Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our home school curriculum, subject by subject: Math

It’s easy for me to tell you about our math curriculum, because from third grade and up, we’ve been using one program only (at least so far!): Saxon Math.

Before third grade, we used printables or home made worksheets, and the Math Made Easy books (partially because we weren't able to get the Saxon Math books since we were abroad, and partially because our self-made program was more efficient at this stage), to cover all the areas of basic mathematics:
  • ·         Addition & Subtraction, with carrying and borrowing AND Graphs, Tables & diagram, skip counting by 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, 100s, even and odd numbers, Addition/Subtraction facts with sums of 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, and missing addends, e.g. 7+_=1, Doubling numbers from 1 through 9
  • ·         The clock – time, telling time to the minute, Ordinal numbers and the calendar
  • ·         Roman numerals
  • ·         Measuring units (metric system: length, liquid volume, weight, etc.)
  • ·         Shapes & Fractions, symmetry, solid shapes (sphere, cone, cube, cylinder, etc.)
  • ·         Money; value of coins, writing sums, e.g. $0.89 = 89¢, fractions of a dollar, e.g. 4 quarters or 10 dimes in a dollar, as well as conversions: 15,000 Lebanese pounds = $10, etc.
  • ·         Multiplication 0x – 12x, 10 by heart,  and dividing numbers in half
  • ·         Number words from 1-100, converting word problems into number problems

This prepared them enough to start the Saxon Math 5/4 book in third/fourth grade without too much time and effort spent.

I think that the structure of Saxon Math is ideal: each lesson involves a specific problem or concept, and it’s followed by a mixed practice. The way a new concept is introduced in each lesson almost always works for us, and I really appreciate the way Saxon Math repeats concepts over and over again in each mixed practice, which guarantees that nothing is overlooked or missed by the student.

It is a bit of a commitment: it takes my boys between 40 minutes and 1 hour every day to get through their math, and add all the tests, worksheets and extra investigations, you can say that Saxon Math is not exactly a quick program. Prof. husband, who studied advanced math in high school, and majored in physics his first couple of years at the university, has deemed it worth the investment though, and so far I can say that it must be, since both older boys are at the top of their class. Ha ha. (Seriously, all they do is work though the program, and any time I give them an external grade test, they score 100%.)

To read more about our general philosophy of education, read here.
To read more about our general curriculum idea, read here.

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