Homeschooling Information

Hands-on math! Our program, combined with the resources of this website, are particularly well suited to the needs of the homeschooling parent or the parent who just wants to augment the math education their child is receiving in the public schools. Complete information is provided to allow you to augment (not replace!) standard 5th and 6th grade math curricula.

Age-appropriate instruction

Our program introduces topics that most 5th and 6th graders do not see until middle or high school, yet they are presented in a format easily understood by them. This is not just middle school math taught early. For example, take a look at how we teach equation solving. This is not the old "balance the equation" technique, but a more easily understandable method that 5th graders easily comprehend. As another example, consider how we teach permutations, that is, the number of way things in a group can be arranged. Consider this problem:

How many ways can a president and vice-president be selected out of a club of 8 people?
This, too, is taught in an age-appropriate manner which never introduces the concept of a factorial! The solution is as follows:

How many ways to choose a president? (8)
After you choose the president, how many people are available to be vice-presidents? (7)
So the answer is 8 X 7 = 56.

The high school text book solution to this problem is:

Given that N = number of people and C = number being chosen:
P = N!/(N-C)! = 8!/6! =
(8 X 7 X 6 X 5 X 4 X 3 X 2 X 1)/ (6 X 5 X 4 X 3 X 2 X 1) =
40320/720 = 56

Correct, but much tougher to understand! Also, the first technique gives the student some insight into what is going on, where the second technique merely presents an equation that produces correct results but without a clear relationship to the problem. The second approach encourages students to take equations on faith and to "turn the crank" to get solutions. To use this second method, the student must also memorize the equation. The first technique involves no memorization, just simple logic!

Teamwork skills

One of the best features of our program is the training that students get in working together in teams. Many schools hold weekly team practices, where students in teams of 3 or 4 work problems together. They also get a chance to compete in teams at the Washington State Math Olympiad, held (usually) in early May. Homeschooled children are welcome at this event.

Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) training

These materials are geared to the WASL math goals as expressed by the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements(EALRs) and are designed to prepare students for success in the math portion of the WASL. So, if you want your student to be prepared for public or private high school, or you just want to insure that he/she has these skills, these lessons are a good way to start.

Reference materials

Also note the book store on the home page. This resource gives you access to materials that have been found helpful by other educators and parents. Also our links to online resources provide links to other valuable resources.

A final note to homeschooling parents

You may take a look at our lesson plans and decide to accelerate them, doing more than 1 lesson per week because they look simplistic to you, but try to resist the urge. These lesson plans have evolved over a period of 11 years and are geared to insuring student success. The first few lessons are (by design) not very difficult. This is to get students to 'buy in' and into the practice of doing the homework. Remember, we are not trying to set speed records, we are trying to instill in the student a life-long interest in math. We have seen spectacular failures by over-eager parents trying to cram this information into their children in abbreviated periods of time! (Starting the program after Christmas? No problem! We'll just do 2 lessons a week!) Bad idea.

Good Luck with your Program!