It took us a few years to get our math curriculum set. Because we never had much money, buying a set curriculum was out of the question when we started homeschooling, but we figured at least the first couple of years, we should be able to manage without one. At first we just taught the boys basic arithmetic such as adding, subtracting, missing addends, etc., as well as all the basic stuff; telling time, naming shapes, turning basic word problems into mathematical problems, measuring height, weight, etc. When they got to where they could do all that, we helped them memorize the timetables, and after that, we started on the more interesting problems, like division, or calculating the area of a triangle or a circle. To make sure we had everything covered, we would get cheaper general grade math books, find sites online (often state education websites) with lists of things that children should know at a certain grade, and then create worksheets accordingly. Although fun and rewarding, this was a lot of work, especially the higher the grade.
Then two summers ago I found a Saxon Math book for fourth grade at the used bookstore in Ft. Wayne, and bought it (because I had heard that Saxon Math was supposed to be good), if nothing else for a reference. This year August has been using it, and we are SOLD. He only has a couple of lessons left, and I have to say we all love it. It is very thorough, which I think is important for math, repetitive, which means nothing will go unnoticed, and the number of lessons is a comfortable 120 lessons, which we easily can cover in one academic year. The only problem is we only have the Student Edition, which is sufficient for August’s learning, but means that – without an answer key – Courtney or myself (mostly I) have to go through August’s work after each lesson and calculate all the problems ourselves to correct it. Now THAT is work, because honestly, fourth grade math is a long time away, and it’s not as easy as first or second grade math. You really have to do the problem. Now with Courtney’s new job we did get some funds for homeschooling and if we were in the US, I would have ordered the entire homeschool kit ages ago, however ordering things to Beirut is difficult and expensive at best, and we just can’t get the material.
After this summer things will be easier because we can order everything we need to Sweden – the fifth grade kit for August, as well as the fourth grade worksheets and answer keys for William, and the fourth and fifth grade assessment kits for both boys. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I’m stuck here calculating the area of a rectangle, and reading about how many pounds of oranges Miguel bought and what they cost. Sigh.