Thursday, August 20, 2015

Horizons Kindergarten Math Set Review

Alpha Omega Review
We received the Horizons Kindergarten Math Set from Alpha Omega Publications to review. This is a full curriculum for homeschooled Kindergarten children. The set comes with two student workbooks and a teacher's guide. You'll also want to have basic math tools and materials on hand for many of the lessons.

The scope and sequence of this curriculum is: counting 1-100, number recognition, number writing, number value, number after, number between, place value, addition, subtraction, money, time, calendar, number theory, colors, shapes, size, comparison, direction and position, and coordination.

The lessons are teacher-led. The teacher's guide is straight-forward and allows for you to add your own teaching style to fit the learning needs of your child. Inside the teacher's guide you'll find daily lesson plans and answer keys, along with teaching tips and activities. There will also be a materials and supplies list which make it easy to gather materials to use for the lesson. I find the lessons to be multi-sensory friendly, which is helpful when teaching children with different learning styles. I typically lead math lessons by setting up the worksheets with any physical materials needed and verbally go over the lesson and the solution. Then you can either work with the student or let them work independently. We're very hands-on, so problem solving is a group effort and I love watching my kids work together.

One feature that we love about this curriculum is that the workbooks are full of color! You rarely see colored illustrations in a math workbook (or perhaps we have just been buying all the wrong ones). It's the small things that count and since my children have always reacted better to work pages that are colorful, it made a huge difference. Both of my children enjoy math, so while my daughter worked on the problems, I set up similar activities for my son to work on. 

Here are a few examples of the worksheets from the first few lessons. Some pages simply ask you to count the objects, not to write them, but Bean decided to write them anyway.

There are plenty of opportunities to practice verbally counting and practice writing numbers.

Counting specific objects instead of dots on a chart makes it so much easier for the kids to keep track of where they are while counting. They remember where they left off if they pause while counting, and are more confident while counting out loud. They love declaring that there are "five ducks!" or "eight fish!"

Here's a comparison of the student workbook to the teacher's guide. What isn't covered in the student's workbook are the hands-on lessons, which are thoroughly explained in the teacher's guide. The student workbook only covers the written portions of the lessons.

One unexpected resource that we didn't originally intend to use is the box that the curriculum comes in. The box is large enough to fit another set of the books inside and seemed like a bit of a waste of space. So when we opened it up, the books were moved to our math shelf and the box sat next to the indoor recycle bin for a couple days. After using the books for a few days, we realized there were a handful of materials that we always reached for when we started up the math lessons each morning. So I filled up the box and all of our extra materials fit inside! Inside the box is: dry-erase boards and markers, laminated number boards (1-10, 1-20, 1-100, and skip-counting 2, 5, 10, etc.), shape blocks, pattern cards, plastic counters, play money, ruler and measuring tape, clock, math magnets and small magnet board, calendar, compass, and flash cards. We also have a set of dominoes that doesn't fit in the box, but that we use often.

You could absolutely use this curriculum without physical materials, but we really like to follow up worksheets with hands-on activities. Plus, this curriculum is primarily used by my daughter (she does all the written parts), but my son still sits with us and follows along with the lesson. He is technically a year behind, so he doesn't usually use worksheets. But he loves hands-on math. So we set up the same sort of problem for him, but instead of using the worksheet, he uses the physical materials. As a kinesthetic learner, this is how he learns best. My daughter on the other hand favors visual and auditory learning, so she prefers worksheets and spoken lessons.

We loved using Horizons curriculum for math. I look forward to continuing to use their curriculum for this upcoming year! Both of my kids enjoyed using this curriculum. Bean was overjoyed to have a "huge math book!" to use for lessons and is always excited to sit down and start on the next lesson. We would highly recommend Horizons math curriculum to other homeschooling families. We all find the lessons to be engaging and fun!

The Horizons Kindergarten Math Set is available for $71.95.

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