18 July 2015

Maths ~ Options We've Used from Age 6 to the End of Highschool

I often get asked what we've used for maths with Jay and Daisy.  (We use this spelling of "maths" because we're British-based spellers :-) )
Though I've written a post focusing on the highschool maths options we were using,  I thought I'd back up and start from our primary school years and then include all the highschool level options Jay has used, in this post.

My purpose, not only with maths, has always been to find the tools that met the need of each child, and as they both have such different strengths, and learning styles, we've tried to customise our choices to suit them personally.  I didn't expect, or require, Daisy to try and follow along in the maths path Jay and I were creating for him.

During the younger years of maths discovery we used many !!
hands on tools (puzzles, manipulatives,  games - lots of games.)
real life maths applications (cooking, shopping, measuring and cutting etc) ,
living math books,
and, maths Dvd's like Singapore Maths & Mathtacular (though we weren't fussed on #4 in that series!).

I'll list a few of the less obvious board games that we've enjoyed using over the years. Chess, Domino's, Battle Ships, Bingo, Matching cards,  Monopoly, and most dice involved games, are what I classify as obvious maths games :)
Younger Years Maths Exploration
Youngers & Middles
Wedgits
Create a Critter (science) (math)
Colorku Suduko (math)
Think it Through (Discovery Toys) (math/phonics)
Marbles & Marble Mat (math) (hand-eye coordination)
Perfection (math) (hand-eye coordination)
Dino Math
Aunty Pasta Fractions
Puzzlesum
Thinkfun (puzzle) Games

Older
The NZ Investment Game

All Ages
Resort  (geog) (math)
Scotland Yard (math)
Getaway (geog) (math)
Connect Four Advanced
Some maths tools we've used over the years
We're still using gamesreal life maths  (there is always so much happening herewith all the projects the children are doing or helping with) and living maths literature in our highschooling years, though obviously at a much higher level.

Another higher schooling math application/option, that kiwimum recommended we try - excellent suggestion - was to focus on just doing the maths portions inside Apologia's Chemistry texts.  Jay is happy to use a science text this way, as a maths tool;  yet, he remains science text, with experiments, resistant.

With 'formal' maths curriculum we've taken a slightly different route to most, here it is:

Jay
1: Singapore Maths (only up to book 3b),  &, Miquon
2: Making Math Meaningful, and, Life of Fred (and lots of discovery maths tools)
3: Teaching Textbooks 
(Used TT for  6 months; the program was a resounding flop for him!)
4: Art of Problem Solving 
(this series is excellent; but Jay found the writing style in the texts were too long winded for him.  He used to say, "I liked maths, but not that much."  ;-) ) so we switched to....
5: Khan Academy & Life of Fred 
(he's completed all the LOF books we have. We don't have, nor will we be purchasing LoF Calculus... the story line is yuck!)  Khan & LoF were  a really good fit for Jay, yet once I ran out of LoF books for him to use Khan became a bit too 'random' for me to use as a stand alone maths tool for him, and Jay would get seriously distracted by other stuff on the site so we decided to move to...)
6: IXL      
During a year of sickness with one of our family I elected to switch him to something I didn’t have to “think” about monitoring so much.

(2015)  And IXL , along with maths literature and real life maths, is where he still is, and enjoying it.  He will refer to Khan for assistance, but doesn’t spend his maths time there.  He's reading through some of the LOF texts again as review, and for the fun factor.
Jay is only a year away from completing all the levels of math we are wanting him to go through; then we're not sure what he'll do - so many options! 

7:  (2016) He completed his last year of prescribed Maths using NCEA Mathematics Standards via The New Zealand Correspondence School.    Those who know us in real life will have heard of Jay's opinion on 'getting' Maths done this way :-D
8: (2017) Jay has now moved into Accounting, and Business related topics, as his Maths focus for this year.

Real Life Maths:  One of the projects Jay has worked on.
Daisy
1: Miquon and small amounts of Singapore Maths
(she needed extra visual and tactile, discovery type, tools.  So I incorporated Mathtacular Dvd’s, lots of maths games, Singapore Maths Dvd’s, Applied (real life) maths.  I entertained using Developmental Math with her, but after comparing curriculums, and praying, we then went with:
2: Making Math Meaningful    
One of Daisy's choice of Maths Manipulatives to use with MMM
She stopped a little before book 5 and we switched her to just using  Life of Fred and Khan Academy for instruction.  Daisy is not a maths intuitive student, as are some students,  she requires clear in depth instruction that obviously caters to her learning style; which includes an organised, systematic, teaching buddy along with discovery styled forms of instruction (visual/tactile.  ie: in the increasing levels in maths acumen using colouring in maths diagrams for things like percentages works really well too).  While she was using these 2 maths tools I was not able to be that teaching buddy/ maths topic co-ordinator, due to that year of sickness with one of our family members, so she asked to have a go on:
3: IXL   
She did okay with this but long term needed more visual instruction than IXL gives.   IXL is designed for practice, and does not give in depth instruction with a selection of examples.  I thought of adding in some Key To books, but she was keen to have an instructor ;) ). So we've moved  her to: 
4: CTC Math  (Mathbuddy)
(US equivalent ofMathbuddy;  we’ll switch to MB once our CTC subscription expires.)  
CTC is an excellent fit for her as it comes with an instructor who uses visual diagrams, teaches thoroughly & clearly, and the instructor has an Australian accent; which is much more user friendly for us to listen to than some of the other overseas instructors we've previewed :D

Along with CTC Math, Daisy is also going through Life of Fred for review, not as her leading maths tool.
(2016 update) Daisy has a few more years of Maths to complete yet and I'll come back and update as we go along
Practical, Real life Maths
Jay and Daisy both really enjoy maths based literature ;) and have devoured books like Murderous Maths (these are not!!! christian books & I recommend that the parents know the content of these books before handing them over to your students) , and any other books with maths tricks in.   These type of books helped their maths acumen so much.
If you are interested to read through other posts about our maths journey, click on the label Math to the right.

Teaching extras I've used to assist the children as we've gone along:
1:  Miquon Diary & the Miquon Yahoo Group
2:  Family Math ~ Stenmark
3:  Creative Homeschooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families ~ Rivero
4:  Bill Handley's items (ie: Speed Mathematics etc..), mostly used these with Jay
5:  Khan Academy ;)
6:  Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math 
This is an excellent series for mums to increase their own skill base in "teaching" math .  I highly recommend this series of books.
7:  The Great Courses:  Math Courses, beneath. (Great as fast refresher courses for me)
DO wait until TCG is having one of their mega sales before purchasing!  The standard list prices are crazy!
  Mastering the Fundamentals of Mathematics ~ Prof. Sellars
  Algebra I, &, Algebra II (set) ~ Prof. Sellars
  Secrets of Mental Math ~ Pro. Benjamin


2 comments:

SarahElisabeth Jones said...

Thank you-this is useful especially as I plan some summer holiday fun maths.

Chelle said...

Enjoy your time with math fun and sunshine time.
(Hoping you post what you end up doing; it's always interesting to read others fun learning approach)