Was pointed in the direction of a pretty cool math curriculum yesterday that may be a good fit for Max. We'll see. I researched it a little more today and like what I see so far. Currently we're using a mix of Key Curriculum Press workbooks for fractions, Life of Fred for fun, and some Math Mammoth for clarity, along with some clever Nerf math and other games. Max likes Life of Fred the best, at least the story (the story is beyond fabulous - I've read ahead several chapters just to find out what happens), but he doesn't much care for doing the practice problems at the end of each chapter. He'd rather gloss right over those puppies.
Gradually I've learned that he benefits best from a mastery approach, versus a spiral approach. Sometimes I think we underestimate just how much we have to practice something to really have a grasp, at least a working grasp that we can carry with us to the next concept, right? And sometimes getting a grasp on a new concept isn't all that straight forward because the leap from where you are currently to where you need to be is much too large.
Enter a program called JUMP Math. I read an article in the New York Times about it. Here's the link to the article:
Kind of unique because this program is primarily used in the UK and in Canada; I haven't taken the time to correlate their standards to ours, and if you've been hanging around my blog long enough, you probably already know that I don't pay that much attention to standards, anyway. Manmade gobbledy gook in some cases.
What's really different about this program is that it breaks down concepts in math into micro steps; tiny little incremental jumps (ahhh - the link to the curriculum's name!) that allows a child to experience success and build confidence in doing math. It also puts a different spin on math problems and helps a child to "see" what is asked for in the problem.
Jump Math, at least in Canada and the UK, has been successful in doing away with the bell-shaped curve in classrooms. Teachers who have implemented this special curriculum have been able to bring ALL of their students up to the 90+ percentile. No child is left in the dust to fend for him or herself! Kids that were labeled as slow learners have gone on to compete in math competitions and have done great! That's what strikes me about JUMP - it believes in the child until the child is able to believe in him or herself. Cool!
The program's originator, John Mighton, believes that all children can acquire math skills all the way up through the university level and flourish while they are at it. Here is what the website quotes: