BJU Press's math program for kindergarten through sixth grade was written for use in classrooms, but it is easy for homeschooling parents to teach. The program includes biblical worldview references that are more apparent beginning with Math 2.
The program is designed to be taught from the teacher's editions using manipulatives, activities, and interactive discussion. The fourth editions of these courses have a stronger emphasis on teaching children to explain their answers and the mathematical reasoning they use for problem solving.
The curriculum teaches both conceptual understanding and mastery of the math facts. It does an excellent job of presenting concepts in a variety of ways to reach different learning styles and students with differing abilities. In grades one through three, it helps students master the math facts with daily practice. Fourth graders practice math facts in the Math 4: Reviews book.
Teacher's editions provide complete instructions for teaching the program. They walk the teacher through the lesson step by step with scripts for what to say and do. Teacher's editions include reduced reproductions of student worktext pages with overprinted answers.
The fourth editions of these courses introduce relatively new math terms and methods that might be unfamiliar to some teachers. The ten frame has become a common visual aid used in math programs for a number of years. These courses also use two newer terms that are sometimes used in reference to the ten frame but also in other instances: composing and decomposing. The Oxford Owl presents a simple explanation: "Composing numbers refers to joining groups or a set of numbers to make another number, while decomposing numbers means to break numbers down to their component parts."
An example from Lesson 13 in Math 2 will give you an idea of what this looks like in the lesson plan. It say, "Distribute 10 counters to each student. Instruct the students to separate their counters into two parts (sets). Choose students to tell how they decomposed their 10 counters. Write for display the addition fact combinations for decomposing 10." (This is followed by a list of those addition facts.)
As in this example, the strategy and language might be unfamiliar to the teacher, but the instructions are clear enough that it is easy to see what is to be done.
The need for teacher presentation even for grades four through six distinguishes these courses from many others available to home educators. The student worktext is used for practice and reinforcement. Since much learning occurs through activity and discussion, worktext learning is a lesser part of each lesson; you cannot just give the student the worktext without first teaching the lesson.
The worktexts are colorful and appealingly illustrated. They include cumulative review and quizzes at the end of each chapter. Student worktexts are glue-bound, so they are not very durable. You can easily remove pages and give them to children to complete as needed.
Courses for grades one through three each have a Reviews workbook with two pages per day of additional practice on concepts taught in that day's lesson, concepts and skills from prior lessons, and math facts. Math 4 has a similar book, although it is titled Activities.
An inexpensive Student Maniplulatives Packet adds elements for hands-on learning. (Most manipulatives are printed on heavy card stock. This keeps the cost down, but you might prefer plastic manipulatives for some of them.) Booklets of tests are sold separately as are their corresponding answer key booklets.
A Teacher's Toolkit for each course is provided either on CD-ROM (at the back of the teacher's edition) or online. Each Teacher's Toolkit has the answer key for the student worktext and the review or activities book (when there is one for the course) plus printable pages for instructional aids, student enrichment, extended practice, and fact review activities. Some levels include calculator activities or reproducibles for manipulatives not in the Student Manipulatives Packets. (Note that BJU Press also sells classroom-designed Teacher's Visual Packets for each level, but these are available as smaller, printable pages in the Teacher's Toolkits.)
In the teacher's edition, an introductory page for each chapter outlines lesson objectives for each of the lessons in the chapter, and it also has lists of all other resources needed for the lesson, including those from the Teacher's Toolkit.
Subject Kits for each level include the teacher's edition, the student worktext, student manipulatives packet, review books (for grades one through four), tests, and the tests answer key. If you choose to buy items individually and want to save money, the publisher offers suggestions for substitute and make-it-yourself manipulatives either in the teacher's edition or online.
Math K5 (fourth edition)
BJU Press's K5 math program is designed to build a foundation for understanding math concepts. At the beginning end, it teaches number and quantity recognition, how to write numbers, and counting. It goes on to teach numbers up through 100, beginning addition and subtraction, an introduction to fractional parts (e.g., one-half), geometric shapes, time, the calendar, money, and measurement.
