Shiller Math - Success!
Product: Shiller Math Kit 1
Levels Used: Kit 1 - Grades K-3
Dates Used: March 2009 - May 2011
Likes: Well-rounded, incremental, concept-based math program that uses the Montessori method to give children a solid foundation of mathematical thinking.
Dislikes: 1) Supplements are needed to reinforce math facts. 2) Topics can seem scattered - there is very little linear learning.
Shiller Math has opened up the whole world of math for my two sons. They are learning so many things that might be considered above their grade level, including Roman numerals and four-digit addition and subtraction. Because of the emphasis on concepts, they are genuinely understanding why these operations work.
My children also enjoy the lessons. We do something different every day and there is a lot of hands-on manipulative-based learning. The books are written as a script and the instructor is expected to follow word-for-word, which is helpful for a parent like me who struggles to explain things in a way the students understand.
My linear brain sometimes has trouble with the way the text jumps from one topic to another and back again. I feel sometimes like we are partially relearning lessons we have touched on before. The results have been good, but it did feel like an experiment at first. I would have been more comfortable if the topics were presented at least in "chunks" rather than "crumbs".
Additionally, there is a need for supplemental materials to cement math "facts" in their heads. I found my children falling into bad habits like using their fingers for every operation, so I added a few addition and subtraction drills. There are free resources listed on the Shiller Math website for just this purpose, but it would have been nice if there were a bit more included in the text.
Overall, Shiller Math was a success in our house. I believe it gave my children the right foundation for higher math and logical thinking. There was very little teacher-preparation involved and it was enjoyable for everyone.
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