What do you love? Or, not so much? Why do home schoolers feel this is a CM approach to learning math? I've also read that it supports a Beechick philosophy to learning/instructing math. We have primarily used Singapore and this past year we added Math Lessons for a Living Education, but another thread got me curious. Ack. :) Thank you!
Math on the Level(12 posts) (6 voices)
I have been using MOTL since August. My dd10 has struggled with math through Right Start, Math U See, and Shiller Math. MOTL is a keeper so far.
How does it fit with CM education? You, the teacher, choose how to teach a topic. The creators give plenty of real life ideas for how to do that. You also choose in which order you will teach math concepts (though suggestions are offered). The student does not practice her skills with a page or two of problems. In fact, she doesn't practice them in writing until you decide she has mastered the concept. Then, she will complete 5 (problems) a day of concepts she has already mastered. I write hers out in a spiral notebook, but others type them more formally.
I love that my dd doesn't learn her math from a book as much as from doing it. She loves that she only has to do 5 problems a day in her notebook. This summer she is doing Sonya's Business Math program for practice on her addition, subtraction, mulitiplication and other skills. It fits right in with the MOTL style of teaching. Finally, the concepts are not assigned a grade level like most other math programs. It has been good for my dd not to associate concepts with a grade that is one or two years below her traditional grade level.
Plenty of parents don't like MOTL because it is rather teacher-intensive, but that works very well for my dd. So it works for me!
I hope this helps.
It is so helpful, Kris. Thank you! I am really gravitating toward it ... I actually prefer teacher intensive over not so that's not a worry of mine, and my girls so far are completely hands-on math learners and real-life math lovers. It seems a good fit now and even for my boys, one of whom I suspect it will work well for as he is quite delayed in every area (adopted from Africa 10 months ago). I was thinking of getting the Life of Fred Elementary books as a supplement, but I think I'll give MOTL a whirl on it's own, first.
I'd love to hear more thoughts ...
What do you love?
I love that I have EVERYTHING I need to teach all of my children math. This is not a book of lessons and problems. Rather, it is more of a handbook of math if you will. I have mine all in one 3-ring binder. A FOUR-INCH d-ring binder actually. It is THAT LARGE. It covers every single concept needed to be prepared for higher level math—algebra and beyond.
I love that my oldest son, who used to struggle with math after 5 years in public school (and let me add, I don't think he was struggling b/c he was in public school), but I said that to say he was very defeated in math and since he wasn't at home, I didn't realize how defeated he felt until we brought him home. So I took him back in his 5th grade year using MOTL and now he is soaring. He now believes in his abilities to DO math.
He tested recently at a high school level in math. Granted, he still has to really think and it still doesn't come natural for him, but he gets it and he feels confident. He now likes math and can think on his feet with math, which he couldnt' do before. MOTL taught me how to incorporate math on the go (e.g. asking questions on the fly like DH asking our son tonight "what is 25% of $1200?" and our son immediately answering "$300").
I love that I can use them with all 6 of our children through the years and NEVER have to buy a major math curriculum again. I love that though the learning curve is steep, I know think MOTL-wise throughout our lessons. "Oh, this would be a great time to revisit fractions and review while we're working with this art project." etc. etc.
I love the price when I consider all it comes with and all I can do with it, especially when I figure for 6 children over their elementary and middle school years. I love that I can supplement with Saxon (that my neighbor has given me to use this year with oldest who will still be finishing up concepts in MOTL and doing 5 a days) or Life of Fred (my 9YO son is using the decimals and percents book) or whatever else I want to use it with.
Or, not so much?
I really don't have any dislikes. I do know that I need to stay ahead of the game. I don't like the record-keeping b/c I don't like excel, but they also give you paper copies with the curriculum. I'm still working out a record-keeping system with it that I love. I'm getting close I think (and it involves checkboxes :).
Why do home schoolers feel this is a CM approach to learning math?
I think Kris answered this already. You as the parent go at the pace that fits your child and his/her needs. It is not grade-specific. The writers stress very much that the "Beginning Math Student" should be learning math through "living" math (games, cooking, manipulatives, songs, etc.). The Math Adventures book is full of "living math" ideas. I mean, FULL of them.
