We are coming to the time of year when you raise your eyes past the grind of your everyday life to see that shining new tomorrow of next year.
Locally, people are beginning to post their used curriculum to sell and I am itching to sit down and think about what we will do next year. There is also a Seton Conference in Nashville at the end of April so I would like to know what I need to buy before that point to save on shipping.
This past year has been quite the adventure. We flipped the running of our household upside down. See anything tagged transition. Since I knew we would be stressed by all the changes, I purposely pared down the scope of academic subjects for this year. I am mostly okay with that, even if I have the occasional panic about the horrible injustice I imposed on my children. This coming year, I would like to round out our academics again. Hello, spelling and science. But my time to sit for long stretches of time and ponder is short indeed so I thought I would hit a lick at this over the course of several posts. First subject: Math
Child number 1: Sam will be doing Kindergarten this coming year. I had hoped to add his schooling into our schedule this semester, but it hasn't happened. Teaching someone to read from scratch isn't something I can do on the fly. Maybe we will start phonics lessons before next fall, but math will not happen before then. And I have no idea. Just throw out what you know here.
Child number 2: Olivia has worked with me through Life of Fred and has worked fairly independently in the 2nd grade Seton workbook. She should finish through Goldfish in LOF and will finish the Seton book. I expect for her to continue in LOF next year. I don't think they are the be-all and end-all math curriculum, but I do think they give an interesting and unique perspective on how mathematics integrates with life and I like how it name drops more advanced concepts well beforehand just to get the student accustomed to the idea. I also have some problems with some of the underlying world-view philosophy, but it's elementary math so I won't get too far in the weeds.
I am not sure what her more substantial math curriculum should be. I am fairly certain I want to move her into Saxon in fourth grade, but what about next year. Should we continue the Seton, jump into 3rd grade Saxon, or find some other alternative for next year? I am not super-duper impressed with the Seton, but it's solid. I've been told that A Beka math makes a good stepping stone into Saxon, but the company gives me the willies. And of course, there's Saxon, but I'm not sure Olivia is ready for pages of text and math problems. Thoughts?
Child number 3: Grace, my math textbook loving child, has found her home with Saxon. I gave her the placement test off the Internet back in November and was somewhat surprised that it placed her in the 76 book even though she is in fifth grade. I knew she was advanced in math, but I did not expect her to be a full year ahead in a curriculum known for its rigor. Even so, we did not start immediately. Part of the reason was purposeful to pull her out of her comfort zone and part of the reason was sheer logistics. We finally began the textbook at the beginning of March and she likes just about everything about it. She even declines to skip problems when offered because, well, I don't know. I would if I were her.
Since we didn't start until March, we probably won't finish the book until next February. See above for panic about injustice to her education. If we had started in November, we could have reasonably finished the book this year and then next year, she could likely move on to pre-algebra, and THINK HOW FAR AHEAD SHE COULD BE!!!. Except we didn't. So we will finish this math textbook in the middle of next year and I have to figure out where to go after that. At the end of this book, there is a test to determine whether or not to continue to the next book (87) or jump into pre-algebra. Is it reasonable to start pre-algebra in March of 6th grade? Or should I just go on and expect to do Saxon 87 to round out the rest of the year and start seventh grade with pre-algebra? Any voices of experience would be appreciated here.
Those are my math thoughts. Such as they are.
I'm glad math is clicking so well! Just as a point of reference, the advanced math students here are taking prealgebra in 6th and algebra (integrated math) in 7th.
I would recommend maybe trying Saxon Intermediate for your 3rd grader. It's a good transition between Saxon 1,2,3 (heavily scripted, parent-led) and Saxon 5/4, 6/5, etc. (which can be more kid-led). It's one non-consumable textbook, but you can order the problem sets printed on newsprint in a "workbook" form. I used it with my 3rd graders last year, after starting Saxon 3 in 2nd grade and then petering out with it. I couldn't face doing the exact same thing again (Saxon 3) and so gave the Intermediate a try. It was a nice change from the early elementary Saxon, so I think I'll use it again next year, when I've got another 3rd grader. I'll be doing Saxon 1 with my 1st grader, Saxon Intermediate with my 3rd grader, and Saxon 6/5 with my two fifth graders.
My [unfortunately recently deceased] grandmother was an elementary school principal for over 25 years, and the stories I have about her are quite legendary.
The one relevant to you however was that she would round up all the sixth grade boys who were acting up because they were bored in their math class and would teach them 8th grade math (which is the pinnacle of pre-Algebra) from a textbook she "borrowed" from the district book barn.
She would also always say that between fifth and eighth grade math, nothing new ever happens, and me and most of my friends took eight grade math in seventh grade to no ill effect.
Hence, if your kid seems ready for it, I say go for it.
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