Disclaimer: We received Shiller’s Pre-K through 3rd grade kit as compensation for an honest and through review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.
Math seems to be a struggle for most homeschooling moms. I know it was for me. Even if we managed to pass math in school, teaching it seems to be a whole different ballgame.
When we started homeschooling over 23 years ago (we have graduated 5 so far), there wasn’t much available, so we took what we had and did the best we could with it. That mainly involved workbooks and using everyday items to teach math concepts as we worked alongside each other. It wasn’t a bad thing, but there is so much more available to us now!
The flip side is we DO have so many choices. It can be difficult to decide what is best for our kids.
I think the logical place to start is to find out what ALL kids need at their particular developmental stage. It’s a pretty well known fact that at the younger ages, especially up through at least 3rd grade, children have a HIGH need to do lots of hands on activities. Multi sensory activities allow our kids to process more fully. When they actually EXPERIENCE it, they retain so much more. This, in turn, lays a SOLID foundation for higher learning.
There are many math manipulative programs out there, but very few that use the highly successful Montessori approach. I vaguely remember hearing about Montessori back in the day, but this approach has actually been around for a long time (well over 100 years). If I had to make a choice now for my own young children, I would choose this method.
Here is a brief post on the differences between Montessori and a more traditional approach:
Montessori engages all four learning styles: Visual, tactile, auditory and kinesthetic. That’s what I call NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!
I had the privilege of receiving and reviewing Kit One from Shiller Math. This kit is used for ages 4-8 (Pre-K through 3rd grade). When I opened the box I couldn’t believe how much was in there! I was able to unbox this with our grandson, Nate. We made a short video documenting his response to the materials as we unpacked them. He was having SO much fun and was completely engaged. That alone was worth its weight in gold!
The quality of the materials was superior and could be used for several children, so rather than having to rebuy curriculum for each child, you can reuse these materials. Add that to the fact that the kit covers 4-5 years of math, it’s truly a budget friendly investment! It is also created to use with more than one chid at at time which is huge for homeschooling moms! Shiller also offers a free lifetime replacement of the consumable part of the lessons and if you already have the Montessori materials, there is a download option for the rest of what you need offered at a fraction of the cost!
It is so user friendly as there is no set up required and all lessons are scripted. True confessions? I’ve never been a homeschooling mom that does “lesson plans”. However, I am a mom who loves to engage my kids in learning while still moving forward. I also love the confidence that comes with knowing our bases are being covered because my math program is doing that.
A parent guide is included and is well worth the time to read! I found that it was actually not just applicable to math, but had GREAT tips for homeschooling in general!
- Personal help for your individual situation via email
- Fun math activities for kids
- Parent feedback and Q and A
- Tips on using ShillerMath
- Fun facts
Worried about gaps in your kids’ math? Shiller’s leading diagnostic testing allows parents to actually find out exactly where the holes are in their children’s understanding and then lets them know exactly which lessons to re visit!
Lastly, we all know that many kids learn well by using music. I pretty much refused to buy anything that was available when my older kids were young. EVERY SINGLE ONE was cheesy and about drove me through the roof! That being said, when I heard that Shiller used songs as part of their program, I HAD to listen before I would recommend this to you. Ron Brown is the musician and when Larry Shiller calls him “master at composing and performing math songs for kids”, he is not kidding! Every song was different and catchy and I could immediately envision kids dancing and singing and learning while moms still got to keep their sanity! It was like a Christmas miracle! In fact, I made my kids listen just to be sure I wasn’t crazy, but they totally agreed that these songs are light years better than our experience so long ago!
There is much more I’d love to talk about, but you’ve got the nuts and bolts. I should probably add that our grandson will be doing Shiller Math and I can hardly wait! This is coming from a mom who is NOT a math person! That’s the other great thing: parents teaching their kids math using Shiller will likely end up with a much better grasp of math as well!
Click on any of the “Shiller” links in the blog to check out their product line and enter “MOMS5OFF” for a 5% discount
For those of you who love LOTS of information, you can read this review of Shiller Math by Cathy Duffy, a well known curriculum consultant for 25 years! READ HERE)