Monday, March 21, 2016

Junior High Juntion: Math for Next Year

Welcome to the Junior High Junction! I took off a week last week, but if you wrote a post, I hope you'll link it up today!

I know it's only March, but already I am obsessing over next year's curriculum choices! I've been pondering what has worked for us, what hasn't worked for us, and what we would like to change. The biggest obstacle I'm facing right now is math for Eli, who will be in 6th grade next year.

We have jumped around in math this year quite a bit. I don't like to change curriculum mid-year, but I have done that way too much this year. Eli started the year in Singapore math. He completed the first workbook, but we didn't move into the second. It was too abstract for me, with little to no instruction. I bought him a Spectrum math workbook, which he actually liked. But, it didn't have enough review. It had around 5 lessons per topic, and then it moved on. Next, he started working on Khan Academy for math, but he didn't like it. Now, I have bought him the Life of Fred: Fractions book. He enjoys the stories, but it's too easy for him. I also don't think there is enough "meat" in it for him. He is reviewing an online math program, but I don't see us continuing it.

Here are the three math programs I'm looking at for next year. We are thinking about doing a light summer schedule - an hour a day of schoolwork, looping through subjects, just to keep our minds fresh. So, I may start him on one of these pretty soon.

  • Rod and Staff math. It's such a simple, very traditional math program that we have used in the past. There are pros and cons, but the cons are very easy to adjust. For example, there are a ton of math problems per lesson. Easy to fix - break the lesson into two lessons, or just do half of the problems and call it a day. I thought we may just do half the problems, and if he gets 90% correct, let him move on. If he doesn't get that many correct, he can complete the rest of the lesson the next day.
  • Key to ... Series. Mikaela used the Key to Fractions series at the beginning of the year, and it was very beneficial to her. I'm considering the Key to Decimals and Key to Percents for Eli.
  • Math-U-See. Silas is doing very well with the first level, but I'm not sure how someone would do moving into it at a higher level. I also don't know if Eli would enjoy using the blocks.
So, do any of you have any suggestions for 6th grade math? Eli is very good at math, and he has an abstract mind. He usually catches on to a new concept extremely fast. He doesn't need a teacher-intensive program, but I would like some teacher guidelines, as I am not a mathy person.

1 comment:

  1. I too am struggling to come up with a good math program for next year. My oldest son had worked through most of the Key to book series and the 8 books for geometry and 8 books for algebra seem both pricey and a bit too involved for us. I think I'm going to try spectrum geometry and see how that goes. My middle son is technically going into 5th grade but he's worked through over half of his workbook his year and it was a 5-6th grade. He's finding it difficult now and I'm debating 5th or 6th grade for him. He wants no part of the Key to series and yet I can't find much else that I like or think he would like. For the summer we'll continue with the Thinking Tree math books for them both and just keep looking for the right book for the fall I guess.