Three ways to give the best math instruction to your children
Math on the Level was designed to help you make the most of the home learning environment, which is why it is so different from typical classroom approaches. It is based on three foundations that help you adapt to the uniqueness of each child and make the most of individualized, real-life instruction.
Not every child is ready to learn the same concept at the same age. Therefore, rather than prescribing a required order in which to teach concepts, Math on the Level includes every concept you need to teach your child but lets you choose the order and pace at which to teach them. The four Teaching Guides show multiple ways to teach every concept but do not assign an age or a grade-level to any concept. You can teach in whatever order works best for each child and at a pace that adapts to each child's maturation.
For example, if your child struggles to understand subtraction with regrouping (borrowing), you can put it aside and move to a geometry concept like coordinate planes or perimeter, neither of which involves subtraction. There is so much math to teach, and children shouldn't have to experience stress and end up hating math just because they are "stuck" on a concept.
Math on the Level helps you keep children motivated and interested in learning, because even when something is 'hard" to understand, they can still learn other concepts. On the other hand, a child who understands a concept easily shouldn't have to wade through pages and pages of repetitive information and busywork. If he grasps the concept quickly, Math on the Level allows him to move on. After you show your child the new concept, as soon as he understands and can do it independently, the concept is put on his Review Chart for ongoing practice, and you can move on to teach another concept. If one of those "teaching moments" occurs in life when you can explain a math concept, you don't need to make your child re-learn it later in a textbook. Instead, once learned, it is put on a Review Chart and will then be practiced on a consistent basis to ensure it isn't forgotten. Children who excel in math love this curriculum because it lets them move quickly and not get bogged down in unnecessary busywork.
As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to teach math in the context of daily life. Math is used all around us. Therefore, instead of using a textbook, we can use cooking as an opportunity to teach fraction concepts. When we go shopping, we can teach our chidlren to estimate total price, learn weights, and understand sales tax. In the car our children can learn and use the math operations involved with calculating the car's gas mileage. When we play games together, our children can develop math vocabulary and practice their math and logic skills.
Math on the Level helps you find and use these math teaching moments in normal daily activities. We suggests that several days per week you math teaching time be done in the context of normal daily life. Whereas the classroom approach uses work problems to imitate life experiences, with Math on the Level your children learn math from real-life problems. In addition to helping math time become more efficient This practical approach makes learning math both fun and meaningful.
Most math programs give the child many problems at one sitting in order to drill on the newly learned math concept. That short term drill does help pass a near-term test, but it is not effective for long-term retention. Math on the Level replaces short-term drill with a review-over-time method that uses just five practice problems per day. Practice is stretched out over time, producing far better long-term retention.
After you have taught a new concept and the child is able to consistently complete a problem independently, the concept is put on the Review Chart (either a paper form or on the 5-A-Day auto-scheduling spreadsheet). A new concept is scheduled for daily review, so one of the 5-A-Day problems will give practice with the most recently learned concept. Then, the concept is gradually moved to less frequent review: to every 2, 3, 4, or 5 days, then to every 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Each day, the Review chart schedules five problems, each of which covers a different concept the child already knows, which are copied from the Teaching Guides into the child's 5-A-Day notebook. These five daily problems are his only independent work, and they systematically review every concept he has learned. If a concept is forgotten, you find up within a very short time and can re-teach and/or change it to more frequent review.
The curriculum includes Review Chart forms to plan and schedule each child's 5-a-Day reviews. This can also be done using the Math on the Level spreadsheet, which also can automatically schedule the reviews for you. The Teaching guides have problems you can copy onto each 5-A-Day paper. And now there is an optional 5-A-Day Online service which will automatically generate the 5-A-Day papers for you.
Because the 5-A-Day system reviews everything at an individualized, ongoing basis, children to not develop gaps in their math. Math on the Level is designed to make the most of the rich learning environment that home learning provides and help each child succeed in learning math, regardless of the child's maturation or learning style.