Shortly after the New Year we had started using the new Charlotte Mason Elementary Math. I was pretty excited to use it since many in CM circles were raving about this math program. Not long after using it I wrote this review: A Review Of The Charlotte Mason Math Elementary Math Kit.
Sadly, a few weeks later I had to call it quits. I sold it on a used curriculum swap site and used the money to buy something that worked for us.
Let me explain…
My daughter is a very visual learner. When you verbally explain a lesson to her it takes several times for it to click, maybe more. Provide her a visual demonstration and it is nearly instantaneous comprehension. I am the same way-in fact I think in pictures and I often wonder if she does the same. Math was a struggle for me until I fully understood how I learn. I truly emphasized with my little love when I saw the struggle begin while using this curriculum.
Ok, so I knew she was a visual learner through and through going into this curriculum. However, I didn’t make the connection until several lessons into it that this way of teaching math would be a challenge for her. Even after the struggle began and I made the connection- I thought well maybe this will be good. Maybe she isn’t a visual learner but learning perseverance is a good lesson too.
Then the drudgery and apathetic look towards math began. As my husband so lovingly calls it, “teeth pulling.”
How Math Is Taught
The Charlotte Mason Math is simply a book with word problems in small print. At this point in my daughters education I have to read them to her. This requires a auditory learning style. Now imagine that you are 99% a visual learner and you are being taught by having a math word problem read to you. No equations are set up for you to visually process in order for you to comprehend it. Instead, based off of what you heard (again visual learner) you now have to write out the problem in your math grid notebook.
How did you make it several lessons in before picking up on this?
My oldest came from Kindergarten Level Singapore Math. The first several lessons were basic counting and addition. This was material she has already learned so it was easier for her to write it out in her math notebook. It wasn’t until we started getting into new material that it became apparent that her learning style and this way of teaching would be an issue.
CM Math Is Still Great!
This math curriculum is still a great resource, it just doesn’t work well for a visual learner. At least not mine. Consider testing this approach with your child before you buy. I suggest reading to her/him several Math word problems, provide her/him manipulatives, then have him/her write out the problem and solve it. If this approach works for your child then order it for more detailed and progressive math problems.
I do notice the blessing in this though. I appreciate the close observation I have of my children and the freedom we have in homeschooling. We have the opportunity to work so closely with our children that we can pick up on subtle changes as they occur. On top of it, we can change our curriculum choice mid year and base it off of our child’s learning style.
I’m equally thankful that the math curriculum we switched to is aligned with a Charlotte Mason philosophy. Yet it still has equations set up and worksheets. It worked well for my visual learner and we only have teaching time left out of it. Plus, it was so inexpensive that I was able to purchase 6 grades for nearly the price of one Charlotte Mason Elementary Math.
If your interested in what I switched to keep an eye out for my next article or sign up for my newsletter to receive updates from me!
What do you use for math?