Manipulatives play an important role in introducing new concepts at this level. The same set of manipulatives is used for both the kindergarten and first-grade courses. It contains geometric shapes, fraction pieces, play money, a hundred chart, number cards, mathematical operations sign cards, dot pattern cards, rulers, ten bars, ten frames, and place value pieces.
Children will also complete worksheets from their worktext that require them to write numbers, circle items, draw connecting lines, and color. Frequent review is included
Stories at the beginning of each chapter feature Farmer Brown, his wife, and Cheddar the mouse. These characters and the farm theme are used frequently throughout the course.
The subject kit includes the teacher's edition, the student worktext, and the student manipulative packet. There are no tests for kindergarten.
Math 1 (fourth edition)
The first-grade course teaches such concepts as place value, addition, subtraction, problem-solving, time, money, simple geometry, and an introduction to fractions. The fourth edition has added a full chapter on data that includes work with tally charts, picture graphs, and bar graphs. The final chapter reviews most concepts taught in the course.
Each chapter begins with a story featuring Digit the clown and Cecilia the seal. Concepts are taught using a number of different techniques to ensure that students understand them.
The course concludes with an entire chapter of review.
The same manipulative kit is used for both kindergarten and first grade. See the list of items in the kit under Math K5.
Math 2 (fourth edition)
The adventures of Matt O'Malley and his sidekick Paddy the beaver are featured in stories that begin each chapter. Biblical world view concepts begin to be more prominent in this course—in the stories and elsewhere in the lessons.
Math 2 continues teaching place value, addition, and subtraction (up through four-digit numbers), while also introducing multiplication (single-digit multipliers) and division, two-step word problems, problem solving using information from graphs and charts, money, and measurement.
This course still uses manipulatives but less often than in previous levels. The manipulative kit includes a place value kit, a ten frame, number cards, math signs, rulers, number squares, thermometers, shapes, characters, play money, fractions, and fact cards.
The final chapter is entirely for review of concepts taught throughout the course.
Math 3 (fourth edition)
Math 3 features stories about Hailey and her pet squirrel Horatio. The course covers multiplication up through 10 x 9 and division with one-digit divisor (teaching remainders briefly). Students should master their multiplication and division facts this year.
Math 3 also does quite a bit of work with fractions and decimals. Lots of word problems help develop application skills. This course continues to incorporate the ten frame, number lines, a hundred chart, a place value chart, rectangular arrays for multiplication, and other visual aids to teach concepts in a variety of ways.
Students will use manipulatives, although to a lesser extent than in the earliest levels of this program. The manipulatives kit for this level includes counters, geometric shapes, number cards, a fraction kit, play money, a place value kit, a clock, rulers, and thermometers.
The final chapter is dedicated to review.
Math 4 (fourth edition)
Students continue to use manipulatives with this course as they study multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, geometry, time, measurement, graphs, and metric measurements. The final chapter on pre-algebra introduces and positive and negative numbers and the coordinate graph with ordered pairs.
Stories follow the adventures of Captain Bailey and his search for a priceless silver medallion in stories at the beginning of each chapter.
The manipulative kit for Math 4 includes geometric shapes, rulers, a clock, a thermometer, number cards, a fraction kit, a play money kit, a place value kit and mat, measurement flashcards, and multiplication/division cards. (This course has very few changes from the third edition.)
Math 5 (third edition)
Math 5 reviews basic operations, expands work with fractions and decimals then includes work on number concepts, (including positive and negative numbers), metric measurement, geometry (surface area and volume), ratios, proportions, percents, and working with data and graphs. The Student Manipulative Packet for grades 4 - 6 (for third edition courses) is required.
An aviation theme is used throughout the text. The Teacher's Toolkit includes "Christian Worldview Shaping" instructions and activity pages; these activities relate to the chapter theme while bring a Christian worldview to bear on real-life situations.
Math 6 (third edition)
Math 6 covers fractions, decimals, percent, ratio, probability, measurement, plane geometry, and statistics. Students continue to use manipulatives from the Student Manipulative Packet for grades 4 - 6 (for third edition courses). Introductory stories for each unit reflect the theme "Courage in Crisis." The Teacher's Toolkit includes "Christian Worldview Shaping" as for fifth grade.