My experience has been you love math, or you hate math. At least this is how we say it. In reality I think it is more a matter of, "I understand mathematical concepts with ease," or "Numbers make my head hurt." Confession: I fall into the latter category! Since I know this is true I've approached mathematics in our homeschool with trepedation and (with all honesty) a healthy dose of fear. What if I mess my kids up? What if they are mathematical geniuses? I have a feeling I'm not alone. I've met countless other homeschooling mamas who feel completely inadequate when it comes to teaching math.
It took us three tries to find a solid mathematics program which actually worked for everyone. I'm starting to feel pressure as we creep up towards middle school (my oldest will be a 5th grader next year!). Our curriculum is elementary only and I haven't felt good about any pre-algebra program I've come across. So far it has all felt dry and...I don't know...too much like math? Rose has always disliked math and I knew we needed to find something to inspire her as we move on to higher levels.
I was so intrigued when I heard Master Books was publishing a 2-year math curriculum. I love everything I get my hands on from this company because I know it is solidly written on a biblical foundation. What in the world was this math curriculum going to look like? In a word: Beautiful. Principles of Mathematics by Katherine Loop is the most beautifully written math book I have ever come across, and believe me, I've checked out a lot!
What I love...
1. Short, concise lessons written in a conversational style
2. Short practice assignments
(and most importantly)
3. Everything is centered around the Bible.
You might wonder how a math curriculum can be centered around the Bible? I mean I always had the mindset that God is Creator of all, including math, but I never really saw God in the numbers. They were just there as part of creation. I now view math in such a different way just after reading the first chapter of this curriculum.
What I read when I opened this book set (a text book and a workbook) has completely transformed my perspective. Math is more than just numbers. It's something we use everyday. It's a way to express what we see in creation around us. It is something beautiful and as mysterious as it may seem, it is logical, certain, and steady, just like our Heavenly Father.
Even though I am thoroughly enjoying this, I also wanted to have a field-test of sorts within the correct age group. Since my own kids are not quite ready for the level of math presented here, I recruited a friend of ours who will be in 7th grade next year.
We are quite close to Faith's family who is a part of our church and she was happy to comply and worked on the first few lessons while she was hanging out with us one day. Faith attends a traditional public school so I was anxious to hear her thoughts about this very different way to learn. She is also quite an advanced student.
When I asked Faith her thoughts about this book she said she really liked how it was written. It isn't your traditional way of presenting a math concept followed by multiple practice problems. She appreciated how it not only explained a concept in an easy way to follow, but also that it related it to real life in a reasonable way rather than contrived word problems.
The other thing she said she really liked was how it expressed that math is not neutral but instead a gift from God which allows us to understand His creation. This theme runs throughout the curriculum and shown through practical examples and practice.
This is a two-part curriculum which can be completed in a year or two years, whichever is best for the students. The second part is scheduled to be published this fall and I can't wait! I appreciate there is both a full year and a semester schedule for finishing the book provided. This would be a good fit for pre-algebra. Some kids could do it in a year, others should take more time to process and let the ideas and concepts really sink into their minds. I'm in no hurry to push my girls through math and we'll take things as they come.
Disclaimer: I received this curriculum in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.