Choosing a Math Curriculum

So…it’s that time of year again. Time when many anyway start thinking about heading back into academics…and math.

Wherever I’ve spoken on math, the number one question I usually get is related to curriculum. So I thought it might be a good time to share a couple of thoughts on choosing a math curriculum.

  • Look for one that shows math as a practical tool. As Alfred North Whitehead said, “There can be nothing more destructive of true education than to spend long hours in the acquirement of ideas and methods which lead nowhere.” Not only that, but unless students see a purpose to math, they’re left viewing math as some sort of man-made or self-existent truth rather than as a real-life tool that helps us describe God’s creation.
  • Look for one that really helps student understand why the rules in math work. While there’s a place for memorization, it’s also important that, at whatever level a student can developmentally, they understand that the rules in math are not arbitrary but really are simply shortcuts to help us describe the principles God created and is sustaining.
  • Look for one that incorporates history. History goes a long way towards helping students see math in context and understand that the symbols they’re learning aren’t math itself, but rather a language system that help us name the quantities and consistencies around us. They’ll also see how mathematicians have used their God-given ability to solve real-life problems…and be able to see the role worldviews have played.

On a more personal level, also consider

  • the level of parental involvement. Is it manageable for your schedule?
  • the style of the material. Does it present it in a format your child can work through?

Finding a good math curriculum can be challenging. The need for more good math curriculum prompted me to write a math curriculum for junior high (Principles of Mathematics), along with a handbook (Revealing Arithmetic) to go alongside a curriculum the younger grades and add the elements that are often missing in curriculum (such as history). We also carry an elementary and high school program that many have found helpful. So know that those materials are available for you too.

Whatever curriculum you choose, remember that math isn’t neutral or a mere textbook exercise–it’s a way of describing God’s creation. And viewing it that way should transform how it’s taught at every level.

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Upcoming Events

I wanted to quickly let you all know about some upcoming events.

This Thursday, April 6, at 8:45 pm EST, I’m going to give Facebook Live a try. I hope you can join me as we talk about math curricula. I’ll share some general thoughts, and explain the new curricula we’re carrying. And of course, I’ll take questions! I’m hoping to also record the session and post it on my website afterwards for those unable to make it live.

Also, below are two conventions at which we’ll have a booth this spring. If you’re there, I’d love it if you would stop by and say hello.

MACHE – Frederick, MD – April 21-22
HEAV – Richmond, VA – June 8-10 (I’m scheduled to do several workshops on math here as well.)

I hope you can join in on one of these events–it would be a blessing to see you there.

As always, please jot me a note or leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions.

God bless,

Katherine

Now Available: Elementary and High School Math Curriculum

Looking for a math curriculum for your elementary students that is easy to use, teaches math as a real-life tool, AND encourage students spiritually through explorations of God’s creation and character-building stories? How about an algebra and geometry course that shows students why they’re learning what they’re learning?

I’m excited to announce that we’re now carrying elementary through high school math curriculum that teach math as a real-life tool. I’ve put more details about the curriculum below. And you can read more and view samples in our store. I hope they will prove helpful to you in showing your students how math isn’t meaningless—it’s a real-life tool that proclaims the Creator’s praises.


Elementary Math Curriculum: Math Lessons for a Living Education

This is the first program I’ve found that

  • presents math as a real-life tool;
  • has an easy-to-use textbook approach that minimizes parental preparation and thought, AND
  • encourages students spiritually through explorations of God’s creation and character-building stories.

Students will love the stories about children who discover different math concepts in real life. Rather than just being told to memorize facts, they’ll get to discover those facts along with the children and then work worksheets related to that story. The stories all come from a young-earth creationist perspective and illustrate life lessons and good character along the way. Plus, they’re full-color and beautifully illustrated!

Another thing I love about this program is that there’s only one book to buy for the program itself–you don’t need to purchase separate student and teacher’s books. All of the levels include an easy-to-use schedule at the front, along with any notes the teacher needs right there. Level 1 and 2 include a link to download the answers, while Level 3-5 include the answers in the back of the book (the pages are all perforated and hole punched, so parents/teachers can easily pull this section out and place in a binder).

While the program doesn’t necessarily talk about the philosophy of math (why it works, how its very existence points to God, etc.) or math’s history, it presents math in conjunction with God’s creation in a refreshingly simple way. Unlike with many curricula, you won’t have to rework the presentations or try to figure out how to add science or real-life examples—they’re already there, and done amazingly well. Parents could easily add little nuggets about the “why” and the history of math as they go (see Revealing Arithmetic or Beyond Numbers for ideas).

Learn more and view samples.


Junior High Math Curriculum: Principles of Mathematics

Junior High Math Curriculum

This is the series I wrote to both firm up elementary math and give students a big picture understanding of high school math—all while intensively building their biblical worldview and problem-solving skills. When finished, students will be ready to jump right into algebra, understanding both what algebra is about, why it’s important, and how it points to the Creator. There’s even an optional eCourse component available.

The program will help you transform your math class, show students why math (including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and probability) matters, help students understand the mechanics of math, and leave students awed at God’s faithfulness.

Learn more and view samples.


High School CurriculumAlgebra and Geometry Curriculum

I’ve always had a high regard for Jacob’s high school math series, and was excited when I saw they were being reprinted. I love how this program incorporates history and teaches the student to use math in problem-solving situations. Students won’t be left wondering what all those xs and ys or geometric proofs are about anyway. Instead, they’ll learn to apply the skills their learning and truly think mathematically. While the program doesn’t connect math to God, it does teach math as a practical tool. If students have already completed Principles of Mathematics, they should be able to see how what they’re learning declares the Creator’s praises. There are also DVD lessons available to help with mastering the skills.

Learn more and view samples.

Math eCourse Coming Soon

Principles of Mathematics eCourse

Well, it’s finally public: I’m working on an eCourse to go alongside Principles of Mathematics: Book 1.

The eCourse will feature a short video to go with every lesson in the textbook. The videos will walk through the material covered in the curriculum, making it a perfect supplement for auditory or visual learners, or any student who needs a little more guidance in math.

Anyway, this video offers a very short overview!

Please leave a comment with your thoughts. The eCourse is also now available for preorder at a special price of $49.99. This price will grant access to the eCourse for the 2016-2017 school year.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Bonus: Color, Light, and Math”] I recently posted a blog about Color, Math, & Light over on The Creation Club website. Hope you enjoy! Color, Light, and Math[/thrive_text_block]

 

 

 

Math Curriculum Has Arrived

Math Curriculum Arrives

Math Curriculum ArrivesThe second book in Principles of Mathematics series is now complete! I’m super excited, not only because it is done, but also because it’s my hope that this material will help students see God’s handiwork in mathematics and realize to a deeper level what an amazing, faithful God we serve. Many students (myself included years ago) wonder why they have to bother learning math (especially when it comes to algebra and other upper-level concepts). This curriculum answers that “why” question, equips students to use math in their own lives, and encourages them that they can trust God completely.

I’ve posted some sample lessons so you can “see” the curriculum.
* View textbook sample.
* View teacher guide/workbook sample.

There are also more details and a way to purchase it at the link below.

https://www.christianperspective.net/product/principles-of-mathematics-biblical-worldview-curriculum-year-2

Math Curriculum SetThe curriculum is designed as a full prealgebra curriculum (grade 7 or 8), but would also work well for older students seeking to understand math’s real purpose.

(If you know of anyone who might be blessed by this curriculum, please pass along the information. I’d also love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.)

Biblical Math Curriculum Coming Soon

Principles of Mathematics: Biblical Worldview Curriculum

For those of you who’ve been wondering where I’ve been…I’m still here! I’ve just been under tight deadlines to finish up a junior high math curriculum in order to have it available this spring. Master Books will be publishing the curriculum. I’d appreciate your prayers for the project, and I will try to post more details soon :).

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our biblical math blog updates to keep posted.

Edit: I just posted a few more details about this biblical worldview curriculum if you’d like to take a look.

Mammoth Math Curriculum – And Free Worksheet Generators

Math Mammoth Review

Note: Please see these general guidelines and thoughts to help you as you choose math curriculum. Please also see our review policy disclosure, which is to comply with FTC regulations and explains our review policy.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Mammoth Math curriculum–a unique curriculum with lots of options (you can purchase it by grade or by concept, and it comes as either a download, physical CD, or printed material). Its flexibility could make it a good fit for those looking for a way to review or teach a specific concept or for a flexible textbook approach.

