Singapore Math Inc. ~ Dimensions Math PK-5 Review
Teaching is making sure that your audience (my children in this case) understand the concept that you're trying to get through to them. I have to admit that math is harder for me to teach than to do, but I think that's with anything. I see math and numbers in one way and they see it in other ways. My job is to find out how they see math and numbers and then teach from there. This makes finding math curriculum troublesome. How math is presented is very important. When we were given the chance to review a semester of Dimensions Math PK-5 by Singapore Math Inc., I had to check out their methods of teaching. I liked what I saw and wanted to give it a tr y.
We were given Dimensions Math 3A. They were generous to give us the teacher's guide, the student textbook, and student workbook. I had our fourth grader take the diagnostic test so that we could see where he fits in this curriculum. He scored higher, but I could tell that he was struggling a bit. He isn't the most confident with math and I didn't really want to push him to a higher level and then have him totally hate math. I want him to be confident in his abilities and if that means that he needs to go back a little and work through some concepts, so be it. That's one of the perks of homeschool, right?
I have to be honest, I don't use teacher's guides very much. I never did as a public school teacher and I don't now. I just find that I don't really need them in order to teach effectively. This teacher's guide gives you much more than just the answers to the workbook pages. There are activities to do with your kids, objectives to meet, copies of each page of the student workbook and textbook, how to use the printable blank-line masters, as well as detailed instructions on how to teach that day's lesson.
Here is one of the first activities in the book. We were reviewing the concept of Place Value. This is a tricky concept for kids to understand and I really liked this activity. They had me throw a bunch of sticks on the table (that was fun) and he had to count them. I should have gotten a picture of his face when I told him that he had to count all of the sticks. He, at least, tried to start counting them by twos, but that would have taken him awhile. Then I brought out the rubber bands. We talked about how it is much easier to count to ten, group them, and then count to ten again. If you lose your place in counting, it is much easier to start over. So he grouped all of the sticks into groups of ten and then we grouped those into a hundred. He saw how much easier it was to count. He also was able to see what it meant to have ones, tens, and hundreds. Once kids understand that, then they are usually able to comprehend the higher place values.
The student textbook is colorful and shows the student each concept that needs to be learned. He liked looking through it as I was talking. It was great that he had something to look at as I was trying to teach the skill for that day.
We mostly used the student workbook, obviously. This is where he did all of his work.
Here are some pictures of what the workbook pages look like:
I wanted to show you the top pages because he really had a difficult time with this page. It wasn't so much the math concepts, it was writing the number words. Neither one of my boys have ever liked to write so this really threw him for a loop. I ended up making a print out sheet with all of the number words so that he could put it in his resource binder. This gave him the confidence to continue with this. I have always thought that we can't get caught up with the spelling in a math lesson.
I really like this curriculum and we are considering purchasing the next semester when we are done with this one. I looked up the prices and oh my! They are SO reasonable! The teacher's guide is $25, the student textbook is $12, and the student workbook is $12. That we can handle. I love when a good curriculum makes its prices available for the homeschool family.
We will definitely be continuing with Dimensions Math PK-5 by Singapore Math Inc. I like how sequential it is in its teaching and walking the student through the concepts. It has really started to give our fourth grader some of the confidence that he needs to feel good about himself in math. He actually thinks that he can do it. Thank you, Singapore Math Inc.
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