Tuesday, May 3, 2011


At the beginning of the school year I put together a cute little box for each of my boys with a fresh set of pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, play dough, markers, paints, and a ruler. There is just something about getting new school supplies that makes it fun to start the new year. The boxes and the rulers came in their favorite colors. Until today, the rulers where used as light sabers, guns, swords, paddles, and just about anything else they could think of except the use they were intended for. 

Today, all that will change. 

Today, we are starting our final unit in Math, measurement. I always liked unit studies because that is how my mind works. I like to focus on one thing at a time until I have it mastered and then I move on. Some people like to learn and teach in a spiral approach. That method being, that you teach a little bit of everything, and slowly build upon the previous knowledge. Both methods have pros and cons. I think the best thing to do is try them both out and see which way works best for you. 

The one downside to the unit study approach, at least in math, is that my 1st grader has gone all year with very little experience measuring. I mean we have measured things here and there, in science, and just for fun but we have not had lessons per se. So, for our final weeks of school we will be covering the subject. 

I guess that is all fine and good but I have been looking into some of the spiral curriculum for math and I like how they teach things, frontwards, backwards, upside down, and inside out. It is nice because if the child or in my case, the teacher, does not understand it the way it is being taught in one form, there is another way to find the answer. I have yet to find a way of understanding fractions, decimals, and percentages. I am sure there is a way for me to understand it. I just have not come across it. Most unit studies, at least the one I used this year, teaches only one way to approach each subject and if you don't understand that way, well you have got to spend an hour on Google trying to find another approach. 

This summer I am going to be giving a few other Math curriculum a try. I am doing this for 2 reasons. First, I like to keep math skills in use and fresh so next year I don't have to spend the first month doing review work like they do in public school. Second, it is a stress free time. We will not be in any kind of time crunch. There is no rush to get things done. We can relax and work our way through the material. 

I have found that most math companies have a free sample on their website. So, I am going to print off the samples that I can find and work through them, one at a time. Here are the ones I am trying out for grade 2.

Not all of these have teacher plans that match up with the sample page. I will probably pull samples from the first grade selection so that we are covering something he already learned. Then he can give me feedback about whether or not he likes the way the page is set up, how easy it was to understand what was being required, and etc. 

If you know of a great curriculum leave a comment with the link to the sample pages and I will check it out. 

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