That, my friends, is my least favorite question in the homeschool world. Why is it that when you meet another homeschooler in the real world the first question they ask you is “Which math program do you use?” It reminds me of that other horrible question, “What is your major?”
Nothing can get a homeschooler’s panties in a wad faster than saying you don’t like such and such math program. I don’t know what it is. Why is it such a big deal? Is your kid learning math? Great! Stick with it.
Against my better judgement, I went over to the Well Trained Mind message boards. I had vowed never to return to that horrible place, but I was bored this evening and went to read the high school board. Ugh. There it was. The question that never seems to die. “What do you love/hate about Saxon math?” Are you kidding me? Has this not been beaten to death over and over again? It brings out the best of the board members. Someone says they hate it and why. Someone says they love it and why. Then you get your degree holders in math and what they use and why. Then pages and PAGES of post about Saxon. I honestly don’t know any other curriculum that brings them out of the woodwork except maybe Apologia.
Does it matter? No, really. Does it matter what Suzie Homeschooler in AZ is using? Is your kid learning math? I would bet that if they aren’t using Everyday Math and are doing math on a consistent basis, they will be fine. Everyone learns a little differently. If it works for you, great!
Let’s talk about my favorite, Algebra. The thing is that Algebra is a puzzle. There is a way to solve the puzzle. I am teaching Saxon Algebra 1 at co-op next year. I thought that maybe it would be good for me to read some Algebra books to learn different ways to teach it to the kids. You know what I found? It is all the same. Really. Algebra problems can be introduced in different ways and at different times, but factoring is still factoring, you will always have to solve problems with PEMDA (I love that!), and a ^2 + b^2 = c^2 every single time regardless of the textbook that you use.
I don’t mean to be snarky, ( I lie, maybe a little) but it really annoys me when people are critical of other’s curriculum choices. Homeschool parents tend to be very sensitive, and with the weight of their children’s education resting on their shoulders want to make good curriculum choices. We tend to listen to the “experts”, and home school curriculum writers prey on our insecurities.
Be confident in what you are teaching your children. You ARE doing enough. Don’t switch your math/science/history program because your neighbor down the street likes something else. If your kids are crying, switch, but do it for them not because the newest thing in the catalog looks better. Teach what you can teach. Invest yourself in it.
That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Now to go and follow my own advice.