Whether you’re looking for a curriculum or not, you may want to check out the wide variety of free worksheet generators Mammoth Math/HomeschoolMath.net offers. The generators cover concepts ranging from the typical (such as addition and fractions) to the more unusual (such as foreign currencies and scientific notation)–and they’re all quite customizable. The ones on foreign currencies especially might be a fun supplement to use alongside learning about different countries. You could even cut out the coins from the worksheets, making them into pretend money, and then set up an imaginary store and buy things in the foreign currency. Make it even more challenging by looking up the exchange rate and estimating the cost in U.S. dollars!

The site also offers a downloadable sample of the curriculum that includes a generous amount of materials (more than 300 pages) when you sign up for their newsletter or their “Math Mammoth Tour” (an e-mail a day for seven days on the curriculum).

I’ve put my entire review below. If you’ve used the product, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment!

Disclosure: I requested and received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy here.

Math Mammoth ReviewReview of  Math Mammoth

Publisher: Math Mammoth (written by Maria Miller)
Grade Level(s):
Curriculum series covers grades 1-6; worksheet series covers grades 3-8.
Price:
$32/grade for the complete curriculum as a download; downloads on individual topics are available for less than $7 each; worksheets only (no teaching text) and discounted bundle packages are also available. Print versions are available (prices vary) through LuLu.
Where to Obtain:
www.mathmammoth.com

Math Mammoth offers both a complete curriculum series for grades 1-6 (their Light Blue Series) and the same basic material arranged by concept (their Blue Series) for those looking for a workbook on a specific concept as opposed to an entire grade. They also have just worksheets without concept presentations for grades 3-8 available, although these Golden and Green series would be more suitable for tutors or classroom teachers than for homeschoolers.

The material is available in either a digital format (either downloadable or on a CD) or a printed format. The digital format cuts down on the initial cost, although you will need to print out the worksheets yourself.

This curriculum is designed to be extremely flexible—the author, a math teacher and homeschool mother from Finland, encourages users to use the books as a “framework,” spending as little or as much time as needed rather than focusing on finishing the entire book. In her “User Guide,” she explains that while some pages are filled with drill problems, parents only need to assign the number the child needs—even if that is only one half or two thirds of the total ones given (a suggestion I heartily echo, no matter what curriculum you use).

Each chapter covers a concept and includes an overview for the parents, a list of related online resources, and presentations and worksheets for the students. The author has also created online worksheet generators (see www.homeschoolmath.net/worksheets) parents can use to generate additional worksheets if needed (although there are an ample number of worksheets in the books themselves).

As far as content goes, I appreciate how the curriculum tries to explain concepts with understanding and brings in practical word problems or examples. The program also uses a lot of pictures to help students connect abstract numbers with real-life objects. I did not notice examples of math in science, historical information, or any mentions of the Lord. The program includes a lot of game suggestions and links as supplements. Parents will want to selectively use the links and supplement the material with more science and history examples, as well as bring in the biblical perspective. The program also contains a lot of problems for each concept, and I definitely would echo the author’s reminder to only use what you need.

I see the program’s greatest strength as an inexpensive way to review or teach a specific concept. For example, if your child is struggling with fractions, you could purchase the fractions material from the Blue Series and work through some of the pages. I know a mother who is using it that way and really liking it. Since the material comes as a download, you only need to print out what you need. It could also be a good fit for those looking for a flexible textbook approach.

Free Digitized 1800 and 1900 Math Books

Several months ago, I felt like I’d hit a goldmine when I first discovered Google has digitized and made available for FREE numerous math books from the 1800s and 1900s, including some of my favorite ones I’d found in old collections. Written back before math was viewed as an intellectual pursuit, many of these old books team with practical word problems!

While they’re not for everyone, as the older English wording and time-period illustrations might confuse some children, these historic math books can be quite helpful! If you’re not sure how to show your child how a concept serves as a useful tool, try looking at some of the word problems offered in one of these books. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading through all the presentations, as they’re not easy reads, but many of the word problems are gems! A good place to start is the Table of Contents–the books are also searchable if you want to narrow in on a specific concept.

Below are links to a few of Google’s extensive collection. If you search for these books’ authors, you’ll find other books by them as well (you may want to limit your search to “Full view only” to see all those available on the site in their entirety).

Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic
Adam’s New Arithmetic
Stoddard’s Rudiments of Arithmetic

Practical Arithmetic (upper elementary/high school)

Reminder: Request Week – Next week is request week, so please leave a comment with what you’d like us to discuss!