How do you find the right program for homeschool maths?
Sometimes it's a massive undertaking to find, choose, and decide on which homeschool maths program will work for you and your kids. Especially if you have reporting requirements, you need to make sure you've got a program that will support your kid's education from preschool to high school maths. How do you know what works for your child without testing out each program one by one?
There's a great answer to that question.
By chatting to your homeschooling friends and asking what programs they recommend 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. It's also a good idea to keep a handy checklist of certain criteria that you are looking for. Is the program hands-on and multisensory? Does it engage all four learning styles to teach solid understanding of each concept? Here's a deep dive into all that.
What are the benefits of homeschool maths?
It's totally worth putting in the effort to find a homeschool maths program that works for you and your kids. Keep in mind that you want to make sure that the program adheres to sequential learning and build on foundations first, follows a mastery-based approach and supports your child's learning pace. Some kids zoom ahead while others need a little more time to learn what's being taught.
Homeschooling is very much about working with your kids. There's no need to rush through curriculum if your kids aren't understanding what is being taught. You can afford to take your time and work through those tricky areas, because it will save you many tears and frustration in the long run!
Larteasha Griffen, homeschool mum of 3, video journalist and founder of The Little Griffens, shares her experience of the Math-U-See program and why it works for her kids. There's an entire article about the pros and cons of using this homeschool maths program, and there's a pretty good reason why she chose this maths program to use.
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.
Let's look at Place Value and the importance of knowing the right place value of each number. 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 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.
What about other homeschool subjects?
Once you've sorted out what program will best suit you and your kids for maths, it's time to sort out your other homeschool subjects. What things interest your kids? What do they naturally gravitate towards?
If they like Africa, you can study African geography, history, music, art, cooking and crafts. If you document your learning correctly, you can fulfil state homeschool requirements by focusing on what your kids want to learn. There are a great range of homeschool curriculums on the market that work for many kids of different learning styles, interests and abilities, so it's best to do your research.
You can check out the Best Homeschool Curriculums on the Market here and pick which programs work for you and your kids.
Looking for extra homeschool support?
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.
Because of the high demand, we will be releasing an Online Parent Training Course to help support you in simple and effective ways of teaching your kids at home. It's worth having the support you need as you take on this new adventure!
PS If you're interested, check out what other parents and families say about their favourite homeschool maths curriculum here.