So what does this all mean at Petra School? Knowing that the curriculum isn’t working as well as it could is easy to identify. Finding a variety of solutions is simple with the vast amount of choices given by my friends with blogs and great resources. Throwing out quite a bit of money to try to solve the problem isn’t really an option.
One thing we have done the past 3 years especially at Petra School – is to walk with our students by faith. With Intention. With Direction. But by faith. Feeling the promise from the Lord that He will direct our path, that He will provide for them, that He does want them to grow. I pray that they grow in knowledge and stature before God and Man. We do have a source that helps us with scholarships for our school when a tool is needed. I really try to know for sure that the request is 100 % what will help the boys grow forward before asking. I do feel that, this spring, we will be looking towards a shift in our tools to Math U See, hopefully with the help of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, and a matching donation from my Petra School Scholarship Source (aka My Mom) so that both boys could be on the same program.
Until then – we are going to implement the Khan Academy in our home. Much the same way the schools in his book introduced it. I’ve spent the last week looking over the table of contents both for Saxon and No Nonsense Algebra. Khan also has the Common Core Map as well. Khan has a video and practice exercises for each topic.
For Nate, 9th Grade, Algebra 1 – he may watch the No Nonsense Algebra Video (his preference) or the Khan video. Then he will do the practice problems from that topic with Khan. The software has a factor of knowing when you need more practice sets, and when you are ready to move on to the next skill. If there is a problem that they do not understand, they will be able to go through the steps of Hints on the right hand side. Each problem is broken down into 4-8 steps. If they are still confused, the link to the supporting video is given below the hints. This will solve the problem of having questions that we do not know how to work out, or that has the wrong answer in the book. I gave Nate free time yesterday to browse the site, and he ended up finding, on his own, about the same area he was learning about – solving Multi Step Inequalities. He watched a couple of videos, getting intense enough to need to get his headphones on. Then, on his own, he started the practice challenges. I didn’t ask him to do this. Just to create his account and add me as coach. My heart was thrilled that in pulled him in, that he had questions to ask, and that he was finding answers.
Coaching – Parents can set themselves up an account, and then have their children set up accounts. There are suggestions for how to set up kids under 13. They add you as a coach, and then you can see their progress on your screen. You can set up goals for them as well. I’m still sorting out how to use coaching – maybe it is because we will follow the goals of our own curriculum.
In January – Nate will follow his NNA book, subject for subject, working it out.
For Jon – we are following his advice and experience with the 5th and 7th grade classes. Starting at the beginning of the Knowledge Map, working through, building that good foundation again. Many of these topics he knows, and if he can do the 10 practice lessons and move on – in theory – it shouldn’t take long to go through. He technically has two and a half years to move forward to Algebra 1. I’d like him to be pre-algebra in 7th, and Algebra 1 in 8th. He’s really close to doing this, but I feel taking a few extra months to solidify the foundation would be worth it. I tried looking at the Saxon 7/6 Table of Contents to map out goals, but it only confirmed how all over the place the topics were each day.
Jon started the knowledge map yesterday, it was the happiest he’s been to do math since the beginning of the year.
My hope, is that we can get back on track, where Math is not the entire focus of our mornings, consuming massive amounts of time. That they continue to build on their foundation. That they see the puzzles as fun & challenging, and that they feel and ARE successful at solving.
I’ll keep y’all posted.