Monday

Math Resources and Supplements

Now that I have one child in Elementary School I'm very interested in Math and Reading resources. I will share some the things I've found for math in this post and share the reading programs in a later post.


No matter what math program you use be prepared to evaluate them based on the overall methods used. Some programs looked really good for beginners and then fell flat as the skills increased. I particularly like Singapore Math. The beginner programs seem almost too easy, but actually teach children mathematical values which will become invaluable later on in more complicated math. The program is heavy in critical thinking and seeks to develop a fluency in mathematics. The workbooks and textbooks, which are also paperback are only about $40.00 for an entire year worth of math! This is an extraordinary price. I also like that the child can independently complete the work. It's laid out very nicely moving slowly and steadily from one topic to the next. Singapore has the top performing schools in the world in Math in Science and this program, while in English, is developed from their course and moves through math in same steps. The website is http://www.singaporemath.com/

While this program is great I've found some supplementing is necessary because there is no real "drill" work. My daughter's school provides a basic math program as well as nightly timed drills so I haven't needed to find another program yet. However, I have decided to use www.indianmath.com now that she is reading well and beginning to need better test taking skills. What I really like about their program is that the student can work independently, but the parents can see all the evaluations. This gives the student more freedom, but the difficulty increases as the child masters new skills. I feel less confident about evaluating my child's work at this age and want to make sure there aren't any gaps.

The abacus is a great tool for teaching math values, but isn't used in the United States for math education. However, in India and China, and many other places around the world it is the main tool of young children. Many students take classes after school to help with mastering the abacus. As they become more fluent the abacus can be taken away and the student becomes able to do the math in their head. It's actually much like a child counting on their fingers, but allows for much more complicated work. My favorite abacus is the Soroban, which I've posted about previously in my research. Another mentionable site is http://www.alcula.com/soroban.php You can try out some calculations there.

Another notable Indian math skill is called Vedic math. It also encourages the student to become fluent in math and allows them, with practice, to compute great amounts in their head by learning certain "formula's" or sutra's. It is an ancient technique that teaches students to compute large sums extremely quickly. Here is a link to a site that will show you how vedic math works: http://www.vedicmaths.org/Introduction/Tutorial/Tutorial.asp

As a student who never really became fluent in math I'm overjoyed that I can teach my children this language. It has taken a lot of research and time, but I'm thrilled that their understanding will come much more naturally than my own. On a world level the United States is continually slipping in math and reading and I believe it's important to teach our children in a way that will allow them to be competitive on a global level.

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