Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
JumpMath is a fairly new program, developed in Canada, with the goal of helping all children work through the underlaying concepts of mathematics so that real comprehension is encouraged, not jus the ability to get the questions right. The name stands for Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies. The course is published in a workbook format, available in two editions: one is the complete program including geometry, measurement, patterns and algebra, numbers sense; the other is a shorter version that focuses just on the arithmetic components of the program. The short version is available at Chapters or Costco, the full program can be ordered from the University of Toronto bookstore.
We chose JumpMath because of it’s excellent step-by-step approach to math concepts. The lessons work slowly through each step to ensure solid understanding. Teacher’s guides are available on-line at no cost, and have extra activities and explanations.
Antoehr very positive thing for us is the Canadian content of the course. Money is shown as loonies and toonies, word problems are about driving across Canada, and measurement is based on the metric system. This alone would not be the deciding factor for me, but it is a definite bonus.
We have found that Hannah is truly getting math now. It can be hard to tell whether the concept is clear to a child or if they have just learned the tricks that get a right answer, and we discovered that the previous program she used was not giving her a real understanding. Switching to JumpMath has stepped up her true comprehension.
For more about the program, I recommend the book The Myth of Ability that explains the development of the program. I found John Mighton’s approach to math, and his conviction that every child can learn math to be very inspiring.
If the program sounds intriguing to you, the fractions unit is available to down load. It is a useful test-drive of the method and style of the lessons. It’s also a great way to start up with a sense of achievement since everyone knows that fractions are really hard.
More about JumpMath is on-line at www.jumpmath.org.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The curriculum we have used the longest is Bible Study Guide for All ages, a program we started in the very early years of our home education program and which we have continued with through most of the intervening years (with a break during the time that our three oldest children were all doing Bible quizzing.)
Bible Study Guide For All Ages is a family-developed program, created by home educating parents for their own children and then published and shared with others. It looks at scripture as a series of biographies, working through the life stories of major biblical figures one after the other, not in order but in a sequence that helps develop an understanding of the importance of each person to the whole biblical story.
Each lesson has a scripture passage to read, background information, and questions of varying levels of difficulty. There are also review questions as part of every lessons set up to continually review the most important parts of previous lessons. Each lesson is completed by having the child copy a stick figure visual of the major events of that day’s lesson, reinforcing the lesson in a child-friendly way.
We have liked this program because it’s simple to use, thorough in the way it goes through each person’s story, and successful in the way it has equipped our children with a good grasp of biblical history. They knew why Joseph’s brothers hated him, and what the Abrahamic covenant was, and where Paul traveled because they had worked through this program.
Now that I’m part way through book 2 with Hannah, I see again that the simple system of this program really is effective in building a solid foundation. It’s easy to do daily because it’s one of those lovely programs that I can just open up and teach from without any advance planning. It has become a valuable part of our daily routine. It really is one of the best things we have done with our children.