Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How far behind in math are the kids? (Updated)

I was searching last night for a supplementary math curriculum to do with the kids. The school uses "Everyday Mathematics" which is renowned far and wide for its suckiness. At least the school sort-of acknowledges this and does actually insist that the kids master basic math facts. They do regular one-minute exams and need to get a certain number of problems done in that amount of time. This is particularly hard for our pokey 5th grader, who has to make it though 50 multiplication problems in a minute by the end of the semester--currently she'd doing 27-30.

After looking through a bunch of curricula and reviews, I eventually bowed to the inevitable and bought two semesters of Singapore math (they break each year into two semesters, A and B--sold separately, of course.) The problem is figuring out how far behind the kids are! Because the kids are in grades 3 and 5, it seemed to make sense to buy 3A and 5A. I was guessing that the kids would at least be able to grow into them.

I was also looking at the curriculum's "placement" tests, which are actually tests at the end of each level to see if your kid is ready to move on. I know there are things on the test for the end of level 3A that our 5th grader would have a lot of trouble doing. And, no way our third grader could! It looks like I'll have to go further back for the 3rd grader, and hope I won't have to go further back with our 5th grader too! It would really be hard to convince her that she needs to go back and learn second grade math!

At least, I know the goal: get the 5th grader to algebra by 8th grade.

Update: The Singapore Math books came today, and I'm very very happy to report that our 5th grader will certainly not have to go back to level 3A. I don't think there's anything in there that she doesn't know how to do. I'll give her a few pages of review, just for practice, and move on from there,

I am also happy to say that the level 3A workbook is a pretty good fit with our 3rd grader. So, he'll be working with that one. He will need to review his multiplication tables through 5, but he has most of those down (counting by 2's is easy, 5's is easy, and I taught him the 3's song from School House Rock, so all that's left is 4's.) Some of the problems in the 3A book were actually very similar to what he's been doing in school lately.

1 comment:

Susan Midlarsky said...

I wouldn't worry too much if you have to go back to an earlier book. The Singapore Math curriculum is typically about two years ahead of most US curricula. I'm starting a 12-year-old homeschooler on 2B, because she needs that foundation; she will just move through it more quickly. You may want to try that as well. Many people report success that way.

More Singapore Math resources on my blog and website: susanmidlarsky.com. Hope that helps!