Teaching From Home

Two Math Curriculums That Work!

John Crowder, Owner of Crowder Education in Pocatello, Idaho

Teaching math is probably one of the most difficult challenges for any teacher, whether you are teaching in a classroom setting or teaching your children at home.  I’m going to let you in on a secret:  It doesn’t have to be this way.  In fact, learning math can be a joy for your students.  You might be asking yourself, “How can this be?”  The answer is simple: Many of the textbooks and techniques used to teach math are completely ineffective and illogical.  Find the right curriculum, and as your child experiences success, he or she will begin to enjoy the subject.

You see, there are certain principles that are universally applicable to learning any skill.  Unfortunately, in many math courses, these principles are completely ignored.   Three of these principles include:

  • Learn the Basics:  Whether you’re learning to make a layup in basketball, learning a language, or learning math, there are always basics that need to be mastered…memorized.  In math, this means you need to memorize your math facts.  If you don’t know your times tables or other basic math facts, you’re going to fail.
  • Learn Incrementally:  It should be self-evident that it’s easier to learn material by taking one small piece at a time, and building up to more complex problems.  Take the quadratic equation.  To solve a problem using this formula you need to understand order of operations, how to work with signed numbers, fractions, radicals, and the rules for solving equations.  By learning one procedure at a time, then gradually adding in another, though, it becomes easy.
  • Continually Review: When I was playing basketball in high school and college, I regularly practiced basic skills, as did my teammates.  When you don’t practice what you’ve learned, you forget it.  This is as true in math as in any other skill.  To stay at the top of your game, you must continue to review and practice what you’ve learned.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’ve been teaching math for two decades now.  In that time, I’ve seen a lot of math books that aren’t very good.  But, I’ve also seen two that are exceptional.  In fact, these have been used by many homeschooled students to achieve tremendous success.  They are:

A Beka – The A Beka curriculum is being used by my 5th grade daughter right now.  It provides constant review of previously learned concepts.  When I was operating my private school, I used A Beka math exclusively in grades K through 3.

Saxon Math – John Saxon, the creator of Saxon Math, is credited with employing and emphasizing the concepts of incremental learning and continual review.  From the very beginning, when students were introduced to Saxon Math they experienced dramatic improvement.  I used Saxon Math in my private school for grades 4 through 12.  One caveat – I don’t recommend later editions of Saxon Math.  Make sure you obtain anywhere from the 1st through the 3rd edition to get the full benefits of John Saxon’s system.

Both of these curriculums can be found at Christian Book Distributors (CBD).  Check them out online today, by clicking on the link, below.

Please note that the Pocatello Chubbuck Observer is a proud affiliate of CBD.  You can help our newspaper by purchasing through this link, as we may earn a fee for items purchased, with no increase in cost to you.


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