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Making Math Meaningful Review by Teri Lucas

David Quine
Cornerstone Curriculum
2006 Flat Creek Place
Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 235-5149

Making Math Meaningful is a well-written, easy to use, manipulative based math curriculum written by a homeschooling father specifically for homeschooling children. Mr. Quine has homeschooled since 1980, writing from a background in curriculum design and instruction. He has extensively studied the intellectual development of children, gleaning much from the work of Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He is a proponent of the Charlotte Mason style of education. Two of Mr. Quine's most well known works are Let Us Highly Resolve and Building a Biblical World View.

Making Math Meaningful was designed to teach your child to reason, to understand math concepts, and to think mathematically. Its purpose is not only to enable the child to "do" math, but, additionally, to guide him through the "whys" of math. Your child is instructed to think through the process of finding solutions, rather than merely parroting back information of which he has no understanding. With the use of simple manipulatives, your child is taught to understand the concept BEFORE they are taught to perform the associated skill. Because the foundations of higher learning are built in the primary grades/levels, the parent is asked to work closely with the child at these levels. In the higher levels, Making Math Meaningful is student directed.

I received for review both the Parent/Teacher Guides and Student Workbooks of Levels I and III of Making Math Meaningful. I also received the Principles from Patterns/Algebra I student directed workbook. In all three manuals (the Algebra being totally self contained and student directed), there is a thorough explanation of the theory behind Making Math Meaningful. In addition, each edition includes a suggested teaching schedule. What you will find very different about this math program is its suggestion to teach math two to three days per week for one to one and a half hours per day as opposed to daily drill. Mr. Quine's reasoning behind this method is that it will allow ample time for understanding to occur, thus eliminating the memorization of "facts" without comprehension.

Making Math Meaningful Levels I and III ($40 each/includes parent and student manuals)

At the beginning of each book, you will find a materials list by chapter. A manipulatives kit may be purchased separately for a cost of $15. Other manipulatives which may be used are simple household items. This is followed by a nicely detailed, but brief, explanation of the objectives found in your particular level. This can be especially useful for those who need to write out objectives for submission to the school board as we do in Pennsylvania. Again, this supercedes each chapter. The table of contents not only lists the parent guide page number, but also the corresponding student workbook page. Units are broken into "Activities" to be completed in 36 weeks with the last week for review. Each activity thoroughly and clearly breaks down every step in teaching the lesson, so that even if math was your worst subject in school, you will most likely find it the easiest to teach using this program! There is no separate answer key to purchase, as these are included at the end of each activity in the teaching manual.

Level I - begin with Level I if your child reads and writes the numbers 0-20. In Level I, your child learns the concepts of equal to/not equal to, greater than/less than, completing/writing simple equations, solving for unknowns in simple equations, creating equalities with mathematical sentences, and solving simple addition/subtraction equations.

Level III - begin with Level III if your child writes and solves word/computational problems using borrowing and carrying with numbers 0-99. Level III opens with an exploration of place value. From there it moves into a review of addition/subtracting and regrouping. Multiplication/Division, Common Fractions, and Investigating Problems (an oral/word/fact gathering computation training - we used to call them story problems) round out the program.

Principles from Patterns/Algebra I ($45)

Principles from Patterns/Algebra I opens with an explanation of exponents and the ordering of operations in equations. This truly is a self-teaching program. The steps are logical and easy to follow. The print is easy to read. The examples are clear. There are four units comprised of 10 chapters in total. Chapter three explores the seven fundamental principles of algebra in depth giving the student a concrete foundation on which to build his higher math training. Chapter six covers polynomials and Chapter seven the Quadratic Formula. Chapters nine and 10 cover Rational and Radical Equations. Since this text is student directed, the answers are found at the back of the text.

Mr. Quine definitely makes math easy. After all, when you have gained understanding, then and only then, are you confident to move forward in your learning. Making Math Meaningful is great for every child. The fast learner will grasp concepts even faster and move through the program quickly and almost effortlessly. The slow or delayed learner will have the time to explore concepts well. He will be learning kinesthetically, auditorally, and visually. All learning types will benefit from increased confidence in their reasoning skills. I would highly recommend this program.

The Cornerstone Curriculum Project received top Readers Choice Awards from Practical Home Schooling in 1999, 2001, and 2002! Making Math Meaningful was voted first place as a write in for the year 1999! Mr. Quine's newest work is Starting Points -Where Our Thinking Begins, a one-year course for teaching a Biblical worldview. Please take a look at their website today. I think that you will be glad you did

-- Product Review by: Teri Lucas, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine