Monday, August 13, 2012

Math Made Easy - a review

We have reviewed several Math programs in the past that have worked on memorization of math facts. They have been fun, but nothing has "stuck" with Zachary and his addition facts. Neither of my boys are strong in Math, so I remember going through this with Paul. It took until he was probably 9 before he got his addition facts. I am trying to work on Zach's now, but trying not to push too hard.

I really wanted him to have his addition facts down before we moved on to other Math concepts. I decided that this summer we would exclusively work on addition facts. So, it was perfect when I was given the opportunity to review Math Made Easy. We reviewed "Addition: Teaching and Learning Made Easy". This curriculum is for 1st and 2nd graders but could also be used for an advanced Kindergartener or for an older special needs child. It is reasonably priced for $24.95 and you are given permission to photocopy the pages for use within your own family.

The concept of the curriculum is to learn all the addition facts in 6 weeks. The beginning of the book explains that the 0's and 1's are so easy that those are taken out, and then after the child learns the commutative property of addition (ie: 4+2 is the same as 2+4) then there are basically 36 addition facts left to learn. If you break that down in to 6 weeks there are only 6 addition facts to learn each week. "Math Made Easy" intentionally makes the 6 facts for each week random, they do not teach the patterns of addition. For example, the equations for week one are 2+6, 3+9, 6+8, 2+5, 4+4, and 3+3.

The curriculum is one book with worksheets for each day of the week for 6 weeks.

The worksheets vary slightly from week to week, but in general there is a color by number for Monday, a code to figure out on Tuesday, a cut and paste for Wednesday, a simple addition worksheets on Thursday and then a "problem of the week" on Friday. In the back of the book there are perforated flash cards labeled for each week. And a couple of games on card stock to review the facts each week. There are also review exercises at the back of the book to use for each week. The lesson plans at the front of the book give you a general guideline as to how the program works and also encourages you to use whatever manipulatives you have on hand to introduce the facts.

What we like:

Zach really enjoyed the worksheets and they gave him the right mix of variety and consistency. It was a great way for us to review the facts and really get them in his head. Since he has had exposure to the facts they weren't new and therefore it was perfect for him. He has really made a great deal of progress on getting those facts memorized, and enjoyed it at the same time.

What we didn't like:

This should actually be what "I" didn't like because Zach did not complain at all. The games were pretty simple and he was bored with them quickly, but he never complained about it.

Personally we have always used patterns in math to teach addition. For example, we have taught adding 9's by making 10, and adding doubles has always been taught together, so we would work on 2+2, 3+3, 4+4 etc at the same time. This makes sense to me in my very "pattern oriented" brain. This program doesn't teach the patterns at all. It is just random facts. I think that for Zach who finally understands the concept of addition, and has some of these patterns in his head already this program works well for reviewing and concreting those facts. I would not use it if I were just starting to teach addition. It also does not offer a lot of review in the worksheet portion. We reviewed each week with the flashcards and games from the previous week, but the worksheets themselves only offer that weeks equations.

Again, this is the perfect solution for a child who has the concept of addition down, and knows the patterns in addition but needs some extra work on memorizing those facts. It has worked perfectly for Zach, and I am so thankful that it came at exactly the right time for us to use it...isn't God amazing!!!

Math Made Easy also offers the same program for multiplication. Some of our TOS Homeschool Review Crew got to review that program. You can see reviews for both programs by clicking on the banner below.

Disclosure: I received the above product for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog. There was no other compensation given for the review. All opinions are my own, honest opinion.

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