Homeschool Math Curriculum: A Recipe For Success?

Homeschooling with a homeschool math curriculum can solve the major problem afflicting mainstream schools: failing children in math. Rather than children failing math, it is the schools that are failing our children. Returning to basics in education is a likely formula for success.

Schools often tout “New Math” in many guises and forms, but often, it isn’t sustainable. Fads come and go as math scores drop precipitously, along with U.S. rankings among countries that excel in math and science. (Search and find the dismal worldwide stats online.) The good news is that math curriculum in a homeschool setting, that’s tailored to your child(ren)’s needs and abilities can insure success with a sensible, solid, back to basics math approach.

The domino effect seems to prevail when these basic math skills are not learned (and indeed, sometimes not taught) in the lower grades. A poor grasp of the four processes can hamper any student’s progress. Lack of times tables’ fluency is a major drawback that negatively affects math performance as early as second or third grade, severely constrains success with the fourth grade math curriculum (fractions and decimals), and virtually obliterates higher math skills.

Concrete approaches like Waldorf Education and the Montessori method enjoy a measure of success. As some experts in education (like Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and Jean Piaget, among others) have noted, a child’s thinking is very different from an adult’s. There’s a need, from age seven through eleven, for the child to be taught concretely rather than abstractly. A basic and concrete math curriculum then, is indeed the likely recipe for success!

Children should also be taught holistically, with all the pieces of information fitting together, so their world makes sense. When the beautiful underpinnings of math and science are taught early and in an understandable way (for example, images of math in nature like the spiral found in a sunflower, the hexagon in a honeycomb or snowflake, or the star pattern in an apple), your math curriculum will lose its foreignness and thus its fearsomeness.

Bringing math and all the other subjects home by joining the growing homeschool community may be the best solution for your family and child(ren), since homeschooling is such a wonderful venue for bridging the gaps and focusing on an optimal, quality education for all of our children. Waldorf, Montessori, and other innovative methods fit beautifully into the homeschooling mix.

One such innovative method is Math By Hand. Like the Waldorf system, it’s hands-on, experiential, concrete, child-friendly, and arts-integrated. The 4 processes are introduced together and early in the first grade curriculum, cloaked in stories and taught with concrete manipulative’s. The second and third grade curriculum’s then focus on place value and times tables’ mastery, as they pave the way for fourth grade fractions and decimals.

The Math By Hand recommends a block-scheduling format because it enables a “steeping” in each subject for deeper and more effective learning. A binder is included, with the full year’s lesson plans, instructions for projects and activities (all materials are supplied), along with detailed tie-ins with state and national math standards. Visit our website and see how color, manipulatives, interactive learning, and integrating art, language arts, movement, and crafts will make a big, positive difference in your child(ren)’s math curriculum.

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