Do I need to do MUS Primer with my Kindergarten son this year? If we just do calendar and real life math, will he be prepared for Alpha the next year?
We like Primer, but I do it with my three year olds (my third is doing it this year). I don't make them do the writing portion, instead I let them trace the number with their finger or point to the correct answer on a number line. I like it because it lays the foundation for how math is taught in Math U See. It's reviewed in Alpha, but at a much quicker pace. It also teaches some shapes. It's certainly not necessary if money is a concern, but if you have multiple children it might be worth the investment. I am not having my children write in the Primer student text, primarily because they are too small for writing and benefit equally well from doing it orally, secondarily because I'd like to not keep rebuying the student text (which we do rebuy for all the other levels so far).
If you want to skip it, then you should still buy the blocks and teach him to recognize his numbers and to count objects - as he learns to identify the numeral, I'd teach him the color math block that goes with it. It just helps them progress more quickly when they get to Alpha - NOT that speed is the end all be all, but they're learning more advanced concepts, so learning these things prior to Alpha helps to ease the memorization required.
I agree with Rebekahy - I like it, though not necessary. I am doing it with my 4yr old son right now and it's a good start to what he will be doing this school year in Alpha (he is a Sept 15th b=day and in MN there cut off is the 1st). Also like Nebby said my other kids where doing there MUS and my son wanted to do it too.
Thanks. I'm still undecided on this.
My second grade daughter will begin with Alpha this year. Although she has learned some of the concepts in Alpha already, I think it best to lay a firm foundation. As for my son, he already is opposed to school because according to him it gets in the way of his play time. (We did not require anything formal from him this past year. I guess he just sees what his sister does and does not want to compromise a minute of playing!!) On one hand, the Primer would gently prepare him for more in first grade. On the other hand, he's just turning 5. I'm not interested in a rigorous kindergarten year for him, just something a little more structured. hmmmm.... just continuing to ponder this one. Feel free to offer any advice....
I like it if you want something a bit structured so the younger one is not lost in the shuffle. I have 7 and my 4th is doing Primer right now. He asks and that helps keep him progressing when I can get distracted by teaching the older 3 and chasing the younger 3 while also taking care of the youngest child's many medical appointments/needs. He enjoys it and could handle Alpha honestly (he's turning 5 and everything comes easily to him so far - very unlike some of my others!). But I want no pressure, so Primer is fun for him.
We started with Primer and never regretted it. Although the beginning of the book is very basic and most children probably know the material before it's taught, I'd rather be safe than sorry. We simply zoomed through those lessons. But at least I had the peace of mind to know that they were absolutely ready by the time we began Alpha. Like Tristan mentioned, it is fun for them even when they know what they're doing. I also think it's a great way to begin math, slow and easy with concepts that are easily caught and remembered. Just like with reading simpler books, Primer, in my opinion, helps to build that confidence they'll need later on when they begin the more challenging concepts. I think Primer lays a ground foundation, especially if you plan to use MUS all the way through, which we do.
Just my thoughts,
Christie - Is she able to recognize numerals? Is she able to write them? Does she know her shapes? Is she able to count objects? If she can do all those things, you can start with Alpha. I'd just be prepared to spend more time on any lessons that don't come easily (like you would anyway, but offering even more grace). I find the Primer to be VERY basic and use it as a preschool book - they can easily complete a lesson in five minutes if you're not requiring writing from them and if they have those fine motor skills, I still can't imagine it taking more than 10 minutes or so. Outside of learning the numerals, I believe everything is repeated in Alpha, just at a faster pace.
Jennifer - I agree with Lindsey, it'd be a great foundation for your son. It's going to be quick and enjoyable - he's going to experience success and become familiar with the MUS way of doing things. It will make the transition to Alpha much easier and feel like review for him next year.
Hope that helps!
If the total was too hefty, for the next levels you can always buy used. There are previous posts about buying used math curriculums, I have always gotten the teacher manual/dvd for less than 10.00 total from homeschool sales/ebay/craigslist/homeschoolclassifieds.com, etc. Then if I can't find a used student book (that is new or only has pencil that I can erase) I buy those new but it's only 25.00 then. Just a thought.
I also forgot to add my 2 cents, and it's a bit late since you've already ordered Primer:), but I have a hard time with pushing a child that isn't begging to learn before 6. I made that mistake before with my first two and they were miserable and so was I(although a lot of that was because we were doing workbooks/busy work that had been given to me for free instead of CM). My 4yr old really wants to do Primer, my 5 yr old does not. So I go very easy with her and do more games, etc. We do work on things and she knows plenty without having to learn place value, etc. at age 5. So I guess I'm just saying if it's not going well for you both, don't feel pressured to continue just because you bought the curriuculum.
My 7 y/o DD went through the Primer when she was 4 and 5. We didn't do math everyday when she was in preschool, and when she went off to Kindergarten she did a little at home leisurely. She was learning more from the Primer in addition (what is also taught in Alpha) than she was at school from Saxon.
She finished up the Primer when we started first grade at home. When we started Alpha there was so much review that we just skipped those chapters. I had her take the tests, and then we moved on.
With that said, I am doing the same thing with my DS5. He is not writing yet, and Alpha starts out expecting the student to be able to write their numbers. Yes, the first lessons are easy peasy, but this allows the child to also master something confindently while learning new things as they get into place value and addition. Also, I like that the Primer breaks up place value over two lessons. Alpha goes straight into placing up to the hundreds.
My 5 y/o niece is doing Alpha. They are just having to take it slower.
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