Math on the Level - a unique approach
(Lower Hutt, NZ)
We have been using Math on the Level since February 2009 for our now seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.
The 5-a-days are used to review previously-learned concepts. When a concept is first learned and understood by the child, it is practised daily in the 5-a-days. If the child gets the question right five days in a row, it is moved to the next level of frequency (every 2nd day), and so on. It is important that the child understands the concept before it is put on the 5-a-days. The 5-a-days show quickly if the child is struggling with a concept and needs more teaching or practice in that area.
One of the strengths of Math on the Level is that is customisable to your child's interests and abilities. For example, I often write word problems for my daughter using the names of people that she knows, or about recent events. She has been working for some time on learning her addition/subtraction facts, but I have been able to add other types of maths, like measuring, using money and simple fractions, to her 5-a-days so that she does not get bored with practising addition and subtraction.
You can use any maths curriculum or maths materials you already have with the MOTL system. There are no manipulatives or games that you must buy, but lots of ideas for using real-life or home-made materials and examples.
A disadvantage for an Australian/NZ homeschooling family is that it is an American curriculum, using U.S. money (quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, which we do not have), and other U.S. examples. This is mainly in the Money/Decimal book.
Sometimes I have struggled with writing the 5-a-days, and have left them off for a while and practised maths other ways. When we have gone back to doing the 5-a-days my daughter has been very happy to do them again. She usually gets 5 out of 5, which has helped her maths confidence. I have found that it helps if I set aside a regular time once a week to write the 5-a-days for the coming week.
The Yahoo! group is very friendly and helpful, and Carlita, the writer of the curriculum, posts regularly and is quick to answer questions.
Although this curriculum is quite expensive, it has a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is a big plus when you are buying from overseas and do not have a chance to see it beforehand. Once you have passed this period you are entitled to use the MOTL 5-a-day Excel spreadsheet for record-keeping.