Thursday, 31 July 2008

Preparing for 2008-2009 ~ Math

This past week, I have been reflecting on our home schooling adventure. Every summer, for the past three years, has been a time of assessment and preparation.

Assessment because I have always thought that, as much as we enjoy home schooling, we would take it one year at a time, and decide at the end of each school year, if we would continue on or not. We will be homeschooling this coming school year of 2008-2009, but with some changes.

So in Preparation, one major change will be with Math.

Part of the daily frustration these past two years has come from using a Math curriculum, that I finally am willing to admit, is not the best fit for us. We used Saxon Math and even though it is one of the top choices for home school families, it might not work for everyone. With Dragon in particular, it has been a battle. I have finally let myself think, that Math can be fun and that maybe, a school-type curriculum is not absolutely necessary. I have also had somewhat of a light bulb moment...maybe the "battles" that Dragon and I have had come from the use of a curriculum that just isn't the best for him. If you are a home school parent, I imagine that maybe you could relate...

Anyway, I have been researching other ways of doing Math. I still need some outline! I have found a couple of interesting options so far, and I will be deciding soon what we will use...

The first one is from the Living Math! website. This site is full of amazing articles, book lists, learning ideas, game links, and math links. The readers lists alone are a treasure! Listed by topics such as multiplication, algebra, and money, the lists give you picture and chapter book suggestions. I am planning on using these for Princess, as we start gently this fall learning about numbers. For Fairy and Dragon, I have been looking at the Living Math History Outlines on that site. Here is a quick description of the lessons from the website:

"Lessons are based on two full cycles of history, of four quarters each, with the focal point of each lesson on an individual(s) who created influential mathematical ideas." Math might actually become interesting! If you want to visit the site, click on here.

Another option I found for Dragon is the Noble Knights of Knowledge Math Program. This looks so much fun! It covers about 4 years of math instructions (grades 1 to 4). Here is some more information from the site :

"The program can also be used to strengthen the understanding of math that middle school students have, especially if they are struggling with exponents, algebra and the like. It builds or reconstructs strong foundations. For this reason no grade level is mentioned in the books. Kindergarten students can also use the program to begin the early stages of counting. Division in the form of "sharing out" is fun for youngsters as is sorting colors, number identification using gems, and Flambert's game for math facts. The learning and introduction of new steps, of course, takes a gentle pace."

I do feel that Dragon could use some reviewing and re-strengthening of his math knowledge. I think that taking a whole school year or half of one would benefit in the long run. This program could be used with Princess too, and Fairy might find it fun also. If you want more info on this Noble Knights Math, click here.

The last interesting Math option that I found is more for Fairy. It is a series of living books called Life with Fred. We would start with Life of Fred : Fractions first. The books tell the story of Fred, after each lesson/chapter there is a chance to try out what you have learned in that chapter. After every four or five chapters, there are more questions that review everything learned from the beginning of the book. The Fractions book covers a whole lot more than just fractions. You can visit the site and download a sample of each of the books. To visit click here.

I will post later about our other subject choices for this coming year.


  1. ces méthodes ont l'air fortes intéressantes...effectivement le côté ludique des choses a énormément d'importance pour les enfants.

  2. Good for you for not just sticking to it because it seems to work for everyone else and for actually trying to find something that will work for you.

  3. Hi there, I'm visiting from the home education carnival site. Our family has been homeschooling for 4 years now and I have tried NOT to get pigeon-holed into any particular curriculum. There are alot of benefits to trying new programs and mixing and matching with what works for you and the kids. That's what homeschooling is all about - finding what works for your learner.
    Good luck with the new adventures!

  4. I've used the above (Living Math and Noble Knights) we love them both. For drill work you might consider Quarter Mile Math - it's on the computer and you basically race horses or cars (against yourself, although my boy hasn't picked up on that fact yet). Adding the Fun Way and Multiplication the Fun Way are two other resources that's I've used for Math facts that has made Math fun in our house. I think you've made some good choices this year and I look forward to visiting again and hearing how it goes.

  5. Sounds like you have found a couple of really great programs! I'm going to have to check them out *grin* You can never be to informed on all of the options available out there :) Thanks for sharing.

  6. Something you may want to check out is Teaching Textbooks for math Homeschoolers are switching from Saxon to Teaching Textbooks in droves. Up until now I have been tailoring math with individual math pages and real-life math, but this year, for Gr. 5 math we'll be giving this a try. You can sample a lesson online and see how your kids like it - my son loves to teach himself and thinks this is great.


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