Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Math ... Advice Needed!

Image from homeschool-rewards.com
I feel like every year - or at least every other year - I face the same question: what program should I use for math?  Specifically this year, I'm considering algebra programs for my soon-to-be 8th-grade daughter.  Last spring, I struggled with pre-algebra versus 7th-grade math.  I ended up going with a 7th-grade math program. Why?  Two reasons:  (1) all my research led me to the conclusion that there is very little difference between pre-algebra and 7th-grade math; and (2) I already owned Oak Meadow Grade 7 math.  Now looking forward, I'm struggling again.  Here's the situation:

  • My daughter is currently using OM7 Math.  I've only graded her tests and reviews.  She is receiving a B- (83%).  Most of her mistakes are "sloppy errors" - I feel that if she weren't rushing to be finished with math (her least favorite subject) she'd easily have a B+/A- because she understands the concepts.  Overall, I've been happy with OM7.  I have nothing else with which to compare this level of math, but I'd say the style was a good fit.
  • I own OM8 Math.  I don't know for certain, but from the description I'm fairly sure this isn't either pre-algebra or algebra... what is it? Maybe it is an excellent program. I just can't tell. I can tell it's the same format we used this year, so I know what we'd be getting into and I know my DD liked the format.
  • In the past, we've used Teaching Textbooks, which my kids all enjoyed.  I've talked to some friends that used it this year with pre-algebra and algebra.  They are happy for the most part.  However, I'm not 100% sure this will be the right program for my DD12.  She fought me tooth-and-nail when she used TT for 6th grade math.
  • Last year I bookmarked Thinkwell.  This year I read up on it, checked out the reviews, tried the sample lessons.  It looks really good!  However, no one I know IRL has used this.  Not that that means the program isn't solid - I didn't know anyone that used either MBtP or OM and those are great programs.  But I'd like to get a better feel for the program before signing up. 
  • My DD does not love math.  She doesn't hate it, but I wouldn't say she's "math minded" or anything close.  She needs clear explanations.  She needs to have sufficient practice, but not be inundated with pages of worksheets (a la Saxon).   
I guess this leaves me with the following:
Oak Meadow Grade 8 vs. Teaching Textbooks (algebra) vs. Thinkwell (algebra)
Anyone out there have any advice or ideas? Anyone? :)  


  1. Hey QB,
    Sorry I cannot give you something more particular IRT Thinkwell, but my non-mathy daughter has (almost) (well not quite) enjoyed Math Mammoth. Have you looked into it at all? As a complete curric. it goes to grade 6, but algebra and "real life math" are great, would be appropriate for grades 7-9.

    What I like about it as the teacher is that it is an open-and-go program with the lesson succinctly spelled out on the page. There are frequent reviews so the info. is reinforced. As the kids get older there are more real-life examples of things, but what I find really interesting is the idea that my third grader is getting exposure to algebra (the author Maria has think-boxes at the bottoms of pages with algebra-lite puzzles), so that might help with your younger girls too. The program is inexpensive, she has scads of advice and FREE worksheets, and the website is really helpful with videos and tips for we teachers. Downsides, you have to print things out, and it is not as "easy" as TT.

    You helped *me* so much with OM that I felt the need to reciprocate!

    Algebra, pre-algebra: http://www.mathmammoth.com/worksheets/grade_7.php

    Real-life math:

    good luck!

    1. Thank you so much! I will check out the links!!