Some Thoughts on Home Schooling Math and Languages

Several folks have asked me about what curricula we use for our math and language subjects in our homeschooling. We’ve been using Singapore, and I’ve liked it a lot, especially because of its use of word problems, its emphasis on mental math and critical thinking skills, and its lack of mind-numbing repetition (I’ve never wanted to use Saxon because I felt like it was so tedious in its repetition). I’ve also appreciated how fast it moves. But Singapore hasn’t been as helpful for all my children, especially those who need more repetition, or need to move more slowly.

So on recommendation from my friend John Kwasny, we’ve switched to Teaching Textbooks. I really like it. My children like that they get to do it on the computer, they like the oral lecture, and they like the immediate accountability as it checks each answer. I like the latter as well, especially for my children who need more immediate encouragement and feedback. I also really like that there is a better amount of repetition than Singapore, and that they help you out with hints on the problems. It also enables them to do their lessons more on their own, rather than me having to teach them all individually. Now I can do more follow up and focus on other things. TT is a little on the simple side, and is behind a grade level from Singapore. So my kids are one year ahead nominally of where they were with Singapore.

Regarding languages, we’ve been doing Greek and Latin over the years. For Latin we’ve used Prima Latina, Latina Christiana, and First Form – all from Memoria Press. Good pacing, good coverage of the material, and very user friendly for the kids. This year we’re doing Greek and Computer Programming – Greek for Daniel, Computer Programming for all. There are three resources I recommend for Greek. The first is Greek Alphabet Code Cracker. It’s a great fun intro to the Greek alphabet, using a detective story to teach them how to write the Greek letters. The second is Greek for Children. It is a wonderful basic grammar, and has very good videos accompanying. We used it when Daniel was in 4th grade. This year (Daniel is in 6th grade), I’m jumping into Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek. It’s the book I used in seminary, but it’s so user friendly and slowly paced that I think Daniel can do it. Even if a parent doesn’t know Greek, I think they can use this book to teach their children (and even learn it themselves!). Check out http://www.teknia.com.

We’re also doing a little computer programming this year. I know Greek, but I don’t know any computer language (not do I know Latin). But with the apps and websites available today a lack of knowledge shouldn’t stop anyone. We’re using Kodable and Scratch Jr, both iPad apps that the kids love and are great introductions to things like conditional statements, loops, and functions/variables, as well as how programming works in general. Check them out on the App Store. Scratch is what older kids should use. And there are a lot of other websites out there as well. Sonlight has a computer programming curriculum as well – if you haven’t seem the video on their site talking about why learning to code is important, definitely check it out.

Hope some of this helps – if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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