Monday, January 16, 2017

Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3

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Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #math #algebra

Welcome to "Discovering Patterns" and Week 3 of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair, hosted by Homeschooling Hearts & Minds! This week's focus is on math, logic, and scientific studies.Math has never been much of a favorite subject in our homeschool. My boys did fairly well with it, although finding the right curriculum for them was key to getting them through it. Harrison did fine in high school math, but did it because it was a required credit. Spencer managed well in high school math, especially once we switched to a geometry course that worked better for him than the one we'd started with. Landon did great with algebra, and I think the curriculum he used made all the difference. It was not his favorite subject, but generally speaking, it was one he understood and did without complaint.

I think you can tell where I'm going next. Kennady does not like math. I'd guess she stopped liking it sometime during grade school. She doesn't get along well with numbers. And not surprisingly, this creates a vicious cycle - she considers math "hard" so she doesn't like it; she doesn't like it so she tries to avoid it; she avoids it so she gets behind and starts to forget things she's worked on; she's behind schedule and rusty on skills so it seems "hard"; and so it goes. But we've got to get high school math credits, even if it's just because they're required for graduation; and basic math skills really are needed for practical functioning in the real world. So what are we to do?

First, find a good curriculum fit. We've settled on Life of Fred as the approach that gets the job done most effectively and with the least resistance. I think it works well for Kennady because it's NOT primarily about the numbers. It's about the concepts and principles; it's presented in a story setting; and as silly as the Fred story background is, it also shows math concepts being used in the real world.

Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #math #algebra

Some feel that Life of Fred doesn't provide enough written work, or enough practice in working problems. I'm kind of on the fence on that issue myself. In a way, I believe that if my kid can demonstrate that they understand and remember what they learned, that should be enough. But sometimes the problems in the book really aren't enough, in my opinion, and I do want to make sure Kennady has mastered this stuff to the point that she could make a decent showing in a college entrance type test if she needs to. So, we also make use of resources like CTCMath, which provides tutorials and practice problems and quizzes to be used as supplements to high school level maths. 

CTCMath - A Schoolhouse Crew Review on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Find out more about CTCMath in our full review: CTCMath - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We've also got access to VideoText Algebra, which is the curriculum that Landon used. There's a lot to love about VideoText - it's great for a student that can work independently; and the video lessons that teach the material offer much better explanations that textbooks. Kennady and I have discussed the possibility of her using VideoText, and she may be giving it a try starting later this year. If she can get what she needs from the video lessons, it might be a great fit; but we probably won't know until we try.

 photo Algebra_productimage_zps6b262264.jpg

For more about how Landon used it, see our full review: VideoText Interactive: Algebra (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Second, stick to a predictable schedule. And as much as the ambivalence towards the subject is a challenge, THIS is the hardest part of this equation. That vicious cycle I mentioned earlier? That means that Kennady is likely not going to get out the math books and work diligently on it every day, at least not on her own. It means that I need to be reminding, checking, and even sometimes nagging, to make sure that it gets done. *sigh* Not my favorite thing to be doing; and sticking to schedule isn't my strength either. We are still working on making math study a non-negotiable part of every single school day, and with my work schedule, I'm not even going to be available to nag every day! As I said, work in progress!

I should also mention a portion of the Science course Kennady did last year: Survey of Science History & Concepts. The course is an overview of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics; and provides the foundational knowledge in the concepts of each of these branches of science. The World of Mathematics walks the student through the history of mathematics, discussing the development of number and measurement systems, and focusing on the concepts and how the numbers are used in quantifying data and understanding how the world works.

Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #math #algebra

From the High School Lesson Book: The History of Mathematics. . . as a Science on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #highschool #homeschool

So you see, sometimes math is about more than just numbers. In our homeschool right now, it is more about understanding concepts and the whys and wherefores of what we're doing with numbers, rather than just the numbers themselves. And hopefully we can put a high number in the grade column on the report card and transcript in the process!

How is math going in your homeschool? Have you found resources that are a perfect fit for your students? Leave a comment and let me know! Also, please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers as they share thoughts on "Discovering Patterns" in this week's Virtual Curriculum Fair.

This post is part of the Virtual Curriculum Fair 2017. This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Visit my fellow bloggers listed below and see how they are "Discovering Patterns" (all posts will be live by noon EST on January 16, 2017)!

Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #math #algebra

Math Resources and Programs for All Ages by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Math (doesn't) Stink! by Jennifer King @A Peace of Mind
When Math is NOT Your Thing by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Math U See and All the Supplements by Laura H @ Four Little Penguins
Discovering Patterns in Our World: STEM Studies by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Junior High Math by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Maths: a subject in progress by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Taking Mathematics out of the Textbook by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acre
Maths for a Very Maths-y Boy by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Practical Math by Annette @ A Net in Time
Math, How I Loathe Thee by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Low Stress High School Science and Math by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Are these toys or manipulatives? This is math? by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
When You Don't Have a Math Plan by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Clear Horizons by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A Few Thoughts on Teacher Math by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Math: Not Only About the Numbers - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #math #algebra

You may have noticed that my post wasn't included in the above list. That's because I got distracted and busy on the weekend, and forgot about the deadline for getting my post information submitted! Thankfully, I can add my contribution to the linky list; and it gives me the opportunity to let you know that YOU can add your related posts to the linky list below as well! Please do! We invite you to join in and tell us about the patterns discovered in your homeschool by linking up your posts about math, logic, and science:

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Brittney Mom's Heart said...

I have one kid who does his work, doesn't complain, and moves on with his day. My challenge however, is the other kid, who is "good" at math (based on my own observations) but supposedly finds it boring/hard/irrelevant. We haven't found the right fit for him.

Kylie said...

Oh the dreaded math woes, I don't think they will ever end in the world of education will they. I have that Tiner book on my list to get this year. Did you guys enjoy that one?

At Home where life happens said...

So familiar! I need to get my hands on the Life of Fred for advanced concepts and I think I will also take a closer look at VideoText Algebra and The World of Mathematics. Those might be good additions for our oldest. Thanks! - Lori

Annette V said...

that history of mathematics book sounds very interesting.

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