Topics

previous review
next review
Math

Math on the Level
Seven ring-bound volumes

By Carlita Boyles, Illustrated by John Boyles
9461 Vinecrest Road
Windsor, CA 95492
E-mail: mathonthelevel@sbcglobal.net
www.mathonthelevel.com

_______________________________

by Michael Leppert

Very soon in a family’s homeschooling experience – after one or two years, maximum – it becomes apparent that we have the wonderful flexibility to teach our children based on their brain and skill level and not be bound by someone else’s synthetically-imposed grade level.  In fact, the desire to avoid such a non-reality-based teaching format is one of the paramount reasons many families choose to homeschool. We all prefer the autonomy to teach our children according to their own strengths and personalities. For your early-reading 10-year-old, you may teach English at a more advanced level than math, or to your science-precocious 11-year-old, you may offer extensive, heavy science instruction and not as advanced a literature program.

  

Math on the Level is a new, seven-volume math curriculum (from Kindergarten through pre-Algebra), written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers, that will let you achieve the goal of teaching math with instruction aimed at your child’s actual level and not be bound by grade-level thinking.  Math on the Level provides the tools to teach math concepts and skills in practical ways that children understand while giving you complete flexibility to choose when to teach any topic based on each child’s needs.  With this maturation-based approach, children who need more time are not rushed ahead prematurely, and those who can go fast are not held back.

Math on the Level uses a flexible and adaptable approach (that is comparable to and compatible with the unit-study approach) in that lessons are very practical in nature and the teaching instructions are not limited to a specific set of materials. In other words, this is not a boxed curriculum with a fixed scope and sequence.  Instead, the curriculum gives a wealth of clear teaching ideas and practical examples for every topic the child will need to learn before algebra. Although it includes suggestions on how to use other materials (like purchased games or popular manipulative sets), all of the lessons can be done using items that are generally found around the home. 

Another tip-off that this product is written by homeschoolers is that it emphasizes real, family-life applications to present arithmetic principles.  The volume titled “Math Adventures” contains several chapters on ways that normal family activities can be adapted to teach math.  For example, using the ‘Math Adventure: Cooking,’ your pre-K child can be learning  skills like shape identification, counting, and motor skills by stirring, pouring, etc. while your older child is taught identification, addition, or multiplication of fractions (again, while cooking).  The ‘Math Adventure: Using Money,” helps you teach topics from the “Money and Decimals” teaching guide while out shopping or playing store, with activities that reinforce the topics each child is learning.  The “Math Resources” volume addresses a number of more difficult topics, such as teaching the child how to handle word problems.

Each of the four teaching guides starts out with simple, pre-K topics, and progresses logically toward more advanced topics.  For example, the “Geometry & Measurement” volume starts off with lessons in shape identification and cutting/ pasting activities that teach shapes and provide the foundation for the more advanced topics (like computing area and volume) that are covered later on in the same volume.  Using the same volume to teach all of these skill levels is a brilliant approach that provides continuity and “grounding” of the math topic in real life, long before the child knows that is what is happening!  Any child fortunate enough to be taught math in this way will have a much more fruitful experience in the higher math forms and will be able to apply his/her math skills as a grown up.   The grouping together of related topics also helps you teach the same general topic to children of different levels together if you wish. 

The four Teaching Guides (Operations, Money & Decimals, Geometry, and Fractions) each contain practice problems for every topic in the curriculum for use with the 5-A-Day Review system, and they include (for your benefit) the complete solution to the problem – not just the correct answer. This is another significant value of Math on the Level, because by having the steps to the correct solution, the parent can more confidently help children develop the correct techniques to repeatedly solve such a problem.

The program also includes a very unique 5-a-Day review system that provides continual practice and reinforcement of all previously-learned concepts and skills using only five daily practice problems.  This individualized review system gives the student regular, ongoing practice at a pace that is chosen for him or her, initially quite often to solidify the child’s skill with concept and then on a regular basis to stay sharp – all without overwhelming the child with busywork.  With this system, every concept the child has learned is practiced as often as needed but at least once every three weeks throughout the entire program. 

The books are attractive and colorful and will last many years, with care. Each of the seven volumes ranges from 74 pages to 170 pages, and together they provide a complete nine or ten-year math program that can be used to teach all of your children.  The program is available as a complete curriculum or as a starter set.  Considering that it can be used to teach your whole family all the way through pre-algebra, the per-child, per-year price is incredibly inexpensive! 

Available products include the 9’s Down Math Facts, which are volumes of timed math practices that help your child master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of single digit numbers, one fact at a time.  These (reproducible) drill sheets introduce math facts one at a time, starting with the 9’s and working down to give the most practice with the most difficult facts.  Please visit the website, www.mathonthelevel.com to see the covers of these beautiful volumes and for complete information. MjL