I need your help, please! Maths resources!

OK. I need help everyone! I am not someone who can really see Maths all around me and be able to teach it as we live our lives, although I will surely try. I think, at least to begin with, until I get more confident homeschooling, I’d like a Maths resource for my 7 year old son. But I want one that is visually appealing, not dry, preferably hands-on, but explains clearly to the teacher/student what to do! I would like one that has lots of ‘word’ problems in it, that tries to help the learner learn about how Maths is applied in the real world. My son is not, so far, a Maths high-flyer but he’s not adverse to Maths at all. How cool would it be if I could find a resource that would help him use this reasonable ability and help him love the subject, like his Dad does (but who finds it hard to teach him patiently and is rarely available, so it’s down to me).

I got a list of possible resources from the link I blogged about the other day. http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/reviews/reviewmatharticle.html
I find researching the resources rather overwhelming. So many opinions! It would be great to have a filter – like you guys out there reading this blog. Of course, I could buy one grade and try it and not buy the next, but that could get expensive and I might have wasted a year putting him off Maths because I got the wrong resource for him. I was going to buy Saxon, since so many homeschoolers use it, but I’m afraid it will be very dry like Kumon. What do you think of the following, given what I’ve written?
1)Saxon
2) Miquon 
3) Math-U-See (MUS)
4) Singapore
5) Teaching Textbooks
6) Chalkdust 
7) RightStart math
8) Life of Fred
Please do give me your feedback as soon as you can! Thanks so much!
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About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is pjmontford@hotmail.com. I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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75 Responses to I need your help, please! Maths resources!

  1. I was never good at math when I was in school but I did enjoy reading and writing. When we were homeschooling, my wife did 99.99999% of all instruction. I had the pleasure of researching and purchasing supplemental reading material.

    For math, may I humbly suggest the following:

    Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar

    Sir Cumference: And the First Round Table (A Math Adventure) – the entire collection by Cindy Neuschwander is great.

    What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? A Math Adventure

    If you purchase books through Amazon.com, it will “learn” what you like and begin to offer relevant suggestions.

    • Thanks so much for your suggestions. I really do appreciate you taking the time to answer my plea! These sound like really interesting books! I will take a look at them. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t work for us because the shipping costs to Bahrain are so high. But, I wonder if I put them on my ‘Wish List’ that Amazon will still suggest things? I’ll give it a try! Thanks so much again!

  2. inhistiming says:

    We like Saxon because it is VERY thorough. My husband, a mechanical engineer, looked it over and confirmed it is sound. My oldest son is currently using it and is doing very well. There are teacher cd’s available for purchase as well, so you don’t actually have to be the ‘teacher’ if math is not your strongsuit. I am not sure at what grade level that begins, though. That being said, we have switched our middle two children to Life of Fred. My 8 year old loves it! He always loved numbers and math, would say “I love math!”, ut nce he started with Saxon he quickly came to dread math. There are a lot of problems and it can be tedious. After two years of this, I decided to give LOF a try because I wanted a different approach, something fun, and, yes, more unschool-ish. I am so glad I chaned it. He loves math again, and has sped through the first four elementary levels since about November. My 12 yo daughter has been in the Fractions book for about 2 weeks. i don’t know if she LOVES it, but she definitely likes that it is less tedious and did much better on the ‘test’ for LOF than she was doing with Saxon. I don’t really have any experience with the others. Life of Fred is more of a storybook approach, with a few problems at the end of each chapter. It’s worth a try, if that sounds like something your son would like.

    • This is great from-experience kind of advice! Thank you SO much. LOF sounds great, along with the resources suggested by thehomeschoolroadtrip.com. I think maybe when Edward is older he might understand doing a more thorough, drier programme – maybe he’ll have some goals in mind that he needs the Maths for. But right now, I’d love for him to enjoy it at least a bit. He’ll happily do a couple of worksheets from a UK book called ‘Carol Vorderman’s Maths Made Easy’ which is very visually appealing but it jumps all over the place, so great practice for the Maths he’s learned at school but not for moving on to the next ‘thing’ and for me having to teach it!! Thanks so much again for reading and commenting. Take care!

