May 25, 2007

Miquon Math Review

We began the year with Miquon Blue book for the start of second grade math. Rhiannon really enjoyed the orange and red book last year but this year was a different story. We were moving along just fine and suddenly she started to hate math. Now math has truthfully never been her favorite subject even though she does fine in it. Soon it became a fight and tears and all the things homeschool is not supposed to be. So we switched programs and moved over to Singapore math in the middle of the first semester - she did about 3/4 of the blue book before abandoning it.

Strengths of Miquon: It introduces multiple skills in logical ways. Multiplication and Division do not seem so hard because they are logical flows out of other concepts. Fractions are especially easy to understand with the cuisennaire rods. The amount of work on each concept is just right, not too few problems not too much busy work. Lessons are cyclical so you will come back quickly to other topics you already covered. The connections between math concepts is very easily understood with this program.

Weaknesses of Miquon: The program introduces older and more difficult math concepts pretty early on. The final breaking straw for us when we she was faced with multiplying and dividing fractions in second grade. While we could have just skipped that section because it was too advanced and continued with the other elements in the program we chose not to. She felt discouraged and bad about her abilities when faced with this math book. The book is also less visually stimulating then some others. When asked to describe what she did not like about the program Rhiannon will respond with "Everything. It was boring and too hard!" So there you have it.

The other weakness that moved us away from this math program is the lack of word problems. There are none until you get until the very end of third grade. After using Singapore which is heavy with word problems I really see the strength and importance of word problems as we are most often faced with real life math in a word problem format even when we work the answers out in equation format.

Overall Opinion: I still like Miquon math and have started Ciaran using it with the orange book in kindergarten this past year. I think the program is strong and logical and a good foundation for math.

However, it is not right for Rhiannon who needs success in between her challenges. She has a bit more of a perfectionist tendency and Miquon I do not feel is good for this kind of child as it pushes them farther and farther until they reach their point or past their point and then moves back to an easier concept.

I love the rods and the way Miquon introduces concepts and is not afraid to present more challenging things in a simplified and natural way. For the right child (maybe a gifted math child or one who loves challenges and being pushed) this math program can make the challenges fun. It will be interesting to see how Ciaran approaches this when he gets to this level in the series. I recommend the red and orange book with no hesitation at all. While the blue book was not a good fit for us I believe in the program and given the right child I think this a good advanced math second grade book - though you would likely need to supplement with word problems if you value those in math education at this level.

1 comment:

  1. I love these first-hand, practical reviews of these programs -- the math and the handwriting. It really helps to hear what a real-life mom thinks about them. If you haven't submitted these posts to Homeschool Reviews", you definitely should!