Help!! I have to teach Math this year!!

Top 3 Math Programs

I can’t believe another year of school is around the corner!! I feel like I haven’t had a break from teaching my kids. 2020 sure has done a number on a lot of us. A lot of parents this year are looking at having to homeschool their kiddos and that can be an overwhelming feeling. You’re not alone though and I’m here to tell you that there is no one better than you as the parent to teach your kids. The hardest part of homeschooling is really finding the best fit for the curriculum for you and your kiddos. So Let’s start!

Math is one of the dreaded subjects for a lot of parents to teach. There are so many different math curricula out there, but I’m just going to name what I think are the top 3 đŸ™‚

https://www.mathusee.com

Math U See is a mastery-based program, meaning once you master the concept you don’t need to go back and revisit it. Each lesson teaches using multi-sensory tools such as videos, manipulatives, and other resources, designed to appeal to any type of learner. I have used Math U See in the past and love it. My boys loved the blocks and learning about the decimal street (units house, tens house, hundreds house, and so forth). If you have a kid that likes to craft and visually see and touch things, check out Math U See. It comes with colorful manipulatives, DVD’s, an instructional textbook for the parent, and student workbook. Some parents have their kids watch the video lesson, read the lesson in the teacher’s book, and then work on the student workbook. There is an answer key in the instructional book and tests and quizzes for your kids to take. They also have extra worksheets on their website to access. This is a great resource if your kiddo hasn’t mastered the concept and you don’t want to move onto the next lesson, then you can access more worksheets from their website. Mastery is the key to this math program.

A few reasons why I love Math U See:

1. DVDs!

I, as the parent, don’t have to teach the math lesson. Having multiple kids, I need to be able to have some subjects that don’t need my full attention. DVD’s are one of the top reasons people love Math U See. The lessons are timed just right and to the point.

2. Manipulatives!

I love that my kids can build their math and see why numbers, equations, and fractions have a specific answer. Giving kids a way to see and physically experience math adds such an important dimension to their learning.

3. Mastery! Mastery! Mastery!

A lot of people don’t like the spiral method. Math U See spends more time learning the concept before moving on, so doing this cuts down on confusion.

4. Great from elementary levels all the way to advanced calculus!

No wondering if you’re going to have to find another program once your kids are done with the elementary grades. If you start in primer when your kids are young you can go all the way to Calculus. They have great online resources to access too and when I did run into problems I could call the company and they were able to help me out. The more help for this Mom the better off I am.

https://www.christianbook.com/page/homeschool/math/saxon-math?kw=saxon%20math&mt=e&dv=c&event=PPCSRC&p=1020037&msclkid=807ef79babde10d216c9a8a6e81a0edb&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Homeschool&utm_term=saxon%20math&utm_content=saxon

Saxon Math is the next up and coming program out there. I have never used it but will use a write up about it from a good friend of mine, Heather. She has been a homeschooler for 20 years and has tried a few different math programs. Up until a few years ago, she swore by Math U See, and she still does from the beginning until the focus on Fractions. Once her kids finished that she found that they had a firm math foundation and were ready to move onto Saxon 54 and to be moved into a self-taught arrangement.

At this point, she prefers Saxon over Math U See because every day, they practice some of all they have learned over the years as they continue learning new concepts. The student then avoids losing any knowledge from previously mastered concepts and prevents having to go back and relearn. There is something to actually writing out problems rather than just putting answers into a workbook too. She believes that it helps solidify things in a student’s mind.

A couple of her kids struggled with Algebra both in Math U See and Saxon, so she decided to try out Teaching Textbooks, but it felt like the program gave too many opportunities to work on problems that students would get wrong. Because of this method, Teaching Textbooks works and she felt that kids eventually knew which answer to choose/give without truly understanding the concept. Heather even had one of her kids openly express that they didn’t feel like they were learning and actually asked to go back to Saxon. Saxon will stretch them, and if you aren’t a math person (like Heather or me), YouTube is an excellent resource for lessons your kids cannot solve on their own. It’s okay to let kids try and figure out problems for a little bit. Here is an excellent posting from another blogger on Saxon Math https://simplehomeblessings.com/simple-questions-from-saxon-math/

  1. Saxon Math is very thorough & easy to understand. Having the dialogue written out is a great help.
  2. Concepts are explained so well that kids can independently do their work.
  3. There are plenty of problems to give your kids an opportunity to master the concepts. You also have the option of skipping problems if you think your child has already demonstrated mastery.
  4. It has a spiral learning method and makes it easy for parents to teach.
https://www.teachingtextbooks.com

Teaching Textbooks is another great program that I love to use. I was in a season where I had a lot of things on my plate. I was feeling quite overwhelmed by all the correcting and just the demands of being a mom and wife. So I came across Teaching Textbooks. Maybe you’re at your wit’s end or maybe you just need some extra help. Teaching Textbooks offered that for me. The program is totally online with optional DVDs, but honestly, the online version is much cheaper and easier to keep track of your kids grades. With this math program, I’m able to step aside a lot more as everything is done for me. If I’m not satisfied with my child’s grade or I feel like they need to redo a lesson or maybe they accidentally typed the wrong answer, I can go into the account and delete or change things.

Some of my reasons for liking Teaching Textbooks:

  1. It’s completely affordable, and they also offer a substantial family discount! Who doesn’t want to pay out of their nose for math when having more than two kids?
  2. It’s self-grading! Who doesn’t like a program that automatically grades your kids’ stuff for you?
  3. It allows your kids two tries if they get the answer wrong, and there is a Hint button also to give that child the extra help they might need.
  4. It’s fun and interactive!

