I last wrote about how we found our perfect math curriculum back in March, so I thought it might be time for an update…
Jasper (7, Yr3/Gr2)
Life of Fred
Maths is still Jasper’s favourite subject, thanks to Life of Fred. This term we finished Life of Fred (Edgewood) and began Life of Fred (Farming). I love the way the Fred series mixes up basic fundamentals (such as subtraction with borrowing) with more sophisticated concepts (like union of sets, median averages and simple algebraic equations) in a way that introduces young children to advanced mathematical vocabulary in a very natural way. And, of course, we all love “Fred’s” delightfully quirky story and offbeat humour.
Because we’re not doing a traditional curriculum, I make sure Jasper gets plenty of extra opportunities to learn his maths facts. Luckily he loves games, which are a great way of getting the job done. Recently we’ve played Yahtzee and War . (My favourite maths website, Let’s Play Math has lots of ideas for maths games. I’ve just noticed Contig, which looks great – we’ll be playing Contig Jr next week!) We also play games like Tug Team Addition at Math Playground, and Jasper practises multiplication using Arithmemouse and Timez Attack.
One benefit of working with a child one-to-one is that you get instant feedback on how easy or challenging he finds each concept. So in Life of Fred (Edgewood) I noticed Jasper was a bit confused about the differences between rhombuses, trapeziums and parallelograms, so I set him some exercises on Study Ladder. He loves working online, especially on specific exercises (rather than working his way through an online curriculum in a linear way – for example, Maths Whizz didn’t work so well for us for any length of time) so this is win/win.
Cordie (8, Yr4/Gr3)
Cordie recently decided to take a break from Life of Fred (she was on “Farming”) to explore some other resources. She did a few exercises from a Schofield & Sims KS2 workbook we had on the shelves and asked me to set her some “surprise” Study Ladder exercises. One day she asked me to make her a page of clocks so she could brush up on telling the time, and another day she wanted a page of multi-digit subtraction sums. She played around on Khan Academy for a while, watching videos on decimal place values and then setting herself some problems to solve. And she dipped into Math Mammoth’s Division 1 (filling in the answers on the iPad using the Notability app).
Following her explorations, Cordie says she’s ready to go back to more of a maths routine with Life of Fred. Before that, though, we’re doing some times tables practice using Maria Miller’s structured drill system from Math Mammoth Multiplication 1.
I’ve looked ahead at all the Life of Fred elementary level books (up to “Jellybeans”) and they seem to cover everything on the English KS2 curriculum. As with Jasper, if Cordie needs or wants extra practice on a particular topic as we go along, there are plenty of other resources we can dip into.
Writing this post has also reminded me how much we all like Primary Grade Challenge Math which teaches mathematical thinking and problem-solving in a fun way. We haven’t used Challenge Math in a while but I’d like to get back to using it regularly, perhaps once a week.
Isn’t it great how many fabulous homeschool maths resources are out there? There really is something to suit everyone, at every age and in every mood!