21 November 2014

Highschool Level Math Options ~ What's Worked for Us

Erin From The Usual Mayhem created a post, a good while back now , about 5 Affordable Math Options for Highschool which got me thinking about the math tools that have been affordable, and used with success in our home.
(I've finally got around to dusting the 'draft' mode off  this post and posting it.)

An affordable math course is not always synonymous with a successful math course in our home :/  I've purchased some courses that were affordable, money wise,  yet they worked out costing us more long term, both in wasted time and dollars spent, since the text, or tutor,  just did not teach the best way for my students to learn and retain the information.  Amazingly those some flop-for-us math courses are another family's favourite .. so take my comments with that thought in mind; what works for us may be your absolute math flop of the year.

The options listed are the ones that we've used, and are still using, for our NZ highschool students.
A key point about curricula is that no matter how cost effective it may be, or good the course is, or how much the children and I like it  - the benefits can only be had when we actually knuckle down and use the teaching tools at our disposal.  ☺

1: Khan Academy: Algebra and Beyond
2: Life of Fred Highschool books
Update: I notice the LOF Calculus book is listed under the University Level and we don't have that book and after reading a review someone on TWTM gave on the content ... I think we might just skip it  :-/  (We did, the themes are pretty yucky)
3: IXL - NZ Math Curriculum yr 10-13  (good fit for Jay)
4: CTC Math  (good fit for Daisy.  We may switch to the NZ equivalent, Math Buddy, once our subscription is finished with CTC Math)
5: Real Life Math

Khan Academy: Algebra and Beyond , and,  Life of Fred Highschool books work as a successful combination in our home - and yes, ongoing involvement is required on my part to ensure that both Khan's online math course and LOF are being used to their full potential for each student. Just 'playing' on Khan,  and reading through the storyline of LOF books is not going to cut it as solid math tuition.

Part way through this year (2014), due to unforeseen circumstances, we needed to switch to a math course that was going to allow me to monitor what the children we're mastering, or not, from a less hands on stance so we signed up with IXL - NZ Math Curriculum yr 10-13 .  I was a little dubious at first as we've tried a computerised math text before, Teaching Textbooks - which was one of the  resounding flops (!) for the child I'd purchased it for - thankfully IXL is working with great success for us.   Others experience may differ.
UPDATE: I didn't intend, long term, to leave Daisy learning via IXL  as it has very little indepth instruction, and so had her learning via CTC Maths.

Real Life Math is key for us and one of the most affordable 'courses' we use - it's free;  just use the math techniques you've learnt, or learn it so you can use it.  This is also a good spot to see what math skills the children don't know yet or have not retained .
We try to ensure that the bulk of what the children are learning can be transferred over to use in real life practical application somewhere, at some point.
So shopping, building projects, sewing, cooking (includes catering for crowds) , working out trip/holiday costs, mixing up farm/yard sprays, importing goods from overseas,  raising and selling live stock, etc..   ensure that many of those math skills get put to work.
Mixing up the medicine for the turkey's, and the live stock,  the first few times takes some number crunching - just ask Jay and Dn ☺☺

Wondering if you have a highschool leveled math course, or approach, that is working in your home that you'd recommend to others?

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