As the year is drawing to a close, I wanted to reflect on some of the resources that we used this year and to jot down my thoughts on each of them. I thought I’d start with our maths curriculum since it has been the most consistently used resource for our first year.
This year we have worked through Targeting Maths 1. We started it after realising that preschool maths books were way too easy and boring for our son. He was almost 4 at the time. I chose Targeting Maths simply because it was in a local bookshop and I could flick through the various options to choose which level I thought best suited him. It was a good fit.
Being so young, I was trying to focus more on the daily habit of maths work rather than the content learned. Targeting Maths was good for this because the pages are bright and colourful, and fairly quick to complete. Most of the concepts he either knew or could learn quickly. There were a few that were too difficult for him and, at this point, we just moved on. It is fairly repetitive (maybe this is just the nature of year 1 maths) and, in contrast to some other year 1 curriculums that I have since looked at, fairly simple.
I have mixed feelings about the way maths curriculums move between topics with such frequency. Oftentimes a new topic was only covered for one or two pages. On one hand, it is good to keep reviewing previously learned skills, and certainly it was encouraging for him to keep returning to and improving on his new skills. On the other hand, it is easy to skim over a topic without fully understanding it. This year, as I said, we just kept going without stressing mastery, but in future years I would prefer to spend a little more time solidifying new skills before moving on.
For this year, Targeting Maths was a good fit. It was simple and colourful. My son did indeed get into the habit of doing a page or two of maths during tablework. He learnt new skills and become more confident and competent with his maths knowledge and thinking. If you want an easy to use, tick-a-box curriculum that builds a foundational mathematical ability then this would be perfect.
Next year, instead of moving him up to Targeting Maths 2 we are going to redo first grade maths using a more comprehensive and thorough curriculum. We are also hoping that this will dovetail nicely with the Beast Academy curriculum which begins at 2nd grade. I have heard wonderful things about Beast Academy but think our son needs another year (or two) before he will be ready for it. I really enjoy maths (don’t hate me!) and want my boys to truly understand and appreciate the beauty of the world of numbers and logic. Beast Academy seems to focus on the how and why of maths, not just the basic skills needed to pass the subject. Targeting Maths has been great for this first year, but I want something deeper for the future. Next year, then, we will be using Pr1me Mathematics 1, which is an Australian curriculum based upon the Singapore method. We will also continue to play lots of games and learn through life in general.