Sunday, June 03, 2007

The second first year of Miquon Math

I think I said somewhere else that although Crayons has done a lot of the pages in the first Miquon Math workbook this year, I'm not sure that she's at the same level of real math understanding as Ponytails was on finishing the Orange book. For one thing, she's a bit younger; Ponytails didn't do the Orange and Red books (the recommended first grade sequence) until her real Grade One year; Crayons won't officially be in Grade One until the fall. And since her kindergarten this year has been kind of hit-or-miss (we did SOMETHING most days, but it wasn't always planned), I wasn't as careful to reinforce what she was doing with some of the brilliant ideas from the Miquon First Grade Diary. For those of you not familiar with Miquon Math, this is a teacher's support book written by Lore Rasmussen (the creator of the curriculum) and Robert Hightower, but it's often called "optional" by the homeschool vendors, so a lot of people never see it, and have to fight their way through the longer and more confusing Lab Sheet Annotations. (The Annotations could be considered the Where's Waldo of teacher's manuals.)

I did some informal evaluation with Crayons this week and (although I pretty much knew this already) we figured out that she does know how to do single-digit addition pretty well in her head and on paper, and can often figure out subtraction too, although the symbols mix her up sometimes; she filled in missing numbers verbally in several sequences (counting in the 800s threw her, though); and she is still really learning what place value is (that's more of a second grade thing anyway). She still has trouble sometimes writing numerals the right way around.

So what we're going to do for the first two terms of Real Grade One is work through the First Grade Diary, which isn't based on the Orange Book at all but skips around through several of the workbooks, and has a lot more of what they called "chalkboard work" in it as well as very creative Cuisenaire Rod activities. The FGD wasn't written to be prescriptive; right in the forward it points out that every child or group of children will be different and have different needs, so you really can't copy exactly what Lore and Robert did with their class on September 19th, 1960 and every day thereafter. (That's what I love about Miquon Math--it doesn't have a do exactly this today, this tomorrow, and this the next day lesson approach. Some people hate that, but it has always worked better for us than having things laid out too strictly.) But it is possible to take quite a bit of what they did and move through several of the activities each week, using a few of the workbook pages as backup material; I know this works, because I did it with Ponytails four years ago. We'll take the grasshoppers Gus and Happy down their number line racetrack (that's classic Miquon stuff--Gus and Happy are on the covers of all the workbooks), play "Lumberyard" (I have more wood in my pile of rods than you do), and find all the "tricky names for 10." We'll probably get through most of the Red Book along the way too.

And I am looking forward to doing all that for the last time...sniff.


Anonymous said...

Hi there...found your blog googling miquon math - were having an adult math discussion here (me, my mom & brother). New math, and other things. Anyway, I know you don't know me from Job, but I can say something about Miquon. I homeschooled my kids for 7 years. I didn't do a lick of math until 3rd grade at which time I would begin Miquon's first grade books. Let me tell you, a year of "1st grade" Miquon was enough (together with memorizing the multiplication tables afgterward) was enough to hoist them squarely into 5th grade math the following year. I think Miquon is the best math program ever conceived and I don't understand why it isn't used in schools. My kids who have gone on to public school have gotten A's in math and I credit Miquon for that! (Just for the record, I don't work for Key Curriculum Press!! LOL)

Aran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aran said...

Just wanted to note that Lore Rasmussen (my grandmother) passed away last month at age 88. You can read her obituary here.
It's good to see that her work continues to have a positive impact on generations of young learners.