Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Math Dilemma

Something simple just does not seem worth doing unless there is an added degree of difficulty. ~Me

We have come to the end of Singapore Primary Mathematics 3B. Although my daughter is 5th grade age, comparing the standards it seems that Singapore averages about a year in advance at this point so she is doing well, but as I looked over books 4A and 4B, I am less impressed with the idea of using it as my spine as I did in the previous levels when I mixed it with Miquon. It is not that I have to keep up with state or national standards, but I do have my own standards to keep my daughter challenged and retaining the knowledge.

I am disappointed that Singapore does not have more practice in particular areas, which has always been one of its weaknesses. For instance, in Textbook 4A on page 28 is the chapter on Multiplication and Division of Whole Numbers. It begins with multiplying a large number with a single digit number: 1135 x 4. Dividing is similar on the next page: 4540 ÷ 5. This is in preparation to begin multiplication with a 2-digit number which begins on page 36, staring with tens, which the Princess can do already, but a nice review and by page 39 she is supposed to be able to do 383 x 58. She would have two workbook exercises with a total of 28 two-digit multiplication equations that are not "10", a practice page with six such equations along with simpler ones and a two reviews with a two or three in each of them. The next chapter is fractions which is covered quite well by comparison.

This touch-lightly-and-then-go-into-depth-later approach has worked with the Princess in the past and works well over the years, but 2-digit multiplication and division are not covered again until book 5A, a year later. I am thinking this is just not acceptable with me. I do like how much attention Singapore gives to fractions, decimals, money, geometry, graphs, and word problems though.

I bought the "All Inclusive Package" of Math Mammoth through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op last year. It is an excellent program on its own and I have always said that if I had seen it before I was in the middle of Singapore along with Miquon, I would probably have preferred it. I planned to use it as a supplement, as it can be done by grade level or subject making it very customizable.

Now that I am ready to create a lesson plan for our next "level" in math, I am thinking that I will be rearranging Signapore's 4A through 5B a bit and supplementing heavily with Math Mammoth, maybe even to the point that Math Mammoth will be more of the spine at times. I already decided to use Math Mammoth in that way for the next few weeks because it is mostly review in the first lessons by grade level. I am thinking of using it along with Miquon to introduce the first and finish the latter.

Then I will just try to close my eyes to what grade level everything is "supposed" to be—quite a challenge for a sequential!—and just customize my math plan to make it work best for the Princess. If all goes well, she will still be on grade level (hopefully, even better) this time next year with at bit of algebra thrown in, because even though she still says she does not like math, she is getting it very well and surprises me with her ability to apply it.

I suppose that is the best rationalization I have as to why I just had to complicate this...other than the more obvious one (see my quote).

~ My Lord, help me to continually discover and bend to what works best for my daughter and not let my sequential tendencies take priority over my goal, which is to devise the best way for her to understand and retain knowledge. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.