One of the challenges of homeschooling is finding a program that works for each child. Years ago, we used to plan things out like this: buy a program for the oldest, save it for the middle child and then pass it on down to the youngest. It was a good plan. A money saving plan! Something where I could count on having books on the shelf ready-to-go and milk every penny’s worth! However, that plan crashed and burned because, *gasp*, all three of my children have different learning styles and preferences. What worked for one, simply did not work AT ALL for the other. So, I have a lot of different programs. Bad for the pocket book, but good for when my youngest hits a wall and needs a new approach. It’s like a lovely buffet of homeschool curricula to choose from. A veritable catalog ensconced in pine shelves that I can pick from at the first sign of a mental obstruction.
However, even with a plethora of materials to choose from, sometimes, even still, NOTHING works. Like lately. Otter doesn’t understand fractions. Teaching Textbooks didn’t work. Math-U-See didn’t work. Singapore didn’t work. Life of Fred – nope, didn’t work. Websites – worked for a while, but very inconvenient. I tore through math curriculum, workbooks, worksheets, pdfs, online lessons, videos… trying to find the perfect program that didn’t rely on Otter memorizing rules. I needed something that took a visual approach since he’s not ready for the cognitive leap to the abstract. Yes, some of the programs I tried started out with a visual approach. However, they dropped it too quickly and left Otter confused. He needs lots and lots of practice with visual reminders of what he is doing and why. He also, for some goofy reason, seems to get it when fractions are presented as circles much better than when they are presented as bars. (????) Maybe imaginary cookies are more motivating? Oh wait, yesterday he was calling them “Star Wars shields”…
Finally, I found an answer: Math Mammoth Fractions. For just $9.50, I was able to instantly download 2 full size workbooks in PDF form with exactly the kinds of lessons Otter needs. The workbooks contain clear, self directed lessons with visual models of pie(s) all throughout the pages. There are also printable manipulatives at the ends of the books for kids who may need a more hands-on component.
Now Otter is successfully going through his fraction lessons without feeling frustrated. All is well in the land of homeschool math again!
You can check out more Math Mammoth workbooks and even sign up to download 300 free worksheets. There are all sorts of sample pages to look at, as well as videos and other helps.