Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaching Textbooks

We have entered our third week of schooling.  Thus far, I am pleased at how our math program is working.  I have tried different math programs over the past two years.  Egee's math workbooks were okay, but lacked something.  Little Man was very vocal about his math program.

My sister bought a curriculum set last year for her daughter.  The set had Teaching Textbooks as the math program.  My niece has struggled in math and never really liked the subject.  Teaching Textbooks (TT) change that for her.  No longer did she balk at doing math.  She understood the concepts being presented and was retaining it.

Egee is two grades behind my niece.  However, Egee has always done well in math.  The workbooks that we have used always presented the lessons in a unit format.  She learned a concept and practiced it for several weeks then took a test and moved on to the next concept.  The workbooks never went back to a previous unit of work.  I felt she was being programmed to learn it and then forget it.  TT does a spiral method of teaching math.  She must remember the concepts from previous lessons to answer questions on future lessons.

My sister told me I could have the curriculum that my niece used last year for Eggie to use later.  My niece was completing seventh grade and Egee was finishing fifth.  I decided to look at using TT 7 for Egee and just skip sixth grade math.  The placement tests on the Teaching Textbook site helped in my decision making.  I decided she could transition into TT 7 without a problem.

My next challenge was Little Man.  We stopped using Time for Learning last winter.  He did not like the little kid feel to the site.  I had him use apps on the Nook for math, but knew he needed more.  He does not like math drills or cartoon animals.  He was going into the second grade and Teaching Textbooks started at third grade.  I had to make a choice.  Little Man catches on quick when he is interested in a topic.  Math is one subject he likes.  Again, I looked at the pretest for TT 3.  Little Man wanted to be in third grade like his friend.  I talked to him about TT 3.  I told him I thought he could do third grade math.  He became excited at the possibility of being like his friend.  We went to the home school curriculum store and purchased TT 3.

Little Man is excelling at math.  He likes being able to change the 'buddy icon' for each lesson.  The lecture portion is short and interactive.  It gets to the point.  He is happy it is 'big kid' math.  I like that it spirals and he has to recall previous lessons.  He doesn't always like that.  For example, we have struggled with him learning the months of the year and days of the week.  These topics are not things he had given much thought about.  He lives in the moment.  However, TT keeps asking him questions about what month comes before or after another month.  He doesn't like getting the answer wrong, so he is finally internalizing the months of the year. Yay!  Same for the days of the week.

I hope they continue enjoying their math program!