Explanation of our Math Program(s)
Math has clearly been a rough spot for many of our students over the last several years and I do believe this is at least in part due to the curriculum, GoMath, that the larger school organization (the church Education department at the 'North American Division' level!) has asked us to use. I have a great deal of material from my home school days that I plan to use as supplement and enrichment, one of which is called "Teaching Textbooks" - these are disks that the students use on the computer, leveled by grade and with a series of lessons that teach the standards. The students listen to a short, illustrated lecture, and then do 20-30 problems related to what the lecture was on, and a bit of review of recent lessons, too. The students get immediate feedback and have an opportunity to correct their work on the spot, increasing learning and retention. The students will also be able to progress through this material at their own rate, so if they are feeling frustrated that they are at a 'lower level' than what they expected, they are welcome to progress as quickly as they are able, and get to the level they wish to be at. My son, who home schooled on this curriculum, was told that he could skip Algebra II at Gem state (had to take, and pass the final did that with no problem), and is taking Calculus, as a Sophomore (usually this is a Senior class!). It is a quality curriculum.
We will also do GoMath lessons together at the table, during our rotation time. This will hopefully eliminate some of the frustration, and please know that I will be culling the 'multiple approaches' that common core typically presents, and simplifying it down to one or two methods, to reduce confusion and frustration, also!
And, as a 'third leg', our morning work will often be math pages ('morning work' is the papers that are on the student's desks when they come in, in the morning, the students are to work on them in the few minutes, while we await everyone's arrival before we get our day started) these will be something called 'Minute Math' (I know some teachers that rely on Minute Math almost exclusively and their students do reasonably well, with just that!) Typically these pages 'spiral' through the curriculum on each grade level, reviewing previously learned things, and filling in holes in knowledge, where something might have been missed.
There are several other group-level enrichment-type activities, which we will be doing, to help shore up those ever-challenging math skills. Including a daily one-minute drill on basic math facts (mostly the multiplication skills). We will also be developing a 'Math Journal' where students can keep core concepts organized all in one place, and add to it and refer back to it from year-to-year.
The multiplication table (12x12 version) is an excellent source for you, as parents who might be looking for a way to shore up your students learning, by helping them spend time on learning, at home, too. While I'm not a big fan of homework, I would support the idea of you having your child spend time reviewing their times tables (and also spending time reading) every evening. Technology is an excellent way to accomplish this -there are many awesome apps that you can use on your phone or tablet, for your student to drill their math facts in a way that feels more like a game.
Playing table games together as a family often strengthens math skills, too. Here is a link to list of common table games that strengthen early math skills. You can also follow links from that page, to other, similar lists for older children.
We're gonna make this work, and my primary goal for this subject is to have them all loving math, before they leave DVCS!!