For us, one aspect that is very CM is I can often teach more than one of my children at a time, even though they may be years apart in age. But I can for instance do a fraction lesson with two or more of them (even at different levels), but using the basic MOTL concepts I can teach more than one and then spend some individual time with them as needed on specifics. I can also do this approach with mutlitple children of ours who are different ages but might be at the same level on some math topics. The curriculum is not broken up by grade, but rather into 4 main books: Operations, Fractions, Geometry, and Money & Decimals.
I think it is very CMish, though admittedly I'm not a CM expert and we don't do CM schooling exclusively, but we're closer and closer to CM each year!
You can also join the MOTL yahoo group, even before purchasing, to ask questions there. Several of us on here are on the group! http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mathonthelevel/
Wow! This is an awesome review. Thank you so so much. I just asked to join the Yahoo group. I'm pretty much sold on this. My oldest (8) is not naturally inclined to think in the ways that she is asked in Singapore, yet she does quite well since she is a cheerful, motivated learner. She and my next daughter will thrive on the living, real-life, hands-on, teacher-involved lessons. My third child is recently adopted from Africa (home 10 months) and he'll be starting "lessons" this year. He is wildly delayed but I can see this really helping me to create a math experience for him that will be worthwhile and fun ... while pulling my girls into similar lesson topics too. Looks great. I also appreciate the 60-day trial period ... it's a lot to spend up front so that eases some of the initial pinch. :)
Our 2nd oldest son was adopted at age 10 from China with very little English (and no fractions LOL!). I could NOT imagine teaching him math w/out MOTL. I took him back to "whole" and then "1/2" and so on using the ideas from MOTL. Sure some of them I already knew of, but the books helped me to see (and look for) every opportunity to make it REAL for him. And I use this with all of our DC, but yes, MOTL is great for my son, whose first language is NOT English.
Our youngest son, age 7, and home from China at 5, is also delayed too. I use MOTL for him as well. Use it with all of our DC, but the beauty behind MOTL is they are not ever "behind" but are on their individual track of learning math. And if your child is able to forge ahead in one skill and not in another, no worries. You teach the concept as they are ready. And the book will also tell you when you can "drop" a concept as you introduce new ones that also cover that first basic concept.
The 5-A-Day problems may not sound like enough, but the thing is you may be reviewing 15 concepts.
I could send you an invite to my blog if you wanted erin.kate. I have done quite a few posts this last year on our math lessons, mostly with my two kindies b/c they are more willing photo subjects and I really wanted to document their first year. But anyway, it would give you an idea of some of our typical beginning math lessons. Send me a PM with your email addy if you are interested in the blog invite. If not, totally fine, just thought I'd offer.
I've had this for 4 years and not used it much. I think it was because of the record keeping. I really don't like that part of it. But I figured out a great system. It's a card file box. I put a different concepts that need reviewed on each card and put it in behind whatever day we need to do it. So if they need to review multiplication of 2 digit numbers three times a week, I put a card in that says that concept behind Mon Wed and Fri in the box or whatever days. It made it so so so so so much easier for me. I can move the cards around when something happens or take them out and put them back in when I'm wrong about mastery or whatever I need to do. I'm so excited to use MOTL to the full extent this coming year.
In fact, I made the file box for all subjects for school. The kids love picking a card out of the box and doing whatever it says. It motivated them to get things done in a more timely manner.
The math cards are for my use though--to know what to give them to work on. But they love getting the things done they can do on their own and turning the cards around. Gives them a sense of accomplishment, and they can see what they have yet to do.
That's really interesting, art. I can't really picture how it works but maybe once I get MOTL in my hands it will make more sense. I like/need simple and I'm not good at spreadsheets at all. I may have to send you a message once I get my stuff in the post. Thank you for sharing!
These reviews have helped me as well. We are going to start using a CM approach this year and was wondering what to do for math. We had been using Teaching Textbooks; I loved it, my daughter (10) didn't like being ushered into another room to do her math. At 22 problems per lesson, she was growing weary as well.
Part of my secret stress is that MOTL is NOT grade leveled. I am quite orderly in thinking, and the thought of not going 'in order' bothers me. I feel like if MOTL doesn't work out for us, then she will be 'behind' a grade level or something.
By 'teacher intensive' , do you mean that the parent sits with the student the whole time and reads/performs the lesson with the child OR do yo mean that a lot is required by the parent to prepare ahead of time for the lesson? Thanks for all the great posts!
