If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordy Wednesday... The Last Hold Out...

EDITED TO ADD: On further reflection, I don't think I'll be changing much right now! While I daydream about "living math" as being fun, different, and fulfilling, I don't know that I have the time or energy to put it all together! And what we're doing now IS working. The Boy likes Teaching Textbooks, and it is a solid program, while The Girl likes Math Mammoth, another solid program.

In other words, "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" or "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."

I can add in some games, living books, etc., which I do to some degree now, but could improve upon, without getting rid of what we're doing now!


Years ago, when I started homeschooling, we used a lot of pre-made curriculum. You know, the kind that comes with lesson plans and a teacher's guide, all set and ready to go. Over the years between then and now, I've managed to drop nearly all of the pre-planned items. I use a living books approach for much of what we do, though there are a few exceptions, those being spelling, phonics, and math.

Today's focus... MATH. Over the years, though I have toyed with moving away from a math curriculum, and we've dabbled in unschooling, I always end up coming back to a regular math program. Why? I think much of it is a lack of confidence. If we don't follow x program, how will I make sure my kids learn x?

I'm challenging myself to step out side that box. I spend a lot of time (too much perhaps!) reading over at Living Math. And in doing so, I have come up with some resources I would like to further explore:

Books by Marilyn Burns
Kitchen Table Math Book 2 and Book 3
The Art of Problem Solving
Zaccaro's Math books
Patty Paper Geometry
Hands-On Equations
And of course, there is Life of Fred, Family Math, etc.

Then there are individual books and resources that are/look really good as well!

With all these resources available, why do I feel so locked into a math program? Something to think about anyhow.

So what am I actually thinking about doing? I'm considering making a list of math topics/areas for each of my kids that I would like them to accomplish prior to algebra. Then I can gather resources for each area of study.

For example, The Girl is not great at telling time. So we could do a unit on clock reading. Start with This Book is About Time, add in hands-on activities with our Judy Clock, practice telling time with various clocks, etc., maybe add in a book for The Boy like On Time: From Seasons to Split Seconds (and let him build a sundial!), OR I could give her worksheets. The first process might be more time-intensive (no pun intended), and frankly I don't know which she would really benefit more from in the long run.

Lots to research and think about.


  1. After doing Living Math for two years I can tell you why I finally went with a math curriculum. Time. It takes time to plan out how to use all of those wonderful resources. When I had a few weeks planned out and we were moving along things were good. Then we would get to the end of the plan and I had yet to make/take time to make the next set of plans. I found we spent a lot of time spinning our wheels. So I caved and went with the curriculum. I feel much better now. YMMV. Now I am considering ways to fit in our fun living math things, but my personality is much more comfortable with using the curriculum as our core.

  2. I love your blog, Gillian. You know why? You're honest. Plus, you don't write a post and just delete it if you change your thoughts--you leave it up so others can use it as "food for thought."


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