Tuesday, April 29

on homeschooling :: year in review :: math.

One of the subjects that I've been the most impressed with, when it comes to Audrey's performance, is math.
Even though she is a words girl like myself, she has really shown that if she puts her mind to something she will succeed.

A little over a year ago I read through the book The Well Trained Mind; I've said it once and I'll say it again, this book is basically the Bible for at-home classical education.
The authors are extremely thorough in explaining what classical education is and how to implement this style of learning at home.
One of the things that I found awesome about this book is the lists of curriculum recommendations.
Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer have been at this homeschooling thing for a very LONG time,
and have kept themselves up to date on different curricula for different subjects.
For each curriculum recommended there is a brief synopsis of the actual curriculum and what kind of teacher/student said curriculum would be best suited for.
 When it came to math, the top two recommendations were Saxon and Singapore.
After looking at both of them, it was quite obvious that they were both excellent, but Singapore definitely fit our small budget MUCH better.

With that knowledge I went onto the Singapore website to try and figure out which book would be best to start with.
Fortunately, on the website, you can view sample pages of the different books and even take a placement test, to see what book your student is on par with.
After judging what I knew Audrey to be capable of and looking over the sample pages, etc., I decided to start her out with Primary Mathematics 2A (U.S. Edition).
According to the website this book is on level with either the second part of an average 2nd grade year, or the first part of an advanced 2nd grade year.
We started working on this book pretty much as soon as her 1st grade school year ended,
and had it finished by the time summer was over.

Here is a sample page from workbook 2A::

After seeing her go through the first workbook pretty easily,
and gaining my confidence as her teacher,
I decided to only purchase the workbooks in her 2nd grade year, forgoing the textbooks.
This worked out really well for us, although I've already made the decision to do both textbooks and workbooks for 3rd grade, simply because the work gets harder, and I want to make sure that I'm explaining it the way Singapore has it set up.

Moving on from here I knew that I wanted to add in more math practice and review. 
I definitely believe that during these foundational years, the basics of math (and grammar) need to be known inside and out.
If a child doesn't have a good basic foundation in these subjects, subsequent schooling (think middle and high school) will be more challenging than necessary, and the lack of confidence and know-how, when faced with math as an adult, will be overwhelming and anxiety inducing.
And given that this book started covering borrowing and carrying numbers, and multiplication and division, this was definitely the school year to start making sure those facts and tables were good and ingrained.

After work book 2A we moved onto Intensive Practice 2A.

Some sample pages ::

After this we went directly into Primary Math 2B (U.S. Edition).

Some samples from 2B ::

This book had sections dealing with fractions, graphs, and geometry, ALL of which Audrey is a huge fan of.
There have been times while studying any one of these topics that she begs to continue on, even if she's already completed the day's work.
Uh, yeah, I won't say no to that!

From here I found a book that was simply a total level 2 Primary Math review,
so I decided to go for this instead of Intensive Practice 2B.

And, of course, some sample pages ::

Since this "technically" completed the school year, and it wasn't even February yet, I decided to, wait for it....add in even more review!!
Exciting, right?! ;)

I bought both Singapore Math Practice 2A and 2B at the same time,
and even though it's technically not part of the Primary Mathematics curriculum, 
it followed pretty closely to the things that were taught in Primary 2A and 2B.

Unfortunately, these didn't have any sample pages attached, so none for me to post here.

Some of the topics covered in this year of study have been, adding and subtracting numbers 1-1,000; multiplying and dividing by 2, 3, 4, 5, 10; graphs; fractions; money; time; length; weight; capacity; geometry; and mental calculations.

So that is 6 math workbooks completed in about 10 months.
This was done almost completely at Audrey's pace, and the most frustrating thing that we encountered was Audrey's need/want to get everything right the first time around.
We had a LOT of conversations about how school is for learning and you aren't supposed to know everything before you've actually learned it.
Oh, my little perfectionist. ;)

Audrey has also gotten into the habit of copying down her multiplication and division tables on most days, just to keep them fresh in her mind.
Singapore also offers more practice and review books like Challenging Word Problems and Math Sprints (which is basically a mental math book) that I may look into at some point.

For now I've been extremely happy with the results we've gotten from this curriculum and look forward to continuing on for the next school year. :)

*Sample pages are taken from the Singapore website, and unfortunately don't cover all of the different topics and difficulty levels in the books.

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