, I tested Aikman with the assessment, and found where I needed to place him within the series.  Upon this starting place, I was having a hard time with the terminology used.  For instance, it taught rows and columns without an application, and was not used until much later in the first book.  It also used the terminology square where the term “square number” should be used. Likewise, it asked questions that were about his comprehension level (ie “how many 1/2 cups does it take to make 2?”)

Early on, we stopped using Shiller, and instead went back to Math-U-See.  We had almost finished the Primer (kindergarten) book at the end of last school year (May).  We have finished Primer, and have currently stopped on lesson 11 in Alpha.  For those true Montessorians who are not familiar with MUS, we are currently working on addition facts using the addition charts.

So, how are we combining MUS with Montessori?  This is actually a complicated question… I do most of the presentations from Karen Tyler’s math album that are related to the lesson at hand.  So, currently, we’ve been doing a mixture of the MUS blocks along with the addition charts to complete problems out of the book. I use the problems on these worksheets in lieu of the addition strip box.

Currently, he’s become frustrated with addition tables, which I am taking that as his sensitive period is changing, and that he is want different work rather than addition.  For the month of December, we focused on other math related things – money numeration (ie reading a price tag), counting money, and geometric shapes.  For the month of January, he still doesn’t have interest in addition facts, so we are experimenting with fractions instead.  He has been LOVING it!!  (This is an upcoming post….)

In a few weeks, we’ll go back to addition tables again, when his interest returns.  I must say that this is definitely one of the perks of homeschooling, and since he is advanced mathematically (per the school system’s requirements), I’m not worried about this lapse in learning.

What has been working?

Hands-on learning and games:  He LOVES games, so anything that involves a game is working well.  In fact, as I write this, he’s creating a new board game for us to play.

Follow the child:  This is still key for us…. for a LONG time, adding was going wonderfully; now that he’s lost interest, his love of math is returning, and he’s loving doing something other than addition charts.

So what’s working for you, and what isn’t?  Are you adapting to your child’s ever-changing attitude and interests, or do you stick to a specific curriculum outline?  How’s math going for you?

Susan said...

I wouldn't call that a "lapse in learning" but exploring new patterns. ;0)

Sounds like he is doing great and very fortunate to have a mom who can read his interests and provide new learning opportunities.

Thank you for joining the Virtual Curriculum Fair!

Joi said...

Have you ever tried Menu Math? It is a workbook put out by Scholastic. Whenever my children got frustrated with what we are learning, I would take a week's break and let them use Menu math. We would just print out the menus and 'play restaurant'. The children would then calculate our bill. They were learning and did not realize it. :)

crittersandcrayons said...

This is very interesting- I'm not homeschooling but our daughter is in a montessori program and our son will start next year. We bought her the gradient counting rods- and that is about as much math as I've tried to work on with her. She has taken to measuring things with the rods with the inch increments. Love your blog and will be passing it to my friend who will be home pre-schooling her son and daughter soon!

Cherine M said...

I have to say that we keep going back to our golden beads (static & dynamic addition, sub & multi so far)...Xander loves them!! He gets such a kick out of larger problems. Now...he is starting to understand the value of quick recall of facts. Games are a huge hit also, and anything we can find on the computer is also a big draw. I slowly slide in the memory work with tables here and there...it will come:))
We school in waves...one week he may be very language focused - as was last week - this week is mainly math and science.
I really appreciate your honesty...this is such a wonderful blog:))

jmommymom said...

This is a great blog. I just subscribed by email. Thank you for the information and product reviews.

We love to play games for math. Here are a few that have worked for us.
http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/11/math-for-prek-and-kindergarten.html