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Monday, March 7, 2016

Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016: Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science

math and science curriculum

We have tried a variety of Math and Science programs throughout our 5 years of homeschooling.  I’ll share a bit about what we have used, why we changed and what we are using now! 

Math In the beginning

We started with Saxon Math K when we first started this homeschooling journey.  I really wanted something hands on, with lots of manipulatives, and Saxon hit the mark.  However, we found that it was TOO repetitive, and TOO easy for my son at the time.  We skipped ahead A LOT and we moved onto Saxon Math 1.  After the first few chapters we were feeling the same way as we did with the K version and began to look elsewhere.  I feel like Saxon is a solid program, but I have learned since then that Saxon uses a spiral approach to math.  It circles back and around and reviews past concepts frequently.  This is great for someone who is struggling in math or needs the constant review, but this was NOT my son.  So it just didn’t work.  We decided to look for a program that uses a mastery approach.  We discovered Math U See, and LOVED it!  It was perfect match for my son, We started with Alpha, used Beta and Gamma.  Math U See got a bit complicated for us in Gamma, their method of multiplication was not working for my son, so we still used their workbooks, and I taught him alternatives ways to do multiplication. 
After completely Gamma, we had the opportunity to review CTC Math Online. More on that in a bit.

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I also need to add that memorizing multiplication facts was quite a trial!  We used Times Tales and it was a LIFE SAVER!  I highly recommend it!  (There is also a downloadable version available or find it on Amazon)

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MATH NOW

4th grade

CTC Math has been a great program for my oldest, it required little to no help from me, and he could do it independently (something I was really needing as my other children were getting older and entering ‘school’).  We are still using CTC Math a year later. 

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We have recently, however, revisited Math U See as part of an upcoming review of their digital packs, and have been using Delta.  I still like Math U See and think it’s a great program (review coming soon).  I highly recommend! 

The only thing about CTC Math is that although they have drill exercises, they don’t really revisit past learned concepts at all (until the next grade, when they are expounded on).  For this reason I supplement with some math workbooks for my son to practice past concepts (or else he forgets!).

1st grade

Last year we tried Touch Math (for PreK and K) and Math U See with my 2nd child, as well as just other hands on activities that I found or created to supplement learning.   I felt that Touch Math was too easy for him, and Math U See was not clicking with him.  He had been using an online program MathSeeds.com, and that was working, but I wanted more hands on. 

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He really likes books and learns well from listening to books, so we decided to try Life of Fred and are really enjoying that.

ABC Mouse, mentioned in my Language Arts post and he just recently decided he was interested in doing, also dabbles in math. 

More recently I have also had him doing CTC Math, to see how it would work for him and it’s going well.

He gets a VERY eclectic exposure to Math, but it is going well for now. 

OTHER MATH PROGRAMS WE’VE USED

We have reviewed A LOT of Math programs, it’s impossible to use them all, and though something might not have been the perfect fit for us, these are still high quality programs.  You can find them under REVIEWS

LOGIC

We have used a few different programs for logic as reviews, many of which we dabble in occasionally after the review period.

The Critical Thinking Co., Math Analogies Level I

The Basics of Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Co.

SCIENCE

For Everyone

We have used a few different Science products.  We started off first grade with Life Science R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey from Pandia Press.  LOVED this curriculum!  For 2nd grade, well… life happened, we basically did our own thing, a lot of astronomy and some earth science, I had a baby, we moved across country… so that’s how it goes sometimes.  For 3rd grade we decided to really study Astronomy and Earth Science more, and we got a curriculum from Elemental Science.  I was not that happy with it and I supplemented A LOT.  This year (4th and 1st) we are doing Chemistry and Physics.  We are mostly using a program we reviewed last year, Visual Learning Systems:  Digital Online Science and are supplementing a bit with documentaries and  scientists studies.  Right now we are doing The Periodic Table of Elements, and VLS does not have a lot on that for Elementary, so we are doing our own thing for now and will pick up with VLS again once we start Physics.  I also got these great physic kits from K’NEX that I know my oldest is going to LOVE!

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My oldest also receives the Tinker Crate, which is filled with science things each month! 

OTHER SCIENCE PROGRAMS WE’VE USED

We have reviewed A LOT of science programs, it’s impossible to use them all, and though something might not have been the perfect fit for us, these are still high quality programs.  You can find them under REVIEWS

LOOKING AHEAD

My plan for now is to continue with CTC Math and Life of Fred, using them for both kids.  The CTC Math as our core, and Life of Fred as a review supplement. 

I’ll have a Kindergartener next year and I’m not sure for him….I may just use ABC Mouse and then do hands on supplemental math with him.  (If you read my last curriculum post, I stated that we take a VERY lax approach to Kindergarten).

For Science next year, we will be doing Life Science again.  We will use Pandia Press again, but I think we will work it in with VLS as well.  I have plans to sign the kids up for classes at our local zoo and aquarium (they are going to LOVE it!).  I am trying to decide if I should buy the Pandia Press Biology Level 1 for my my 5th grader, or just kick up the Life Science a notch for him (have him do extra reading and reports, etc..).  My kindergartener LOVES animals, so this is going to be a great first year of ‘school’ for him.  Animal Trackers Club is suppose to launch an ocean series this summer, so we will definitely subscribe to that!  (We recently finished their African Safari series). I’m looking forward to next year, Science (and History) is always so fun to plan and teach each year!


Linking up at the Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016

This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses and Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset.

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses - Thoughts on Math and Science
Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset  - From Counting to Calculus
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World  - How We Approach Math in This Homeschool Year
Annette @ A Net In Time - Struggling with Math, Loving Science
Annette @ A Net In Time  - Lego Pulleys and Levers
Yvie @ Gypsy Road Hands - On Math with Special Needs Learners
Chelli @ The Planted Trees  - Chemistry Using Living Books
Lisa @ GoldenGrasses  - An Appalling Lack of Curiosity
Edie @ Carter Chaos  - Our Favorite Ways to Study Numbers
Tracey @ A Learning Journey  - Robot Area and Perimeter Art Project
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life  - Math and Standardized Tests
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy  - Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
Sarah @ DeliveringGrace  - Learning Multiplication Tables
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom  - Multisensory Multiplication
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break  - Science and Stuff
Kemi Quinn @ Homemaking Organized  - Math in Our Homeschool for a Later Elementary Organized Reader
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory  - Math and Logic - Our Steady Path
Laura @ Four Little Penguins  - Math and Science Love

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