@leebowens, when I say teacher intensive, I mean the prep work. As far as actual lessons, usually no more than 15 minutes or up to 30 for older students. In fact, MOTL stresses the benefit of shorter lessons. They stress that it is better to stop if the child is frustrated and/or not understanding and come back to it the next day or the next week or later if you feel the chils is just not ready.
As far as grades, I have moved past that. I believe our 13YO, officially in 8th grade as of tomorrow, will complete MOTL concepts before year's end, and he is not a math-inclined person. I have purposefully not pushed him, as we had to deschool and go back after bringing him home from PS in 5th grade.
MOTL has 146 total concepts broken into 4 categories and spiral-bound teaching books: Operations, Geometry, Money & Decimals, and Fractions. The very first concept, which is in Operations, is Beginning Counting. The very last concept is Computing Tax, which is found in the Money & Decimals book.
You can really go in any order you wish, though they do give you a suggested outline. But this is just a suggestion. I actually made a "map" for each of my three older children this year. I downloaded a sample of the one I'll be using with my 6th grade and 5th grade level sons.
All of these concepts will be on their 5-A-Day problems, which I made spiral-bound notebooks for using pages I created as templates for writing out the problems each morning. I built in spaces for writing problems where they need lines and/or graphing.Here is a sample of those pages. I have a notebook for each of the older boys with 150 of these pages in it. Each day, they wil be given problems based on their 5-A-Day Maps I created. Once a concept is mastered, you no longer put it on the 5-A-Day sheets. Here is the template I made for their 5-A-Day notebooks: https://www.box.com/files#/files/0/f/0/1/f_2642071489
And so all of that to say, by teacher intensive, I mean on the front end. The actual 5-A-Days take me about 10 minutes to make for each child as the curriculum has sample problems. You just have to write them out on their papers for each day. I prefer to do this each day so I can check the ones from the day before. If they miss one, I will usually talk to them about it (and as often as not, it was a simple error). Either way, it stays on the 5-A-Days until they consistently get them correct.
For our 2 first graders, I use a much simpler record-keeping system that came with the curriculum. (BTW, they have an excel program that is free to all purchasers (but I don't care for excel; I'm weird like that!) for record-keeping. Many people love it! I just don't.). But anyway, for our 1st graders I use the Beginning Students suggestions and just teach a new concept about once every week or two. They don't get 5-A-Day sheets, but I do give them one on occasion when they ask for it. More often than not, I'll give them a few practice problems a day on our whiteboard.
With all of our children, I (or DH) spends 15-30 minutes going over a new concept once a week or revisiting that same concept the following week as needed. Monday thru Friday they get a 5-A-Day sheet, some days I have them watch a related Khan video (or yourteacher.com for my oldest), and they also do math drills in IXL.com Monday-Thursday. This is graded on-line and I can choose whatever concept I wish for this. This is not required with MOTL; I just like using IXL for extra drilling, and it is very reasonable for an acct. for our large family through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op.
Hope this makes sense!
@leebowens, I meant to say that on that "5-A-Day Map" the bolded concepts are NEW ONES I'll introduce this year. The ones that are NOT bold are ones they have already been taught, but that I feel are not mastered. Thus, they are given practice problems of them all (the bold ones as they are taught them).
I made the blanks at the beginning, so I can check as I go. I have them in page protectors. I plan to just rotate the problems and they should be given each type of problem at least once every two weeks, but some concepts can be combined in one problem (and MOTL encourages this for deeper thinking).
I know this probably makes no sense to anyone but me! LOL! Like I said, I like my own system, and I love checking things off, and having things on paper. I have tried the notecard system, but then I drop the box and the cards are everywhere ... I wanted it all on one double-sided sheet for each child.
The reason I am using the same one for my 6th grade and 5th grade sons is they are basically at the same level. I will NOT however be teaching them together. This just doesn't work well as they are too competitive, but I will use the same teaching ideas with each one (just at different times during the day). I introduce new concepts on Mondays (or Tuesdays if we don't get to it on a Monday).
I see you can buy some volumes individually (looks like it's only for math operations), but others you can't-like fractions (as far as I could tell) So I'm wondering if a person would be stuck having to buy the whole program for $295 if they purchased the 4 offered individually to start with.
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