Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Curriculum Choices

Its that time of year again...the time when I start thinking and planning for next year. In doing so, I thought I would share some of my favorite, no brainer, curriculum choices. Before I do so, let me just say that I am one of those people who loves trying different things. I'm always trying new products, ideas, and ways of teaching. There are only a handful of curriculum choices that I have stuck with and love from day one. This is not to say that I haven't tried to find something different, it just means that I have yet to find something that I like better. Because some of my ideas on certain curriculum choices could be quite extensive, I'll do this by touching on one product or subject per day. I'll start with my (and Haley's) least favorite subject...math.

Saxon Math - This is one area that I can say that I have explored extensively. You name it, we've tried it, seen it, heard about it, or currently own it. Here's just a few of the math programs we've tried: Horizons Math, Math U See, Teaching Textbooks, and Math Mammoth. No matter how good the program seems, or how much my kids liked or disliked it, we've always come back to Saxon. Why, you ask? Bottom works! It might not have all the bells and whistles of some of the other, fancier programs, but it has proven effective and solid in my household. I recently added the DIVE CD for Saxon 5/4 to our math lessons, and so far we're loving it. I looked at both the teacher CD's that Saxon offers and the DIVE CD's, and chose to go with DIVE. I really like the fact that he explains it in his own way. He uses different examples from those found in the text. The Saxon CD's are just going over exactly what's in the text itself. I can do that. The DIVE CD's are using the same method's but different problems. This way we can read over the lesson in the book, listen to the DIVE CD lesson, and then work through the problems. Its just an additional tool that works great for auditory or visual learners. It has greatly reduced the complaining about math in my home!

In summary, Saxon is a well rounded, solid, proven, spiral method of teaching math. I feel it prepares them well for standardized testing, which some of the others don't in my opinion. I've heard people complain about the extensiveness of the lessons. In the K through 3 program, we simply skipped portions of it. I never did the daily meetings, the second worksheet, and skipped anything my kids were already proficient in doing. This really cut down the time it takes to complete the lessons. Keep in mind, nobody is policing really don't have to do everything in the lessons. Some people try to do everything and burn out quickly. The teacher text is a guideline...not something you have to complete and do from cover to cover. So, even though we've looked and tried so many math programs, we're sticking with Saxon. Next year we'll be doing Saxon 6/5 and most likely using the DIVE CD's again.

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