This week I’m running through what we use for home educating our five kids. You can learn about our overarching curriculum choice here.
Today I’ll touch on math and science curriculum. My older kids use the computer math program called Teaching Textbooks. It is a bit pricey at first glance, but we reuse it five times, so it’s well worth the investment. Each year I reuse the CDs and buy a new consumable workbook.
I appreciate the thoroughness of TT; my kids’ test scores have improved with every year of use. Plus they love the ownership of doing math on the computer. They are in charge of all their materials, and I let them figure out how they will manage their time. Later on, after they’re done, I can log into the password-protected teacher grade book and see what their scores were, whether or not they attempted each problem more than once, and if they watched the tutoring session with each incorrect problem. I can also delete answers — or entire lessons — and make the kids re-do them if necessary.
Prior to beginning with Teaching Textbooks in third grade, the kids use a British math program (“programme”) called the MEP. This curriculum teaches algebraic thinking very early on — it covers things I didn’t think first and second graders could understand. In fact, my pediatrician basically told me I was nuts for thinking they were understanding it. Oh well. The only hurdles we find with MEP is in the area of money and measurement; being an export from the UK, the program teaches the metric system (not bad) and uses shillings, pence and pounds for money. In the money problems dealing with simple addition, I just tell the kids that “p” stands for “pennies” and they’re none the wiser.
Oh, and there is the wonderful matter of the workbook spelling “color” as “colour” and calling trucks “lorries.” I’m sure you could guess that I find that charming so it’s not a problem as I see it.
In science, we have used the Apologia textbooks written for elementary kids so far. We’ve done Botany, Astronomy, Flying Creatures, and Human Anatomy. This next year we’ll be doing Land Creatures. In fact, I’ll be teaching it at our co-op beginning in the fall.
Science is an area where I am weak, so I am always eager to work it into a co-op setting for the sake of accountability and group encouragement. If the kids are responsible to get their reading done and I do a little discussion at home, then the experiments are best left to a group setting. I have been extremely grateful to have co-ops for the last two years where we’ve done science together. This past year the boys were privileged to have a nurse teach them human anatomy. Recognizing my own shortfalls, I am happy to fall on stronger arms in these cases.