Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Math Battle or Teaching Textbooks

Ok, my husband has gently mentioned before that I seem heavy handed in my posts about the struggles of homeschooling, he is right. After this I will try to think of a positive posts, but here is one more:

Next year I was thinking about getting an independent math or language arts program, so I will have time to teach the boys their reading and math. Though, I have felt concerned over the scholastic level of the independent programs. I do not want something that will make my kid a lemming or pencil resistant (hates learning). So, I felt concerned, torn and had a lot of questions.

However, math time has gotten so bad with my oldest, I think I need to switch now. She has a hard time learning math skills, and so hates math. I think doing math actually gives her a tension headache. Teaching Textbooks seems like it may be a great solution for us, though it is a grade or 2 behind in grade level. My daughter is behind anyway, so it might be a good fit for her. She enjoyed the on-line sample lesson, you can find them on their website.

Here is a really good review on Teaching Textbooks by a math tutor:
Time used: one year
Your situation:
started homeschooling middle of last year, went through all the popular math currics, none work for my 10 yr old who is diagnosed with dyscalculia, this year we also decided to homeschool our 8 yr old.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I will give the good first, this computer program has worked well for my 5th grader. We used the 4th grade cdroms. My son would cry at school during a math lesson and once we started homeschooling with Saxon and other like that he started banging his head on table, just pulling out the math book sent him into a major melt down. I am confident that this program is a perfect fit for my 10 yr old. 5 days a week he completes one lesson on his own without a fight. I did have to sit beside him for about three months everyday before he was confident on his own. I highly suggest this for kids that seem to have problems with math computations or have anxiety when you pull out a math book.

Now the bad, and this is really bad. I am a math tudor for several public school stundents. This program claims to be the best homeschool math for the 21st century, yet it is a good 2 yrs behind. When I called to ask about this, the lady just blew me off and laughed, "Our program follows state standards." I let her know that I am a math AND standardized tudor for 3 states. I explained that I loved their product; however they need to add so much. If you do use this product, contact your local school district and request a copy of their math standardized test prep. Each state gives each child a s.t.p workbook that has one or two questions that are required for that year. If you only use these product your child will not be considered grade level if you had to put them back in school or wanted them tested, for most homeschool families we are not concerned with "keeping up" with public school. I think those test prep workbooks are only helpful to children if you take time to go over each concept. All my students say that their teacher spent on day on several pages, one page can have up to 5 different concepts. If you can get one of these workbooks, talk your time, use the Teaching Textbooks for "happy time" math everyday and take one concept from the state standard workbook, go over it until your child really gets it. Homeschoolers are not slaves to government produced standards. We have learned that children and ready when they are ready, enforcing concepts too soon, too fast can change a child forever. My 5th grade students are doing stem and leaf proability graphs, which is not explored in this product. Also 5th grade students are required to know mode, median, average. This product has this in their 7th grade program.
To sum it up, my 5th grade LD student is doing the 4th grade lessons, my 2nd grade student is also using the 4th grade lessons. As with any homeschool product, it's not going to fit the perfect mold with state standards. If state standards worked for our kids, we would put them back in school.

Any other helpful hints:
Know what is important to you. Do you want your child to pull out their laptop and do their math lesson on their own, then you can go back and check the grade book
do you want to keep up, keep up, until your child is banging their head on the table?

Review left February 12, 2010

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