How do you find the right Maths program when starting homeschool?
There's no science behind it - mostly, it's a combination of trial and error, tears and maths books being thrown in the trash because the kids hate it.
But, there's an easier way.
By chatting to your homeschooling friends and asking what programs they reccomend and what's worked for them is a great way of avoiding the trouble of trying to work it out all by yourself. Of course, make sure it really works for you and your kids.
Larteasha Griffen (homeschool mum of 3, Video Journalist and Founder of The Little Griffens blog) shares her experience of the Math-U-See program and why it works for her kids.
You can also read about more happy parents and families who have successfully used the Math-U-See program for their homeschool maths curriculum here.
Firstly, it's important to determine where your student's maths understanding is at. There's no point jumping in and pushing ahead when your student doesn't even know what you're talking about.
Take for example, place value. Does your student know their place value? Can they successfully add and subtract multi-digits? Are they still finger counting in Grade 6? Do they know their times tables and multiplication facts?
If you ask them a "real life" maths question, can they answer it correctly without using their workbook to write it out? Are they using their calculator or phone to work out maths problems?
These are some of the key identifying factors when assessing your student's understanding. The sad truth is, the maths results of Australian students in schools across the country is devastating, compared to other countries.
This is partly due to the way our English language is structured, but also is a direct result of maths being taught predominantly on paper with numbers and squiggles, and not being taught concretely.
When learning maths, we need to teach it the same way we teach English - as a complete, structured language. We need to say "cat", show our student what a "cat" is, and be able to touch and feel a "cat." Then, we will always remember what a cat is because we have the whole hands-on experience. Using these Concrete-Representational-Abstract methodologies to teach, students not only learn the information faster, but also retain the information being taught much better.
And that's not only maths. That's any subject. We need to have the concrete, hands-on experience. It works. There's no point skipping these key topics early on in your kid's schooling because later on, it will be much harder (and much more annoying!) to rectify these trouble areas later.
First of all, you'll need to assess your student's understanding of maths to see what they know and what they don't know. You can do this by taking the free Online Placement Test. Remember to watch your student as they take the test (don't help them, just observe) and see if they are using their fingers to count or having trouble with the harder maths equations. When they start to struggle, stop there. The point where they started struggling is exactly where they need to start - it means they need some help there!
The results for the Online Placement Tests are automatically generated so you'll know exactly where to start and what you can do to help them understand maths better.
You can take the free diagnostic test here:
Let us know if you have any questions. The worst thing is when you don't know where to start and what to do. Don't worry, we've all been there before. Homeschooling and teaching your kids at home is such a journey - and such a pleasure! - but if you need help, remember to reach out for some support.
We're always here to help,
The Team at Maths Australia