Good Enough Homeschool Podcast S1 Ep 13 and 14

Here we are back in 2021. We’re starting strong out of the gate with two episodes talking with our favorite Math guru- Lu Allen.

Lu Allen is an educator and homeschooling parent living on D’Harawal land in Australia. She currently teaches history, mythology, literature, languages, and mathematics to small groups of students through her business Epic Education Illawarra. Lu is interested in Ethics of Care in education, and in teaching children with learning exceptionalities including but not limited to autism, ADHD, and giftedness. www.epiceducationillawarra.com facebook.com/epiceducationillawarra

Show Notes: Aristotle’s Laws of Thought: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_thought#Three_traditional_laws:_identity,_non-contradiction,_excluded_middle
Mandelbrot Set: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set

Courtney’s math curricula recommendations:

  • RightStart — Montessori-based, lots of manipulatives (you do absolutely need their kit), very hands-on, expensive, rigorous, scripted (good for busy parents). The review is built into games, parent-intensive. My personal favorite for kindergarten. Suitable for children with learning disabilities.
  • Singapore Math Essentials — just what it reads, the essential bits of math. Easy to use. Singapore Math is justifiably regarded as a high-quality math program. 
  • Singapore Math Primary — Singapore Math is best-in-class for math curricula. However, it is parent-intensive, expensive, and has lots of moving parts (2 textbooks per year, 2 workbooks per year, 2 necessary home instructor’s guides). Manipulatives are required and must be purchased separately or scavenged from around the house. Very little interleaved, interval spaced review. Not suitable for children with a math learning disability. Renowned word problems available in yet another book. (tip: use the grade below, not the current grade)
  • Singapore Math Dimensions 7 & 8 Algebra I. Singapore Math is best-in-class for math curricula. However, it is parent-intensive, expensive, and has lots of moving parts (2 textbooks per year, 2 workbooks per year, 2 teaching guides, 2 solutions manuals). Very little interleaved, interval spaced review. Not suitable for children with a math learning disability. At this level, mostly suitable for parents who are themselves math teachers or very confident in explaining rigorous mathematics.
  • Saxon K-3 — one of the favorites among homeschoolers for decades. Many engineers come out of the Saxon math curricula. Scripted, mostly aloud, intensive interleaved, interval spaced, varied retrieval practice. Parent intensive, but short lessons (15-20 min). Required manipulatives kit sold separately. Often available inexpensively, used. Suitable for children with learning disabilities.
  • Saxon 5/4 and up one of the favorites among homeschoolers for decades. Many engineers come out of the Saxon math curricula. Written to the student. No instructor guide available.  Intensive interleaved, interval spaced, varied retrieval practice. Often available inexpensively, used. Suitable for children with learning disabilities who can read well or whose parent will read to them.
  • Miquon Math — very different. Based around Cuisenaire rods, it’s all hands-on, no to very little reading. K-2 only. Required teacher’s books sold separately. Very conceptual, good for later transition to Singapore or Beast Academy. Suitably primarily for parents who themselves are math teachers or early childhood specialists.
  • Math Mammoth – grades 1- 7 written to the student (a fluent reader could probably do this without much support), very high quality, easy to use, excessive practice, inexpensive, no manipulatives, very conceptual, not much review. Comes with fillable PDFs, so a student could use an iPad or similar to do the work (no need to print). 
  • Beast Academy — Grades 2- 5 Designed by math competition academics. Highly conceptual, typically much more difficult than one would expect. Comic book style (children will either love it or hate it). Expensive, with four workbooks and four textbooks per grade level. Some levels available online. Feeds directly into the Art of Problem Solving curricula.
  • Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra and up Designed by math competition academics. Highly conceptual, typically much more difficult than one would expect. Includes access to online practice and videos. Available as an online class through AoPS and other online boutique schools.
  • Teaching Textbooks, To be honest, this is not a particular favorite of mine. However, it does allow the student to work independently, and at the middle school level, which can reduce conflict between student and parent. All a parent would need to do is check and make sure the work has been done. This is a streaming service that covers the traditional topics, with a digital textbook. Suitable for slower math students.

Courtney Ostaff (she/her), author of The Teaching Online Handbook, has been teaching online and offline since 1999. Her second master’s degree is in Secondary Education, with certifications in mathematics, science, and social studies, and a special education certification in teaching the visually impaired. Currently, she homeschools her own children and teaches online at the secondary level, ages 8 to 18. CourtneyOstaff.Com

AJ Campbell, PhD, (they/them) has worked in education since the 1980s and has been actively involved in the classical homeschooling movement for over 15 years. AJ is the author of The Latin-Centered Curriculum, Living Memory, and I Speak Latin. A former homeschooling parent, classroom teacher, and classical school administrator, AJ now offers secular curriculum and private online tutoring through Quidnam Press & Tutorials at Quidnampress.com

Jenn Naughton, (she/her) is a five-time homeschooler and lifelong bookworm who champions the power of reading for children of all ages. She is the creative behind The Bookish Society which introduces both great new books and new people who share a literature love. Our round table sessions bring bookworms of all ages together in a safe and welcoming atmosphere to bond as readers.

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