My second grade son has been enjoying his math lately. He's using The Critical Thinking Company's Mathematical Reasoning Level C. Yes, I did say he's enjoying it!
Mathematical Reasoning Level C has colorful pages and math lessons that require the student to think logically and mathematically. It's not just a list of problems to solve, and it's not just memorizing math patterns. It seeks to help children understand the reasoning behind the math.
For instance, in the lesson titled "Candy Store Change", the children don't just add their money or subtract it. They start by adding up how much money they have in coins. Then they have to read the chart to figure out how much their candy items will cost, sometimes adding costs together. Then they subtract the cost of the items from the money they have. Last, they draw a line to connect to the picture of coins that equals the amount of change they should get ... once again adding up the coins pictured.
In one lesson, they have recognized coins and their values, added money, read a chart, added the costs of items, and subtracted money. And they only had 9 problems to do on those two pages!
Mathematical Reasoning does not overwhelm the student with too many problems. We've used math programs before that just had TOO many problems. I had to cross out 1/3 - 1/2 of the problems so my children wouldn't be overwhelmed and feel defeated before they even began. Mathematical Reasoning's shorter lessons also help to hold his attention for the entire lesson. He is learning to pay attention rather than to dawdle and become distracted. Charlotte Mason would be pleased.
Mathematical Reasoning uses word problems to engage the student's mind in solving the math problems. There are some pages of simple addition and subtraction problems, but they are not the predominant type of lesson. The focus of the book is on problem-solving and developing thinking skills that will be necessary in upper level math. When basic math drill pages are used, they are linked to a puzzle. The correct answers help complete the dot-to-dot, which provides a reward for doing the math drill, and a self-checking benefit.
Some students may need more review and practice than Mathematical Reasoning provides. However, practice worksheets for basic math are readily available (inexpensively or even free) on the internet. Additional worksheets could be added occasionally for extra math drill, if needed.
My second grade son is thriving on this math style. He enjoys the shorter lessons for obvious reasons; but, he also enjoys the problem-solving involved in the math lessons. He has been more engaged in his math lesson with Mathematical Reasoning than he has been with any other math program we've used.
Because it is discussion based, he is also enjoying having my attention and interaction during his math lessons. He isn't given a sheet, told what to do, and left to do it alone day after day. Because I am involved, I am able to grade his work as we go, rather than having to grade it at the end of the day (or week).
Mathematical Reasoning is a complete curriculum, and it meets the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Don't let the colorful pages and short lessons fool you. This isn't a cheap workbook ... it's a complete curriculum. The answer key is included at the back for the parents to correct the lessons, as well as a glossary of mathematical terms. You can view samples of the lesson pages HERE.
Mathematical Reasoning Level C can be bought for $32.99 at The Critical Thinking Co. website. The book is reproducible within your home and family, so you can use it with more than one student. We approached it as a consumable workbook, and I wish we hadn't. Many of the lessons could have been completed orally, or the answers recorded on notebook paper. Very few lesson would have needed to be photocopied. Not many companies are granting a reproducible license with their curriculum anymore. It's a blessing that The Critical Thinking Co. still does.
FOUR thumbs up ... two from my son, and two from me! Schoolwork had become a real struggle with him, and it is a joy to see him enjoying his math again.
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Trusting in Him,