BJU Press Math
Product: BJU Press
Levels Used: K, 1, 2 - all 3rd editions
Dates Used: 2005, 2008
Likes: colorful, simple, not a huge amount of work per page, step-by-step teacher instructions, manipulative hands-on instruction before the workbook practice, teacher tool-kit CD comes with teacher's guide.
I started teaching K math with BJU Press, but switched to different math books for 1st grade. After spending 2 years trying different math books and feeling discouraged, I came back to BJU Press.
I am very happy with BJU. The teacher's manual has activities that are great for visual, auditory, and kinestetic learners. The workbook pages are visual, bright, and colorful, and make the material look simple. Although it is pricey, it comes with a lot of support materials (cardstock manipulatives, teacher's manual full of great teaching instructions and activities, a workbook, and a reviews book). As the homeschool teacher, I can decide which of these items I will use to the benefit of my students.
BJU Math does not fit neatly in the "mastery" or "spiral" categories. It focuses on 1 topic for a unit before moving on to another topic in the next unit. For example - Unit 1 might be Addition, and Unit 2 might be Measurement. Unit 2 would also include review of Unit 1, so that prior skills aren't forgotten. BJU builds on previous units - for example, Unit 7 might be Addition again, but with larger numbers. It is a nice mix of mastery and spiral combined.
Dislikes: The biggest complaints about BJU Math is that -
1. Not enough review. Answer: they are coming out with 3rd editions, which has the Reviews book to provide review. The teacher's manual has many activities that provide review, as well. For 2nd edition users, they have other reviews type workbooks that can be bought in addition to the workbook, that you can use as you see fit.
2. BJU is too teacher intensive. Answer: it IS heavy on teacher instruction, however...I find that using some manipulatives with our lesson helps my children to understand. I do not follow every instruction in the teacher's guide; instead, I glance through the lesson, teaching or reviewing only those things that I think are necessary. Some days our lessons require me to sit beside my children, working through it with them. Other times, the lessons are simple enough that I only need to explain it and let them work through it independently without a demonstration from the teacher's manual.