How does this curriculum adapt to my teaching style?
Math on the Level is compatible with a wide range of teaching approaches. Here is a brief description of several popular teaching styles and a description of how Math on the Level can adapt to them.
In a Charlotte Mason approach, the child is to be nurtured and guided through study of nature, art, and good literature. Young children should be given plenty of time to play and create and experience the world around them. Math on the Level allows formal math learning to be delayed, which is recommended in Charlotte Mason’s approach, while still providing opportunities for real-life learning. With Math on the Level, short, high quality lessons can be provided that encourage a child’s love of learning.
For students in a Classical Education homeschool, the goal is to sharpen the mind and learn to think, reason, and analyze. Math on the Level is well suited to the trivium approach, as it allows the parent to present information consistent with the child’s stage of development. In the grammar stage, formal math can be delayed while the child can focus on learning math facts and doing math through real-life experiences. In the logic stage, when formal math is introduced, the child can move quickly through the concepts instead of wading through pages of problems and unnecessary explanations. The foundation built with Math on the Level provides the knowledge needed in the rhetoric stage to continue with higher math skills.
The Eclectic Educator takes a little of this and a little of that and mixes the different philosophies of education to meet the needs of her family. Since Math on the Level can be adapted to any of the teaching styles, it can be successfully used in an eclectic homeschool, even allowing for modification if the teaching approach changes from year to year.
(An excellent review of Math on the Level can be found at EclecticHomeschoolOnline.org.)
With Montessori learning, there is an emphasis on learning through real life in an orderly, uncluttered, enriched environment. Education should be directed by the child’s interests and skills and desires to instill a life-long love of learning in the child. Using Math on the Level allows parents to teach the math skills that fit the child’s interests. It is a perfect fit in an environment designed to let each child learn at his or her own pace through daily activities.
In the Moore Formula, students are to balance manual work with study, having equal parts of each, and also spend daily home or community service time. Formal schooling is best delayed until age 8 or so. With Math on the Level, ideas are provided that allow students to practice real-life math before formal schooling is begun. Also, once formal math instruction begins, it is easy for a child to move quickly through the concepts that need to be learned, fostering the child’s interest and curiosity by continuing to incorporate math in daily activities.
This educational philosophy is based on the premise every child has unique strengths and weaknesses, and that it is better to teach a child through his or her strengths than through areas of weakness. Math on the Level does not prescribe one “best” way of teaching, but allows parents to teach in the way that each child learns best. Its flexible approach to learning fits in perfectly with the Multiple Intelligences philosophy of teaching.
Ruth Beechick encourages natural learning in the context of daily life, without dependence on textbooks. Using Math on the Level provides a framework and guide so that parents can use her philosophies while still having the resources needed to insure a solid math foundation.
A Unit Study approach is based on the premise that learning does not occur in isolated boxes, but is interwoven between subject areas, so learning is more effective if it is based on the study of a particular topic. Typically unit studies cover language arts, history, science, art, drama, music, and so on, but frequently suggest that math be taught separately. With Math on the Level, however, math can be integrated into the unit study so that students can see the relationship of math to the other subject areas. Math on the Level even includes a chapter in the Math Adventures book which gives specific information on how to incorporate math into a unit study.
Unschooling can mean very different things to different people, but in general, students are allowed to follow their interests and curiosity as motivators for learning. This approach is based on the philosophy that children learn best when they have a desire to learn, so the most effective way to encourage learning is to provide an environment which fosters the child’s desire to learn. Many unschoolers resign themselves to using textbooks for math, but with Math on the Level, a child can learn even math while following his or her passions, since every concept that is needed before algebra is explained in the Teaching Guides. This gives complete flexibility on the order of teaching concepts so that they can be taught when it fits with the current area of study.
The Waldorf Educational approach emphasizes educating the whole child, body, mind and spirit, and the early years of education focus on art, creativity and imagination with an emphasis on drama, music, arts and literature. Textbooks, computers and television/video learning are discouraged in favor of learning that is hands-on. Using Math on the Level allows math learning to occur without textbooks, which is consistent with Waldorf philosophy. The ability to teach math through nature study, gardening, cooking, or any other subject area, makes Math on the Level uniquely suited to be used with a Waldorf approach to home education.
With traditional classroom education, children are grouped according to age and taught using one teaching approach and at one pace, set by the author. The textbook is written to facilitate group instruction in a classroom, and real-life teaching methods are seldom used. Some authors use a "spiral" scope-and-sequence while others use a linear "mastery" approach. However, we feel strongly that you are best equipped to know when your child is ready to learn a math concept, and we encourage you to modify expectations and adapt your own "scope-and-sequence" to your child's readiness to learn.
In some situations, homeschool parents feel compelled to conform to external, classroom methods.
- Some states require homeschool parents to cover specific math concepts by certain grades and turn in "standardized" test results.
- A child may be temporarily removed from a classroom and homeschooled only for a short time. In these cases, the parent may wish to keep pace with what the classroom is teaching.
- Some parents are more comfortable with a highly structured approach.
With Math on the Level, you can use any sequence you feel is best for your child, including one you obtain from your state or school. You still benefit from its real-life teaching methods and individualized review-over-time, and you also can readily locate and fill any gaps in your child's understanding. Even if you prefer a program consisting of workbooks and videos, you may still find Math on the Level to be an excellent teaching or tutoring resource, since it shows you how to teach any concept up to Algebra 1. But watch out -- once you get to know Math on the Level, you may just leave your other one-size-fits-all program behind!