Monday, June 3, 2013

Homeschool Math (with a 3 and 5 year old)

*For a mid-year update to this post, head here.

Our math curriculum is not built around any sort of hard and fast rules about what children should be learning at any certain age. I want my kids to master what they learn, I don't want to just touch on a long list of concepts. So while I did consult several resources for ideas of what kids are typically taught in Kindergarten and First Grade, I will not progress to the next concept until I feel as though we have mastered whatever we're currently working on.

How I Planned the Year

I consulted several resources when trying to plan our math curriculum. I printed and reviewed the Common Core standards that many states are switching to and conveniently, they were organized into groups - one of which details K-2 standards. This allowed me to see the progression of concepts so that we could move ahead if we mastered concepts quickly. I also consulted the Oak Meadow 2nd grade curriculum overview. This is the curriculum guide that I used during the last year and though Oak Meadow was not the perfect fit for us, I do like their slow progression of academics in the early years. Finally, I browsed through BrainPopJr videos and looked through some Singapore Math books that I bought used from a fellow homeschooler.

What We Will Use

I made the decision to purchase Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks for a couple of reasons. First, it is the curriculum that many other US schools are switching to, including my mom's (she's a 3rd grade teacher), so I feel like it will keep us current if my girls go back into public school when we move back to the US. In addition, Singapore Math fits well with my overall homeschooling philosophy of going at the child's pace and prioritizing mastery.

"[...] supporters [of Singapore Math] say it seems to address one of the difficulties in teaching math: all children learn differently. In contrast to the most common math programs in the United States, Singapore math devotes more time to fewer topics, to ensure that children master the material through detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids like blocks, cards and bar charts. Ideally, they do not move on until they have thoroughly learned a topic." (The New York Times)

And my favorite supplement: BrainPopJr videos, the Khan Academy (free!) and library books about math!

Our Math Plan for the 2013-2014 Year 

*Our 5-year-old loves math and has almost mastered basic addition and subtraction. She can work any 1-digit problems using manipulatives or her abacus, but has also started memorizing a lot of addition and subtraction problems as well. She has also been able to dive into work on adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers (with no carrying). Because of this, our focus is on late kindergarten and first-grade work and is why we're using the Singapore 2A books.

**Our only focus with our 3.5-year-old is to have her become more familiar with her numbers, to improve her counting (right now she can count to 30), and to continue to introduce mathematical concepts by observing her older sister. If Thing1 is watching a math video, Thing 2 is usually right beside her - and seems to soak up a LOT of information.

  • Singapore Math (Textbook 2A)
    • Meanings of Addition and Subtraction
    • Addition Without Renaming
    • Subtraction Without Renaming
    • Addition with Renaming
    • Subtraction with Renaming
  • Supplement with Khan Academy videos and practice problems
I hope this helps with your own planning if you are also homeschooling. I have no idea how long it will take us to cover everything, but again, my main goal is for my children to master what they are learning. I don't want them rushing through it for the sake of saying "it's done." Be sure to check in with us at the end of 2013. I will hopefully be posting some updates about how our "school year" is going! 


  1. Great post, my girls are a couple of years younger but you seem to be on the same wavelength as me when it comes to the 3 year old :)