I am delighted that Sarah has agreed to write about the primary age maths rescources she uses. Sarah is a friend from church and my children enjoy spending time with her younger two. Her grandson and my younger son also share a birthday!
It is a very in-depth post and I'm sure this will be useful to those who are currently searching or tweaking their math curricula. The bold texts have links containing more information.
Sarah blogs at http://weshallobtaindeliveringgrace.blogspot.com/
Please do take a read of her blog as this contains a wealth of information on all things to do with home education. I regularly turn to Sarah's blog for help and inspiration.
Over to Sarah...
I have home educated my younger three children. The younger two have never been to school.
It is important for us that the children realise that maths is an important part of life. God has made this world orderly and obeying certain rules and maths is part of this. It isn’t helpful to children if we make them think that maths is difficult or not enjoyable. A book which is useful to read around encouraging children in maths, and particularly not to think that they can’t do maths, is The Elephant in the Classroom by Jo Boaler. I don’t agree with every last thing but it encourages teaching so that children are inspired to enjoy maths.
Life is full of maths: numbers of stairs, number of pieces of cutlery on the table, odds/evens with house numbers, shapes while out and about, repeated addition with pairs of shoes, weighing in cooking, money and more!
Orchard Toys has several useful games. We particularly enjoyed Pop to the Shops, Spotty Dogs (useful for understanding number correspondence) and Tell the Time. Sum Swamp by Learning Resources is great for number bonds to 12 and odd/even. We played this almost every day for probably a couple of years and is definitely worth buying. It currently sells for around £14.
Key Stage One
We used Mousematics which comes as part of Mothers’ Companion.
Pros: Cheap and cheerful. The Mothers’ Companion flashdrive is £20 and includes much more.
Cons: The worksheets have to be printed off.
I don’t think this was the most exciting curriculum and isn’t particularly challenging.
The measurement worksheets are much better changed to hands on activities.
Alternatives, I would consider if I were looking again would be
Mathematics Enhancement Project from the Centre in Mathematical Innovation. We used this for a short time.
Pros: Mathematically rigorous, either a free download or inexpensive workbooks.
Cons: Needs concentrated teacher time. I always work with my children during maths time but couldn’t manage MEP as I have children two years apart. The programmes for different years do not cover the same topics at the same time.
This programme would be ideal with an only child or two children working at the same level.
Maths No Problem
This is the UK version of Singapore maths. I haven’t used this personally but it is highly regarded.
Key Stage Two
We have used Galore Park maths from year three. We have only needed to use the main textbooks, for two of the children, and have not added in the workbooks or revision guides.
One of the children found Galore Park maths difficult for a time and so we changed and used the Schofield and Sims Understanding Maths series for a year. This worked really well as these books are clearly set out by topic. Their layout is much better than many maths workbooks that I have seen.
However, we have needed to add extra resources for learning times tables for all three. We have used a variety of items and changed these around for variety. Whatever maths we were doing, we spent about 10 minutes a day on tables for several years until these were reasonably fluent.
• Pairs of shoes/days of week/coins/sets of cutlery.
• Reciting tables while skipping/jumping/with a timer
• Number square to 100 and colouring in/circling numbers (It saves time to make one and photocopy)
• 10 questions-I wrote out 10 questions a day relevant to the child’s need to practice tables so anything from 2s to mixed 2s to 12s plus squared numbers.
• Free online games. Maths Frame was a favourite.
• Schofield and Sims tables book Home educators are entitled to use the tutor rates.
• Throwing two dice and working out the product
• Trilemma Additional
These are extras that we use from time to time.
• Bedtime maths. This is a free website with some maths for each day from Monday to Friday. There is a short introduction, usually about something factual such as an alarm clock or a bird, and then questions are several different levels from suitable for very young children to roughly upper KS2 level.
• Schofield and Sims mental arithmetic books
• Nrich Maths is a website with maths based activities. These often extend the child’s current mathematical thinking. Ideal for children who love maths but also for making maths more relevant to those who don’t.
• Maths story books are ideal for the younger end of the range. We particularly liked Less than Zero by Stuart Murphy and some of the Sir Cumference series.
• Primary Maths Challenge is an annual contest for children who are keen mathematicians. Home educators can enter. This link has the details http://www.primarymathschallenge.org.uk/pmc-faqs