    • Hi, It’s been over a year since you kindly commented on my blog about this Maths post. I have been using LOF with my son (now 8) on and off over the year (and dropped worksheets altogether). He really enjoys it and I look forward to using it more consistently now the weather is so hot here and watching him really develop some skills. I bought 2 year’s worth of ‘Maths U See’ and he finds it very, very dry. I was disappointed. I thought he’d enjoy it more so we’ve left it for the time being and just do LOF. MUS is also disappointingly too hard for my 4 year old daughter, the whole concept of place value is a bit hard to grasp having just learned to count! But she enjoys worksheets and doing Maths in cooking etc… Have your kids managed to learn maths just from LOF, after switching or do you, like many I’ve read, feel the need to supplement LOF because it offers little practice/drilling of skills? Very best wishes, Penny

  3. Victoria McKeown says:

    I rarely use books and teach the 7 year olds in my class through games and activities and then get them to show me what they know through completing some written practice. There are many great resources on the internet and online activities as well which would be of great help to you. i am not sure if you are following the UK or whatever curriculum but to be honest they are all pretty simulator in the early primary years. http://www.year2maths.co.uk is a great resource and should suit your 7 year old. http://www.primaryresources.co.uk is also a great resource.

    You will also find a lot of good stuff on http://www.ness.uk.com.

    I try to also do very frequent written and oral practice in maths skills such as number bonds, tables, doubles etc as these are key to creating a strong foundation and providing confidence. But these only need to be short daily practice. Flashcards are great although it does depend on your childs learning style and they may prefer something more movement or aural based.

    There are many sites with flashcard tools. I like http://www.senteacher.org but I also often get my students to make their own. They enjoy the novelty of it.

    I have literally 100s of resources of my own but unfortunately i moved them all back to NZ 6 months ago. However I do have a few here and also know my way around the internet resources very well.

    Doing problem solving is a great way to apply these number facts and gets the child to apply what they know to a different situation. The maths challenges from the DfE in the UK are great. I have an electronic copy of these and can email them to you or locate the link for you. my email is vicimckeown@hotmail.com.

    There are also some wonderful ideas on the NZ website nzmaths.co.nz.

    I will dig out some more for you. To be totally honest i would steer away from any text book scheme and also suggest that keeping away from subscribing to a specific resource gives you greater flexibility. I can give you links to find what areas of maths you should be covering and will willingly explain and suggest ideas if you require.

    I hope this helps!

    • This is great, Victoria. Thank you SO much for taking the time to comment with such a comprehensive answer. I will have to read through this and mull it and look at the websites you suggest. I agree that flexibility is really nice and I hopefully have some great resource suggestions to work with now (more suggestions always very welcome though) but there is comfort in following a particular well-used programme like e.g. Saxon. But what’s the point in me feeling comfortable that all areas will be covered if the kids don’t enjoy Maths! Total waste of time! Take care!

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  26. Isobel Monaghan says:

    I don’t know if this will help as it is not an overall resource but this is a series of interactive games that are quite motivational … I have used them with many classes or on individual computers for targeted practice. The games cover all maths areas so basic number facts, time, measures, fractions are all included. You can buy individual licences which would be suitable for homeschooling… but you could also trial the games online (although they do have an annoying ‘for evaluation only’ splurged across the screen!)
    http://www.primarygames.co.uk
    Some of these would definitely be great at least for practising basic skills, + – x:
    Top Spot (an addition pyramid) Arithmagons (for x and +) Sum Sense, Snap
    Eggs to Order (ordering numbers)
    Multiple Wipeout and Ghostblasters (x-tables)
    and I like Banana Hunt (angles) Billy Bug (coordinates) Treasure Hunt

    Here are a couple of other websites that have good interactive games:
    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/ – a good site with maths games some of which are developed with/by children. And the other content on here e.g history etc might be worth looking at too… if it is not too anglo-centric
    Check out the bbc site too – lots of content including games and some interactive adventures involving maths e.g. Starship Maths, and Digger and the Gang – haven’t tried these but they might be worth a look!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/websites/4_11/site/numeracy.shtml
    http://www.ictgames.com (these are aimed at younger children up to possibly 7 – so Edward might be beyond these…

    Hope these might be of some help

    • Wow, thanks, Isobel. I will check those websites out. We’ve dipped into the UK website but not those games. We must have missed them! There is some nice science there on there too. I’ll let you know how we go!

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  51. Marie says:

    I was going to reply but then I noticed how many great ideas were already in the responses. I really want to check out the LOF books but not sure we are ready for them. We use Math U See but primarily because I like the video instructions and I also like how it does not jump around but takes time to really grasp concept. I have used Horizon, Math Makes Sense, and some random workbooks. It is amazing what they learn when you do not use ciriculumn but it can be tricky to use it later and find a good fit later.

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  64. Kristen says:

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