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?