Remember you know your child the best from everyone and you can do anything! You’ve raised them this far so don’t worry, it’s not as scary the more you do it. With all the great curricula out there, teaching math isn’t as frightening as you may think. Join Facebook groups, watch Youtube videos, call the companies, research other bloggers on these topics. If something doesn’t work you can always switch it up or change it the following school year, nothing is ever set in stone.

I hope you all have an awesome, successful school year!

Let’s Talk Homeschooling!

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This year I will be homeschooling a 10th, 6th, and 5th grader. But for today I’m going to just focus on my 5th grader.

I have been homeschooling my youngest since the very beginning. I had the privilege to see him learn to read and add simple numbers. There is great satisfaction in teaching your own child to read. Watching him realize he could read brought great joy to me. Fast forward and I find myself teaching him 5th-grade curriculum. Wow!! Just a little more intense than 1st-grade.

Just a little background on my youngest boy (11) and me. He learns best through touching, seeing, and experiencing. I love to pick and choose my curricula. I’ve tried an all in one curriculum in the past and find that it just never works for me or my kids. So what did I choose this year?

Let’s start with math. In the past, I have used MathUSee. https://www.mathusee.com I still love this program for teaching kids math, but when I have three kids’ papers to correct, I found I was having a hard time keeping up with all the correcting and teaching. Because of this, I left MathUSee and switched over to Teaching Text Books, which is another excellent program. https://www.teachingtextbooks.com It is all online, so there is no correcting on the parent’s part. On some levels, you can do bonus rounds to increase your grade. The other significant portion of the program is that you, as the parent, can go into the child’s account and edit their math. For example, if you are not happy with the end grade, you can choose to erase all the problems they got wrong and have the child redo them. You also have the option of deleting the whole lesson and having them start over. Teaching Text Books helped aid me in my journey of homeschooling. Is it perfect? No, but then again, no program is. Another perk to Teaching Text Books was it is more affordable.

Let’s move onto history. I have used Notgrass History for my oldest child, and this year, my youngest will be using it. https://history.notgrass.com/ I love all the beautiful pictures Notgrass uses in their books. Notgrass can almost be an all-inclusive curriculum. In each lesson, you have the option of the Bible, Creative Writing, Vocabulary, Map Study, Timeline, Student workbook, and Literature. Check out the link to explore all the different books they offer. This year we are starting with America the Beautiful. I’m also only having my 5th-grader do the Map work, Timeline, Literature, and Student Workbook.

Moving onto spelling. I absolutely love All About Spelling!!! https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling/ This has been a game-changer for my kiddo. It allows him to see the word and how it is spelled by color, coordinating the letters and vowels. They build in all the spelling rules perfectly so as not to overwhelm the student or the teacher. Everything is written out for you as the teacher, so no guesswork is involved. The other great thing is it doesn’t take too long to teach a lesson. The first lesson is about 15-20 minutes max, and then it’s just practicing spelling those words, which take about 5 minutes. We usually start day 1 with the beginning of a lesson and learn all the rules and rule-breakers, and end for the day. On day 2, we do small spelling drills of 10 words each. The next day we work on writing sentences using those words and wrap up the final day with a word, which he uses in his own sentence.

What about grammar? I think for a lot of parents this is one of the most dreaded subjects to teach. Let’s face it, the English language is not the easiest to master, heck I’m still learning. So for grammar, I have found Fix It by I.E.W. has worked great, especially for boys. It’s quick and to the point. I’ve also used their writing programs for all my kids. Fix It grammar teaches kids grammar through editing. If you think about it, when you write you’re not thinking about nouns and verbs and all the different clauses that are found in sentences, you just write. When you edit your paper that is when you look for all the commas and strong verbs and what you can replace for repetitive words. So Fix It does just that. The student works on one sentence a day, makes sure the first word is capitalized and ensures it ends with correct punctuation. Each week the program adds a new grammar label. By the end of the year in the first level, your students are marking all the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and the list goes on.

My next primary subject we will be reviewing is reading. I came across this curriculum this summer and like it. I no longer have to worry about being creative in finding a book for my child. https://www.clp.org/store/by_course/7 It’s not too parent-involved but just enough. The first day the child will silently read the story themselves. The curriculum works on vocab, reading comprehension, and many other things. I don’t know about you, but for me, I have two boys that don’t enjoy reading. I’ve tried everything out there such as graphic novels, mystery, drama, poetry. You name it, I’ve tried it. I would assign a book for the boys to read, and unless I had comprehension questions available for that book or had read it already, I had no way of knowing if they read the chapter or book or if they just skimmed it. This program took away my nagging question of wondering if they really read it. Do they enjoy it? No, but after homeschooling for 10 yrs, I’ve discovered they are not going to like everything, and I must pick and choose my battles.

Last but not least is science. Apologia is the winner this year. We have used this program for many years and my oldest will not be doing chemistry!! For my 5th-grader he chose Anatomy & Physiology (the human body). Apologia science in the elementary year does more focused studies. Last year we did a study on flying creatures. Any animal that had wings we learned about it. They also have a schedule in front of the student book for you to use. https://www.apologia.com/product/apologia-superset-anatomy-physiology-with-regular-notebooking-journal/

This about wraps up my choices for our 5th-grade yr of schooling. I hope this helps aid you in your upcoming school year. Some things I’ve learned while homeschooling is to always call the company and ask questions. Check out to see if there are Facebook groups for the curriculum you will be using; this way, you can ask questions from other parents who are using the same thing. Remember you don’t have to use everything I’m using either, do what is best for you and your child. Maybe you have a newborn this school year, so keeping it simple is your goal. If you’re like me and have multiple children, I’m always looking for ways to simplify my school day without losing educational content. If you a newbie, HSLDA is a great source to have. They will let you know all the laws and requirements in your area and state https://hslda.org. They also just have a load of resources for you as the parent.