I recently bought Teaching Textbooks Math 6 from a fellow Canuck blogger. It's a program I've been curious about for awhile for a few reasons. The first is that I sometimes find it really hard to explain concepts, even simple ones, to Catherine in a way she understands. TT has a software component with lectures and worked problems so that seemed like it might be a good solution. Second, Catherine loves software programs. Third, TT keeps track of progress for the software portion making for easy record keeping when you're a lazy homeschool mom.
Last week I installed the program (which requires registering the product with TT, something that can only be done on two computers apparently before it will refuse to install again and you need to have further discussions with the TT people) and Catherine eagerly checked it out. Demos can be tried on the TT homepage but the basic routine is that the child chooses a lesson, listens to a lecture, tries some practice problems then goes on to complete an exercise on the computer consisting of about 20 questions. The results are logged into the printable "grade book" for later review. Nifty. There's also a full text/workbook but after the first few lessons Catherine didn't bother with it. She was getting between 90 and 100% right on each lesson so why bother when she's mastered the lesson?
There was a reason Catherine was doing so well though. Although Math 6 is meant for a grade 6 level the initial review lessons were on things like place value, addition and subtraction; stuff she's had a firm grip on for several years. Looking at the table of contents I didn't notice anything that would be particularly challenging for Catherine or any reasonably skilled grade 4 or 5 math student. At this point it will simply be review and practice for Catherine and at the speed she's going I don't expect it will take more then a couple of months to complete.
Another problem I had with the program was the very reason I was interested in it in the first place - the explanations in the lectures. At one point Catherine was given a quiz with a question on long addition that went something like, "Carrying is when part of the sum is carried to the next column: true or false?" Catherine called me over, not happy with the question at all. She knew that according to her lecture, "true" was probably the right response but she also knew, from her Singapore work, that the whole concept of carrying, especially with that definition, wasn't a good description of what actually goes on in long addition. In fact, it covers up the truth of what happens in terms of place value. I think I'd rather muddle through explanations on my own thank you very much.
Regardless of my complaints, Catherine enjoys it. She wants to work through it and I can't see it taking up too much time so we'll stick with it for now. I'll probably add in Singapore or Key to Decimals again fairly soon though for real work. TT Math 6, with Catherine, basically amounts to easy fun.