Friday, January 27, 2012

Teaching Textbooks and Xtra Math

I hate math...I try not to say so in front of my girls, but I am not very strong in any of my basic math facts.  I love calculators, and I can do the basic math I need to do...if I have to!
My first experience with teaching math to Eva was Mathematics K for Young Catholics from Seton Home Study.  My difficulty was that it didn't have enough instruction for ME to be able to teach.  It assumed that I knew how to explain basic math facts. When I went eclectic in first grade, we moved to Math-U-See Alpha, which was a better fit.  Steve would teach the basics to my daughter, and I'd just have to supervise.  The problem I had was getting her to memorize her basic math facts.  The Math-U-See blocks were great for learning concepts, but MUS didn't have the drill that Eva needed. 

Well, now she is in second grade, and we are on our third math program - Teaching Textbooks 3.  Eva is very good at math concepts, so when she passed the placement test for the 3rd grade level program (and the lowest level that Teaching Textbooks has at the moment) I went ahead and outsourced math to my computer. (I purchased the CD-ROM only, and Eva uses a dry erase board to work out problems.) Teaching Textbooks has more math fact practice than our previous books.  Eva really loves the "bonus rounds" where she can get extra points for answering math facts, but she really seems to need a lot of drill on her basic math facts.

We have used flashcards, which are frustrating for me (I'm not a particularly patient mom), we have Math Gear: Fast Facts in Addition and Subtraction, we have Usborne Big Book of Sticker Math (that we do when we are in town waiting on Charlotte who attends preschool for speech therapy), and while they are all useful, none were improving Eva's math fact knowledge or speed very quickly.  I started to look around for a computer game to help with math drill, but I didn't find anything that looked like what I needed.  Then, I saw a suggestion for xtraMath, a free online math fact drill program.

XtraMath is all that I was hoping for - it's not very flashy, which I thought might be a bummer to Eva, but she LOVES it (as much as anyone loves math drill). She particularly likes when she gets to do "race the teacher";  Eva's only been at it for a little over a week, but her speed is improving already.

While I am still a fan of Math-U-See, and am using the primer level with Charlotte, I have to admit that every time Eva gets on the computer to do Teaching Textbooks and/or xtraMath, I am one happy homeschool mom!

No comments: