Preparing for the New Year by Taking a Look at Math 6
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It’s January, and the cold has begun to set in – both outdoors and indoors. Some of us struggle with the realities of having our kids underfoot much of the day, and we are already looking towards summer, when the kids will be outside, and we will have a much-needed break from the day to day humdrum of schooling. At my house, we call this time of year “hard-school-home-school” because we deep dive into schooling and try to take as few days off as is humanly possible until April. Sixty days of intense schooling, packing as much as we can into these frigid days.

This is also a time to start planning for next year. I find myself starting to comb the old catalogue to see what is being taught for the next grade, considering what things I need to start preparing for now. In years past, I would decide which courses I would be doing parent-led and which would be supplemented or taught through BJU Press Distance Learning Online. And, if I had decided on a course that will be parent-led, I would order the teacher’s edition now and begin the process of reading it and planning through it.

In that light, let’s look at Math 6. Math 6 is offered as a DLO course, currently taught by the very gentle, soft-spoken Kenneth Matesevac. His structure of 6th grade math class is significantly different than that of the 5th grade class, the most obvious being the fewer scheduled breaks within the video to do work and check before the assignment. Because each child learns math differently, the video may need to be stopped for some students to practice the skills before moving further in the lesson for some students while others simply breeze through the lesson.

The curriculum Math 6, 3rd edition, by BJU Press is excellent, but if your child has not used BJU Press Math previously, you may find there is a learning curve to getting used to how it presents materials. It has built in daily reviews of concepts taught or practiced in an earlier chapter and the chapter sequence of core math topics provides for review of precious topics. There is also a thorough chapter review at the of each chapter and a cumulative review of previous skills as well as standardized test preparation lesson. You, as the teacher/facilitator, can decide which or all the reviews will be done by your student. DLO provides 180 daily lessons. Parent-led has 165 because they combine the test day with the cumulative review lesson. Features in this math program include challenge questions, indicated by a challenge symbol, that present a challenge to the average student or apply a concept in a unique way. Also indicated by the journal symbol are problems that can be entered into a math journal to create a reference tool for the student.

During previous years, our students have been encouraged to work on the worktext pages and show all work, but starting in 6th grade, our students begin the transition to working on separate paper and not writing within the textbook. This is a skill – and for some a difficult transition as our children learn to copy the problems accurately and organize their papers for ease of reading while still attempting to conserve paper. In addition, while BJU Press has used student manipulatives heavily, 6th grade begins that transition out of the manipulatives. If you have previous years’ manipulatives, though, don’t throw them out as I found them handy.

In DLO online, students take their tests and quizzes online, but with the DVDs, the tests and quizzes are provided in the facilitator packet that comes with your shipment. If you choose to teach Math 6 parent-led, be aware that you will need to purchase the test packet and answer keys packet. In addition, even though we use the DLO, I always opt to pay for a copy of the teacher’s edition for an additional fee. It facilitates re-teaching when my child doesn’t get a lesson as well as easier grading as we share a computer, and I can grade the math while she is pursuing another subject. I love that the teacher’s edition has the teacher’s toolkit CD at the back. I have printed out daily review pages, instructional aides and teaching visuals to help reinforce while my child is learning. That option has really helped my learner this year as math is her toughest subject.

I would be remiss in not providing the following caution: whatever math program you decide to use, whether it is BJU Press or another publisher, your child will benefit most by sticking with that publisher for several years. Transitioning back-and-forth trying to find the “perfect” curriculum is fraught with lots of issues- primary being the approach that is taken to introducing, teaching, and reinforcing topics. Allowing your child to utilize one specific approach for three or four years allows your learner to adapt to the style and strengthen their skills. There is no golden goose, nor a golden egg when it comes to a math curriculum.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Kruc - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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