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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Math Homeschool curriculum for struggling Math students.

Here are some great math ideas for a student who is struggling in math in the middle grades.  This list was drawn up by a group of our teachers. 


Teacher one: ( Names have been excluded for privacy reasons.)

Jump Math is great for visually explaining math, but needs  parent support.  It should not be used on its own without teaching assistance.

Teacher 2:  As for math, if you think the child needs help with basics, like mastery of addition/multiplication facts, then I might point mum to Math U See Beta or Gamma (about gr 2-4 level) – it is plain, sequential, not too stimulating, very mastery-based and has an excellent teaching DVD to introduce lessons. Parents do need to watch the videos too, and then be on hand to ensure that the kids ‘get it’ before going on to next lessons. I think an online course is a great suggestion too.

Teacher 3:  One curriculum that I like is the Teaching Textbooks material.  The program that you load into your computer has aids that "teach" the student the content before the drill and practice. Students can go back and listen to the instructions again. It tracks the percentages for each lesson and student progress as well.

Teacher 4:  I think the key point being made is about assessing for areas of weakness, for targeted re-instruction, until the student achieves mastery. At a grade 6 level, this is very difficult for a student to do on their own. Even at a grade 10-12 level where I mostly work with students it is often the same deal.

Technology can have a role to play in this though. Systems such as Aleks and KahnAcademy are working on mastery based assessment that helps students work until they get it. This is where we are moving towards this summer as well with our StudyForge curriculum development. We have good instruction, and we want to marry it to intuitive assessment that guides the students in mastery, and provides additional instruction in areas where students need help.

This is the whole idea of swapping school from “Testing to Assess to Assessing to Learn” as was pointed out in the Premier’s Technology Report on a “Vision for 21st Century Learning”.

I think the ultimate synergy comes from this relationship:

                - great technology (High tech)
                - great curriculum (High truth)
                - great parent/teacher support (High touch)

It’s hard to have a good “onlineschool” experience if one of those 3 factors is missing.

 Teacher 5:  Just so you all know, we can use our Switched On Online curriculum license to give placement/diagnositic tests in order to find out where the gaps are from grade 3 to grade 12, and then I create a customized online course using the Switched On Schoolhouse curriculum is created in order to give that re-instruction that Richard is talking about.  It is already mastery based, like the Khan academy stuff, and can be done quite independently, though it doesn't teach nearly as well as the Khan academy or Richard's math courses that he's developing.  It is not an ideal homeschooling solution like we would all love but for some families it is a fit because of what life has thrown at them.

Teacher 6:  For kids that struggle in math, I usually recommend either "Math U See"  or "Teaching Textbooks"

Teacher 7:  Our online subscriptions such as Gizmos and a new one that I am negotiating called Adaptive Curriculum will be helpful as a supplement to which ever math program he uses. Plus next year in Grade 7 he may supplement his program with BC Math.

I agree that Math U See or Teaching Textbook are good programs for students struggling with math. My preference of the two is Teaching Textbooks.

Blessings to you, as you share some great math homeschool resources.  If you have tried something that really works well for  middle grade kids,who need hands on math, please let us know:)

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