Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to our math curriculum

Since my last post on this subject, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what my next step should be regarding our math curriculum.  I have been able to do a lot of research on line and I have been able to talk to many people about what they use and why.  It is always interesting to me what works for one family absolutely doesn't work for another family.  This all goes back to one of the reasons I decided to homeschool, so I can find the perfect fit for each individual child.  I heard about many companies and typically pros and cons to all of them.  I would like to say this dilemma did come at a good time since our local homeschooling curriculum fair just ended.  I was able to do the research I needed and ask the questions I needed to ask and flip through the different workbooks to see what might be a good fit for our kids.

In my mind I had 2 pretty clear options.  Stick with Horizons and see if things get better or switch to a curriculum that uses a mastery approach.  I, of course, was leaning towards switching since my 4 year old was already talking about the repetition involved with Horizon Math,  I would almost call it "busy work."  Singapore was always the first name that came up when talking about a mastery approach so that is what I looked into.  It is a completely different style, but one I think my kids will enjoy.  The biggest con I heard was that if you want to switch back later on, it can be a hard switch for the kids to understand a different learning style.  I guess I will just have to see if that is ever an issue for our family.

We are about a week away from finishing the first of two Kindergarten workbooks from Horizon, so I wasn't exactly sure where to start looking for my oldest.  Do I start Kindergarten all over again with Singapore or do I start her halfway through and hope the material is similar?  I looked the Kindergarten A and B textbooks and I knew Addison would have no problems.  I then looked at the 1A book and felt pretty good about it.  It was some stuff I thought she knew, plus others that she could learn.  That is what we are looking for, something to learn, right?  However, I was having a struggle putting my 4 year old into 1st grade math.  I mentioned it to another homeschooling mom and she was like, "why not?" Simple sentence, but it sure did make me feel better!

Singapore does have a placement test to judge where you should start your child, so I decided to have Addison take it just to double check myself.  As we sat down, in my mind, I thought I knew what she could and probably couldn't do, boy was I wrong.  I can't believe how well she did on the test.  There were word problems (which she had never done before) that she just sailed through.  There were of course some things she didn't know, but overall, she did way better than I expected.  Since she did so well, I knew I was making the right decision  with purchasing Singapore's first grade math curriculum!

A little side story...

The girls were having a snack and we were talking about Laney getting ready to turn 3.  All of a sudden, Addison looks at Laney with such excitement and says "Laney, when you turn 3, you can start doing math lessons like me!!"  They both started screaming and giggling with excitement.  I had already decided Laney was ready for Singapore's Kindergarten math, but I was going to wait until the fall.  However, after I saw the expression on her face when she got her very own math workbook, we will be starting sooner than later!

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