Deciding on Math

I am having a heck of a time deciding what I want to do for math for “2nd grade”.  I know what curriculum I am using (Build Your Library) but sadly it doesn’t include math so I am left to fend for myself with that.

Currently we are using Life of Fred, which is a huge hit with Big Kid, and I like it as well, I just don’t feel like it offers enough practice on it’s own.

I had been pairing it with Sinagpore Standards and while it is good it just doesn’t “speak” to me (or to BK for that matter).  It isn’t bad or difficult or anything, it is hard to put my finger on why I don’t care for it, I just don’t.  Maybe I am too critical.

I have been looking at three main options for math (to go with Fred).  I will talk about all three of them and I would LOVE any input you have on them.

1. Math-U-See.  I like the looks of this one overall and I am sure the manipulative would be interesting to BK but I have heard that it really drills topics home which I worry would bore BK.  He usually catches on to things pretty quickly.  I also think the video clips are epically boring.  Since the videos are one of the big points of the teaching this seems important.  I can’t be sure BK would find them boring, but I know I do.  There is also cost which comes to $110 + shipping.  That isn’t cheap.  Based on the placement test BK would be using the Beta level program.

2. Mammoth Math.  This one is slightly more affordable but there is also the cost of printing things out and we all know ink and paper can be pricey. I haven’t heard of many people using it which makes me wonder why it isn’t “out there” more.  Big Kid would also be at the 3rd grade level despite the fact that he is in 1st grade still (at 6).  I have heard there is quite a lot of repetition with this program, which is fine, assuming it isn’t boring. I am told there are fun “math games” as well.

3. Teaching Textbooks. I really like the looks of this program.  The videos look interesting and the practice seems like it would be good without being too overwhelming.    The downsides to this option are the cost ($120+ shipping!) and that BK would already be on 3rd grade, if not 4th grade math even though he is only 6 years old (he took the 3rd grade placement test this morning).  He isn’t super advanced so that makes me worry about the content being up to par, and when you pay $120+ I want it to be good!

Does anyone have any thoughts or input on this?  Should I just keep sticking with Singapore and call it good? Is there something else I should look at?  Help me out here…please?

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5 Responses to Deciding on Math

  1. Emily says:

    I’m actually planning to do a post on this topic very soon, but I’ll weigh in here with what I have done with my kids. We used Math Mammoth for years, it’s a solid program, but if you aren’t a math person, there isn’t really a lot of guidance to help you teach it to your children. It was great for my twins who are very mathy, but my daughter really struggles with math and it left her in tears every day. I switched her over to Teaching Textbooks and it was perfect for her. Of course, then my boys were jealous that she got to use the computer for math, so I switched them over as well. I love it, because it’s very independent. I rarely need to assist them, because if you make a mistake, TT corrects you and shows you how to fix it. Since your son is already advanced in math though, he may find TT easy. I know my boys breeze through. If I were you, I’d give Math Mammoth a go. It’s inexpensive (save the cost of printing), and in my experience, slightly advanced. You could pair it with Khan Academy, which is free and has tons of videos and practice problems.

    • I will be on the look out for your post on this! He doesn’t really “seem” advanced in math to me but compared to what they are doing in public school (just barely introducing single digit subtraction) he is practically in high school.

      He does like Khan and we use it here and there. I will have to try to incorporate it more in the day to day.

  2. JenRay says:

    I don’t use any of these programs, but I do LOVE the math program we use. I wanted something that taught very strong conceptual and mental math skills. I chose RightStart, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I was lucky and found Level B used on Craigslist – it is pretty expensive. I will be purchasing C for next year. I think it has been very strong in place value, early geometry, time, money, etc. The only operation we have done so far is addition, but she can do double-digit addition in her head (at 5, almost 6), and her mathematical understanding is strong enough that I have heard her subtract, multiply, and divide in real world application. I would not describe my daughter as particularly mathy to begin with, so I am very pleased with her progress. RightStart uses lots of manipulatives and games. I think there are YouTube videos that teach some of the games, although I haven’t watched those. It is pretty light on worksheets, I am not sure she even does one/week. It is, however, pretty teacher intensive. I don’t mind that, as I am math skills get better as I teach her strategies too, but some see it as a con – particularly if they have several children at different levels. It truly is my favorite curriculum!

    I also looked at Math Mammoth. If RightStart ever becomes an imperfect fit for us, I will probably try that. My understanding is that it is also very strong in conceptual understanding, but it is bound to be drier given the format. I know you can get it at a discount from Homeschool Buyer’s Coop sometimes, and you can get printed books (for somewhat more money than the ebooks) if printing costs are a concern.

    Good Luck!

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