If you have been following my homeschooling “adventures”, you know we’ve had a problem finding the right fit for math. We’ve tried Math U see, Math Mammoth, MCP math, and McGraw Hill’s Math. None were on his level. They all start well, but soon the concepts became too difficult. For instance, Math U See introduces the numbers 0-9, but just as my Peanut was grasping them, they jump to 20-99. Then next lesson has them doing hundreds! Ummm, NOT HAPPENING!!! Maybe when he’s older we may pull it out again, but not now. Math Mammoth is a very solid math program, but unfortunately in my enthusiasm, we jumped in without me reading the fine print. For grade 1 it states :
You can start 1st grade once the child can write and recognize numbers, count to 20 (preferably to 30 or beyond), has mastered basic concepts of equivalence, more, and less; and has a basic idea of addition.
Sometimes kindergarten-age children start with MM 1-A and there’s one topic there that can become a frustration point if the child is not ready for it. It’s the topic of “missing items” or missing numbers in addition problems, such as 2 + ___ = 5, or even simpler: 2 + ___ = 3. The idea is to ask the child, “2 and how many more makes 3?” Objects can also be used.
This particular lesson, “Missing Items,” is fairly early in 1-A. If this lesson presents problems for your child, then he/she is not ready for 1st grade math. In that case, you could get one of the recommended kindergarten workbooks for the child and wait a month or a few months before trying again.
So of course it didn’t work for us! Peanut could recognize numbers, but couldn’t count to 20. He still can’t. And because of that, he became pretty frustrated.
We ended up using Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 2. It was gentle, spiral, and very colorful without being overwhelming. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it never explained why he was doing something. Still, he enjoyed it, so that’s a win in my book!
So this year, I did tons of research, and even this quiz to see what math program would be the best fit. My quiz results came back as:
Score for Beast Academy: 10
Score for Math Mammoth: 3
Score for Mathematical Reasoning: 8
Score for McRuffy: 13
Score for Miquon: 8
Score for RightStart: 13
Score for Saxon: 6
Score for Shiller: 10
Score for Singapore: 3
Score for Abeka: -10
Score for Bob Jones: 8
Score for Christian Light Education: -2
Score for Horizons: 13
Score for Life of Fred: 3
Score for Lifepac: -3
Score for Math U See: 0
Score for Rod and Staff: -5
Score for Switched on Schoolhouse: -3
I was not surprised by the score for Math Mammoth or Math U See. Maybe in the future, when Peanut is a bit more ready, he can handle them, but not now! Mathematical Reasoning scored a decent “8”, but then I saw McRuffy and Right Start (and Horizons but it’s too “christian” based for us at this point) all scored a whopping “13”!
After just focusing on Right Start and McRuffy, I decided that they both would be a great fit. The deciding factor came down to cost. Right Start Level A first edition came in at $157.50. Right Start Level A second edition – which is what I wanted to use, after all, the 1st edition is now over 20 years old and needed an update! – cost $88.50, but there’s a catch! Unlike the first edition, you have to buy the manipulatives for ALL levels in one shot for a whopping $205.50! This makes Right Start 2nd edition a bit too pricey for my tastes!
So now I focused on McRuffy Color Math for Kindergarten. Oh, I loved what I saw! It’s full of games, fun, and each lesson is loosely scripted. Nothing is overwhelming for either the teacher or the student. It is extremely hands on, and should only take 10 to 15 minutes a day to do, maybe more if we’re having fun with the games!
The components in the Kindergarten curriculum are the Teacher’s Manual, Student Workbook, Resource Pack, all for $75.95, and a separate Manipulative Kit for $15.95, but I chose the math manipulative super kit since it was only $35.00.
We start our brand new homeschool year today, so I’ll probably be writing about how everything went. I’m so excited, I feel like a little kid on Christmas eve! I hope Peanut has a great year this year. Till next time… Take care and don’t forget to laugh today!