We have been struggling with homeschooling math ever since the girls came home from public school. Kayla was way behind and we needed to rebuild her foundation and Emily wasn't being challenged enough at home. To top it off, math has not been my strongest subject of knowledge- let alone to teach it!
I often say that the homeschooling curriculum I use is sort of my compass and guides me as I educate the kids at home. Well, we have been lost for some time. It seems like we have been stuck on learning/understanding/memorizing the multiplication facts for a while.
As I researched new curriculum options, I found Math-U-See written by Steve Demme, a homeschool dad, for the homeschool community.
Math-U-See provides a firm foundation in mathematics for students struggling in mathematics and with special needs. Teachers are provided the tools, skills, and training needed to present an explicit, structured, systematic, and cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques.
The curriculum focuses on the individual student, meeting their unique needs. The mastery approach utilized by Math-U-See is designed to give the parent clear understanding of when a student is ready to move to the next lesson. Math-U-See is broken down to teach students specific skills that build as the student progresses. This systematic and cumulative approach uses a definite, logical sequence of concept instruction. The Math-U-See system is structured with step-by-step procedures for introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts. The student does not move on to the next skill until they have mastered it.
It's been amazing to see both girls succeed in this program. Emily has taken off-moving through the curriculum at her own fast pace, and loves the new challenges. She even kissed me on the cheek the other day and told me "Thank you mom for my new math- I love it!" Kayla is moving along too at her own pace-not feeling like she is in competition with her sister. She has mastered several skills which has boosted her self confidence and has give her a whole new perspective on math.
There is a recommended 4-step approach to use as you teach each lesson that has been very successful for us.
1. I prepare for the lesson by reading all the content in my manual, I watch the video where Steve Demme teaches/explains the new topic and I make sure I understand the content.
2. I present the the new topic to the girls (individually) by letting them watch the video. After the video session, we recap the skill. We Say it, Write it, and Build it trying to use all our senses in acquiring this new knowledge.
3.Then we get out our workbook and practice. There are six pages to practice the new topic. The first three pages are on the newest skill, and the last three pages are a review of all thats been learned up to now.
4. Then I test the girls on their knowledge in the test booklet. If they pass, I allow them to teach it to either me, their stuffed animals, or to their dad. Allowing them to teach and explain what the've learned is not only fun for them, but really shows that they have mastered that skill. Each lesson can take only a few days or even up to a week-depending on their own understanding.
I highly recommend this math curriculum. I would be happy to answer any questions about Math-U-See. To read more about it, go to their website at http://www.mathusee.com