I’ll be the first to admit that math was never my favorite subject. I found it challenging and rarely rewarding. In grade school, I was always late to turn-in homework and those silly earn-rewards-for-your-school worksheets, I never finished them. It took me two full grades to finally learn my multiplication tables.
When I was a Sophomore in highschool, my family relocated from Kentucky to New Hampshire. Not only did I have to manage a huge culture shock at the tender age of 14, but I also came face to face with a radically different math program than the one I was used to back in KY. Because the order of concepts was jumbled, I was ahead in one or two math concepts, and way behind in a ton more. To help me transition and keep abreast of my assignments, my mom arranged a math tutor.
My tutor, Lou M, was fabulous. Never had I before met someone who loved math as much as he did. When I approached my math teacher at the end of one school day in NH to explain my difficulty, she handed me a textbook and told me to read it at home. Lou, however, got a spark in his eyes when he was proofing geometry or simplifying equations. Although I never quite learned to love math the way he did, certainly I gained a healthy respect for the subject and began to feel good about myself again.
You have to understand that I’ve always been an A+ student in every subject. To be struggling with Math was humiliating and frustrating. To combat this, I forced myself to take mathematics long after meeting requirements for the subject. In highschool, only two years were required, I took four. In college, only one fulfilled the core so I took three.
Fast forward to six months ago…
My daughter had been attending a Montessori school for two and a half years prior to our relocation. Because of this and her natural instincts, I wanted to make sure that I had a strong hands-on high concept math program. Counting and basic addition came easily to her so I wanted to foster her interests and abilities by a program that would grow her interest and add to her skills.
Plus, as you may imagine from what I’ve just shared, I didn’t want math to be her crutch. I figure, if I can find a Kindergarten math curriculum that I’m excited about, the feeling will be catching and she’ll be excited too. And so, this was the mindset that I nurtured while setting out to find our program.
Because of my mercurial relationship with math, I wanted a complete program that required very very little to no prepwork or know-how from the parent. I also wanted a program that would be very hands-on, mimicking her experience with the Montessori experience.
After a couple of weeks of reading other homeschoolers’ reviews and poring over product samples on vendor websites, I opted for Saxon Math. Because I was on the fence about whether to go with grade K or 1, I called Rainbow Resource and they talked me through the math program and my daughter’s capabilities and matched me to Saxon Math Grade 1. I purchased the Homestudy kit, which included a teacher’s lesson plan book, two student worksheet pads, a meeting book, and a collection of master cards. I also purchased the basic manipulative kit. The whole program cost me less than $200.
When the box came, it was like Christmas. I had to open it after Oli was in bed – if she saw all the fun stuff it included, she’d be devastated when I told her that we would have to pack it back up for shipping to Chile. Anyway, you can imagine how excited I was to jump into the math program once we got to Chile.
[More on how Saxon Math is going here…]