Math has come easy to the boys so far. We started with Miquon Books and Cuisenaire Rods. From what I can tell – it would be similar to Math U See – but from our view, a simpler version.  Although we don’t put a lot of stock into the testing that occurs in Oregon on the 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th year, the boys did exceedingly well in testing in math just using Miquon.

The problem came in the 3rd to 4th grade when we ran out of books.  Nate did 2 years of Saxon, but we didn’t feel like he was soaking it in, and it became a routine chore.  Jon has spent this year playing with all of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew Math choices. We are pretty sure that when we hit Algebra and High School level homeschool math, that we will use Teaching Textbooks unless we hear of some other equally enjoyed math program as there are so many choices out there.

This year, we learned that the spiral method of doing 30 different problems of 20 different areas a day was what Nate didn’t enjoy. We switched to a Mastery (one type of problem for several days) and he is back to joyful daily practice.

One thing that made him more joyful this month – is that Timberdoodle offered him a Critical Thinking Co book called Mathematical Reasoning through Verbal Analysis. Now, I have to admit, the opportunity didn’t seem delightful, as we have reviewed so many this year – but I AM SOOOOO GLAD that we choose to review it! They also sent us the Teacher’s Manual to explain how the book works.  The Teacher’s Manual was critical to our Miquon adventure as well, understanding how the system will challenge and train the child.

And so I have a confession.  I think. I’m pretty sure. That I’ve learned more than Nate has this month in Math.  (Looking sheepish). First of all – the Teacher’s Manual has has blank worksheets in the back to help with Number Lines, Geo Boards, Abacus, Fractions, and Graphs.

Have you figured out how to use an Abacus?  Why oh why didn’t anyone show me this before?  Ok. Almost Unschoolers showed me an awesome one in January – but I’m too lazy to make one. . . . All the struggles of borrowing, or carrying over in Addition and Subtraction – The struggle would have been gone. . . Bye Bye. It makes so much sense on an Abacus.  Seems like people should still use these things!

Next stop was the Number Line.  Seriously – How many of you have stared at a string of numbers  like 11, 14, 17, 20, ___ ___ ___ (Nate, reading over my shoulder says you should write something hard than that, it is only threes) when the text asks – what comes next and you silently went – um. I dunno. And. I’m not sure I care.  They gave simple instructions on how to figure that out.  Seriously!!! I feel like I want to take some Math tests right now . . . so empowering.

Of course, Nate, who seems to get everything – says. Duh. Mom.  . . . . Sigh. He has been having struggles and frustrations with Decimals – and the Abacus completely showed him how to figure it out place value wise. The number line never seemed to help. I had a hard time NOT pointing out to him that he was too dense for decimals a week ago – but ahem. a good homeschool mom wouldn’t gloat. Now would she?   . . . . .Hello? (oh wait, I’m reading this out loud to him. Maybe shouldn’t have read that part.)

So –  Mathematical Reasoning Through Verbal Analysis meets the State Math Standards and is for grades 4-8.  I will keep Nathan on this as a solid Mastery approach to see how many other things we can figure out – and when Jon is done with his current work with Mastering Math Essentials, I’ll get him on board too.

Did you catch the “Through Verbal Analysis” part?  Ya . . . . think Timberdoodle has been reading my blog enough to figure out we are a talking family?  Good Call Timberdoodle. We love the discussion of How did you do that, Why is that the answer? What were you thinking as you figured it out? What would happen if you. . .Nate loves it! I wouldn’t get this book if you are needing a child led, child left alone, curriculum while you teach your 1-3’rd graders – but for our house – having Jon hear our discussions has been great – he joins in – and having Nate be able to talk it  out – talk through – the problem solving is awesome. The “math” isn’t that hard – the thinking part is challenging.

Oh – and for you moms of K- 3 or any age – if you are new to homeschooling – or just tired of winging it – did you know Timberdoodle has full packaged curriculum now? It is an easy way to start out, the products are fun and educational – and the help from their company is amazing!

And – I didn’t know until recently, but Timberdoodle has been creating Video Posts – their team cracks me up. They even taste their products. YUCK! but Hilarious!

What have you been challenged with in Math?  I’d love to give helps with Miquon as we have done all of the books twice now, and I’d love to hear if you are using Mathematical Reasoning by The Critical Thinking Co.!

We received Mathematical Reasoning Book 2 valued at \$24.99 and the Teacher’s Guide valued at \$13.99 for free in exchange for Nathan using the book for a couple of months, and writing an honest review. We were given freedom to like it or lump it. We Like It! We willingly purchased the Miquon Products and a half of a million Cuisenaire Rods from Timberdoodle and Garage Sales and Used Book Sales  out of our own pocket and would gladly do the work books again with another child.

Oh – and I said it was a little story – not a short story. . . . .

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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7 Responses to A Little Story about Math

1. Phyllis says:

I have never used Saxon despite how loved it seems to be. I pick up a book to look at and it looks horriable to me. We love Videotext Algebra for higher math.

• pebblekeeper says:

I’ll have to look for VideoText!

• pebblekeeper says:

Oh – and we did Saxon 6/5 an 7/6. It seemed to be a review of what he had done in Miquon. 6/5 was not challenging at all. It was just daily practice of what he knew. The vocabulary was given, that is left out of Miquon, so most of the year was putting new vocabulary to problems that he knw. 7/6 was more review – but every time he came to a problem that he couldn’t understand or I didn’t remember – we had to go to outside sources to learn what Saxon wanted us to do, figure it out, then go back to the book. They didn’t explain HOW or WHY. Nate is a big WHY kid, and so am I. 🙂

2. math came very easily for my older tow. They just self taught with Miquon/rods. Then we did a lot of ‘hodge-podge’ math.(this, that, and the other) A couple years ago we started using http://www.aleks.com. It works well for them, being independent in math. they review when they feel they need it, go onto a variety of different areas when they are ready and can track their progress and I have them print worksheets sometimes.

it does NOT work for my youngest, who does not speak the math language like his brothers.

• pebblekeeper says:

We loved our review time with Aleks, however, my son, at this time, prefers the one on one. He did like knowing right away that his answers were correct or incorrect and the liked the instant help button on each question!