Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition -- Math

I'm almost embarrassed to post again. I completely forgot about last week's post. By the time a friend alerted me, I was too behind and too busy to post. So, I'll try to include an extra little treat at the end (if I can figure out how to upload it!).

I'm thrilled though that this week is Math because James finished his Primer level this week! I filled out his first certificate that he wants to keep in his room, and we have officially started on the Alpha level.

We use Math-U-See as our curriculum. If you do much reading on homeschooling, math is one of those subjects that everybody has a strong opinion on. I don't. I've read about waiting to start math until they're 10 years old, I'm just not brave enough to try it. I've read about teaching straight math facts whether or not they understand what they're learning, and I've read about taking a gentle approach to learning math.

Math-U-See is a very gentle approach, in my opinion. I'm still not quite sure why I chose it except that it seemed to present the material in a practical way. It is also recommended on Ambleside Online (a Charlotte Mason community). James understands what he's learning, and it's exciting to see! Math-U-See sets a foundation for future algebraic equations as well. Believe it or not, story problems were introduced in the Primer level as well as solving for an unknown. It is very gentle and not at all hard for him, and I don't think it's because he is gifted. I'm not convinced that he is in math.

Math-U-See uses manipulatives to teach the concepts. The manipulatives are colored rods for each number 1-10 and they have blocks for the hundreds. The rods can also be used as building blocks (Legos idea) and my children have enjoyed that aspect as well! As with any curriculum, you can modify exactly how you use it. I found that the manipulatives greatly added to understanding what was being taught. In fact, today, as I was making out some subtraction flashcards, I asked him what 9-1 was. He hesitated and then said 8. Then he said, "I remembered how I built it, Mommy."

Math-U-See also introduces place value in a unique and gentle way so that the child understands what 359 is. He understands that there are 3 hundreds, 50 tens, and 9 ones. That's amazing to me!

In the Primer level, he was gently introduced to writing the numerals, using the colored rods, adding +1 up through 10, adding double numbers (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc.), adding combinations of numbers that equal 10 (6+4, 7+3, 8+2, etc.), telling time and subtracting by 1. As he learned each concept, I made flashcards to go along with them. Math-U-See also introduced adding the tens. For example, after he learned all of the +1 equations (1+1, 2+1, 3+1, etc.), he learned 10+10, 20+10, 30+10, etc. I decided to add the hundreds to it and made flashcards for 100+100, 200+100, etc. He had absolutely no trouble understanding what it meant after I explained it the first time.

I have enjoyed doing math with James, and he enjoys it as well. It ranks up there with his favorite subjects. Actually, the only subjects he doesn't like are piano (wouldn't you know that I'm a piano teacher) and German. Oh, well.


Catherine said...

I hadn't heard of that math program before, it sounds interesting. Does it go up very high, or do you eventually have to switch to another curriculum?

Dovey said...

That's the great thing about this curriculum! It goes through Algebra 1&2, Geometry, and Pre-Calc. It also has a stewardship module which is a Christian approach to consumer math & personal finance.

I'm never naive enough to say that I'm going to stick with only one program the whole way through, but I like what this is so far. It is very user friendly with a teacher guide and a DVD that "teaches" the lesson to the kids. Each teaching segment is less than 5 minutes long.

We have really enjoyed it and, unless something happens that I don't like, I'll continue with it!

Anonymous said...

Where's the video of Evelyn?

~Babychaser~ said...

That's great! Thanks for sharing!

Dawne said...

Just wanted to say hello! I am homeschooling our 2 boys, ages 4 and 6 and probably adding in my 12, 11 and 9 year olds this coming fall. ;)

Shannon in Dallas said...

Just browsing your blog and I found this entry about Math. One site that I really like is this one:

Kindergarten Math

You can make the sheets as difficult or as easy as you like. Love it.

Just thought I would share.