Math. We’ve used so many different programs for math for my youngest. It wasn’t my favorite subject in school, and it wasn’t my favorite subject to teach in elementary school, either. I’ve been searching for the perfect math curriculum for as long as I’ve been homeschooling and both of my girls are in high school now.
Here’s What I Do Know
Every kid is different. Yes, you know that, too. But truly, one math curriculum does not work for another. Take my own children for example. I tried almost everything to get my eldest daughter to NOT love Saxon. She did. And still does. And she’s thriving with it. She gets that from her dad, certainly.
My youngest is just like me. She doesn’t care about formulas, and the answer, “because that’s how you’re supposed to do it” just doesn’t fly with her. Me either. We want to know why. If we could study and analyze an algebraic formula as if it were a character in a great fiction novel, we’d do well and even love algebra. But we don’t.
Math Non-Math Lovers Like
Notice the word “like.” I don’t think my youngest will ever love math. She’s a writer after all. And I know that is a broad generalization, but she’s really a writer, meaning that she spends all of her free time writing books. She’s on her third. Her sister loves to write, too, and is a gifted writer as well, but she’s not a writer. It all goes back to where we put our time and attention, doesn’t it? Where we put our time and attention can dictate our temperaments and our personalities. So there might actually be something to that generalization after all.
Right Start Math
Both of my girls enjoyed Right Start Math when they were little. We all loved the math games. I enjoyed teaching it. It does give kids a good foundation and makes learning about numbers and number patterns fun. There are other things that you can do with your young children to teach these things, which I did when I was teaching in the elementary classrooms as well, such as use pattern blocks, base ten blocks, etc.
My youngest really, really liked Teaching Texbooks. You can read our review of it here. Since her sister was thriving with Saxon, I tried to get this child to use Saxon, too. This resulted in many tears until we went to Teaching Textbooks. If it weren’t for the fact that the buddies changed when we went to Pre-Algebra, she would still be using this math curriculum. But, this writer-child became so attached to her previous buddies (read what these are on my review), that she could not wrap her mind around having a new format and new buddies for the Pre-Algebra and so we switched yet again.
Hindsight teaches a lot, doesn’t it. Perhaps I should have pushed her through it, and continued with Teaching Textbooks, but her math tears became my math tears and I had had enough of those.
Enter Math U See
A friend of mine gave me her old Math U See Pre-Algebra. A quick glance told me that I could easily understand this, so I showed it to my writer-child. She liked the looks of it. She liked that one lesson takes only 20-30 minutes. She liked that you work on one concept for a full week, and that practice from previous lessons is woven in, but not to the point of, well, of Saxon.
Writer-child is still using Math U See and is now working in the Algebra book. I know that this child will not pursue a career in the STEM field, and so this is fine for her right now. I don’t anticipate her getting a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT, and that’s perfectly fine, too. I didn’t, and I still graduated with a master’s degree with honors.
It’s All About Your Child
If you are freaking out about math. Please don’t. All will be well. It will! Don’t be like me and get distracted by any new and shiny math program that comes your way. We also tried Singapore, and several other workbooks from various companies. Stick to what you know works for your child, and don’t let the word “behind” enter your vocabulary.
I was given the Learn Math Fast System Volume I and Volume II. I like this math curriculum. If you read on their website, they state that if your child is “behind” (a term I don’t love when it comes to math), that this program is for you. I’m giving these two away. All you have to do is enter below and comment about what math program you use, and how you and your child feels about it. Good luck!