Um. Wow. Last week was a big ol' blog fail! Really? Only 2 posts all week? Sigh. Third trimester. (That excuse has 3 months of staying power. Get used to it!)
Today I'd like to share our switcherooskies in the math department of late. First, some history:
1. The year we started homeschooling, Sweetheart was in 2nd grade and just home from private school. We stuck with what we knew from private school: A Beka curriculum. It worked fine that year.
2. In 3rd grade we changed a lot of things, but stuck with A Beka Arithmetic. Then, half-way through the year, it all fell apart. The book was going 100 mph and we were still back at the traffic light. Seriously. It really had less to do with A Beka being a "bad" curriculum, and more to do with Sweetheart's shaky math foundation. But whatever. I told her to throw her book away one day.
3. I researched and purchased Math U See. I started her way back on Alpha to catch up on all that foundation that was shaking. We flew through that book happily in about 2 or 3 months and started Beta. Flew through that one too. Math U See was awesome and it was working. I was happy. Her foundation was firming up.
4. We continued Math U See all the way through last year, where we found ourselves on Delta. We needed to finish a bit of Delta at the beginning of this school year and then I planned to go on to Epsilon. But...
...something wasn't working anymore. Sweetheart was confused and frustrated and we weren't getting anywhere. Hmm.
Now. I think Math U See is wonderful. I agree with the way the program is laid out. Mr. Demme rocks. I really like the whole thing. But WHAT ON EARTH SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME could be so hard about long division? I mean, I know it isn't EASY, but sheesh! So I ran across this little tutorial online one day and had Sweetheart watch it. And POOF just like that a light bulb went off over her head and she got it. I blogged about it here (with a link to the tutorial.)
So that really got me thinking about Teaching Textbooks. I had looked at this curriculum before but dismissed it because of the price tag. Then I saw a post on the Used Curriculum Group on The Homeschool Lounge. Someone was selling TT Grade 5 for a reasonable price. I snatched it up. I've had Sweetheart working on that for the last few weeks. She's on Lesson 16 and doing GREAT. Since it is a grade level "behind" her, she should be doing great. But actually, it has been a bit of a challenge. Did she know and understand place value from Math U See? Yes. But TT presents it SO differently she really had to think and work on it. They review a lot, which I like. And I'm not teaching her, which I like too. We both needed a little break from us+math.
I have not given up on Math U See. I still like it and we might pick it back up one day. But my plan for now is for her to finish TT Grade 5 (working on it over the summer too) and then make a decision. Basically, I'm procrastinating but my child is still learning math in the meantime. WIN!
As for Little Bit...well. Math U See wasn't working for her either. Mr. Demme is big about NOT moving on until they have mastered something and we were part-way through learning the addition facts and stuck from moving on because they were NOT being committed to her memory. Where is that place you can unscrew the top of their head and just pour the knowledge in? Cause I really needed to find it. She's such a smart girl and we were stuck on stupid addition facts!!
So, last month I decided there were lots of other things she COULD be learning until we reach that magical moment when she just gets it. Because that's how she works. Just up and learned to ride without training wheels a few weeks ago. Just. Like. That. Until then, we are learning money, and place value, and time and all kinds of things. And enjoying it, by the way.
So, now that you know we were stuck on addition, you've probably surmised that we never made it to subtraction. No stress there. I KNOW how far behind we are! So this week she and I were working on the white board writing and reading bigger numbers and she started making up "word problems" for me with illustrations. We took turns doing that. You know, Alex had 4 apples and he ate 2. How many does he have now? That kind of thing.
And then Little Bit says, "OK-I have one for you Mom. (she draws this out on the board) Mike had 8 toy cars. He lost 2 of them, but then bought 3 more. How many does he have now?"
Um. Did you just make a multi-step subtraction problem? Why yes, she did. AND she totally understood how to do them as well! I shake my head at that girl. I never know what to expect.
I plan on finishing this school year Math U See Free. We shall see what next year holds. It's a good curriculum, but sometimes other things work better.
The best laid plans...