I did a lot of research before I started homeschooling. A large part of that research was learning from parents who had "been there, done that" on the Well Trained Mind Forum. Over and over I saw the same advice when it came to math: pick a curriculum and stick to it. Don't go bouncing around doing a different curriculum every year. Also, math was a subject that you really shouldn't try to teach off the top of your head and that you really need a comprehensive curriculum to teach it for you. For the first year of our homeschooling I stuck to that. And then life happened and the curriculum wasn't working for us and we tried different things for a year.
|Very proud of completing Timez Attack|
For Early Bird we went even further against the common advice this year. My plan for him was to finish Singapore Essentials Kindergarten B and supplement with Life of Fred and Khan Academy.
We never finished the Singapore book. Or a Life of Fred book. And we didn't go back to Khan Academy until it was summer again. The problem was that he was past being able to understand the simple concepts and was bored, but was still doing everything on his fingers. He did not have the same number sense that Builder Boy had gained from Right Start math. So I signed him up for a few months on DreamBox Learning. (I had used this previously with Builder Boy.) Early Bird went through and finished kindergarten math and 1st grade math in four or five months. So it was worth the monthly fee for me. But he still needed review on basic math facts so that maybe he could stop being so dependent on using his fingers for little addition. We borrowed Sum Swamp, an adding board game by Learning Resources, from a friend for that purpose and Early Bird loves it. He is now 72% through with Early Math in Khan Academy (K-2nd grade) but is getting tripped up in a few areas. I'm on the look out for some other free online games that target those concepts.
So, do I recommend going against common advice and hopping around math programs? Not so much. Some kids this might work for, especially those who are naturals at math. But the possibility of gaps is high. I do think you should find the right program for your child and then stick to it; and sometimes it does take a long time to find the right choice for them. If you do do this then I suggest having a curriculum spine like Math Mammoth that you can test against to find the gaps that need addressing. The boys will work through the summer on Khan Academy, since we do school year 'round. But there will be placement tests in the fall before we begin any new math, and while I intend to use Math Mammoth since I bought the whole elementary program, I may need to conceptualize a new way to work through it.