choosing the right Math curriculum

Choosing curriculum can be difficult.  Math is a subject that I prefer not to teach past second grade.  We are currently using Teaching Textbooks for third and sixth grade and that is going great.  The lessons are short and interactive with all teacher instruction being done by the CD ROM.  The gradebook allows you to keep track of your students progress and even erase lessons you want them to repeat.  You can read my previous review on TT for more details.

I’ll admit I am considering a switch to Saxon for seventh grade just because Isaiah no longer needs the interactive lectures and instant feedback.  For Kindergarten Math we are using Bob Jones which I am not loving.  So started my journey of shopping around for something else.  There is nothing like having to switch mid year (and spend more money) to get you FOCUSED!!!!!  At this point I have my guard up and am less interested in the prettiest pages!  So in order to make my decision I made a list of some questions to ask about each potential candidate.

  • Is the curriculum largely mastery-based, or
    spiraling?
  • What is the cost?
  • Is it colorful or black and white?
  • How teacher-intensive is it? Does it require
    much teacher preparation?
  • Is the curriculum scripted?
  • What do the reviews say?

Honestly, I am so miserable with BJU, cost isn’t too much of a factor.  Trinity works better with black and white because it offers her less distraction.  I personally like scripted lesson plans that do not require much preparation.  And we do all her work together anyway so the BIG research went to the question spiral or Mastery?

Spiral programs introduce a variety of topics without expecting children to fully understand them.  With repeated exposure and continuous review, children have numerous opportunities to learn and master all necessary concepts.  Mastery programs require children to fully understand a concept before moving to another one.  For instance, a child learning addition would learn to add 4 digit numbers before moving on to subtraction.  Because mastery programs require full understanding of the subject matter, children may not move through lessons as quickly and encounter very little review of previously covered material in subsequent lessons.

After consulting one of my FAVORITE sites www.homeschoolmath.net and reading reviews from www.homeschoolreview.com  , I placed an order with www.christianbook.com for McRuffy Color Math (Kindergarten) with manipulatives .  Wish us luck 🙂

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