Thursday, March 6, 2008

Math in our Homeschool

We've developed a great math system in our homeschool. We use Professor B for concepts and some drill and Big Math Time for additional drill.

What drew me to Prof B was the lack of manipulatives and fancy colors. It's a simple, computer based program that scripts the story for the teacher. Every concept is taught by means of a story which makes it so much easier for the child to grasp and process as children have already been taught how to listen to stories. He also does a masterful job of building connections between concepts, thus further enhancing the learning. This means that all concepts are connected and flow into one another, no fragmentation like I saw in the other math programs I looked at.

On his website, Prof B says:
"- Kindergarten and first graders mastering the lower/higher addition/subtraction facts and reading numbers in the hundreds of trillions (fifteen-digit numbers).
- Second graders mastering all multiplication facts and long division.
- Fifth graders mastering “seventh grade math.”
- Fifth and sixth grade classes in the most disadvantaged communities outperforming ninth graders on statewide algebra exams."

I am seeing the truth of the first grade claim and will soon be working on second grade with my kids. I get such a kick out of them adding and subtracting 15 digit numbers with nary a blink. I couldn't believe how easy it was to teach place value. I think it took around 10 min. For years I've read plaintive emails from homeschoolers who have battled to teach place value to their children. I've heard stories about houses, visitors and hotels - and even stranger things, all manipulatives that attempt to teach place value. Prof B uses none of that. His lessons build slowly and deliberately so that when you approach the concept of place value, most of the concepts needed to understand place value are already in place.

The program works exceptionally well with my very verbal daughter. The stories mean something to her. My math whizz son is always a step ahead of what I am explaining. Prof B's methods have given him the tools to work things out for himself.

I must be sounding like an advertisement for Prof B, but I can't help myself. I truly love this math program.

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