Sunday, May 13, 2012

We like JUMP Math!

Here’s a quick video of John Mighton, the founder of JUMP Math, talking about the ideas behind the program.  As we get closer and closer to finishing the second book in the Grade 2 curriculum, I am astonished at how, slowly but surely, the math skills DO get covered.

Now, in terms of homeschool math curricula, this program might not cut it because it’s not BEYOND grade level, something many homeschoolers push for, sometimes without realizing it.  This may be where JUMP has gotten its “remedial” reputation in the homeschool world – that and its origins in math tutoring. 

But I would say, having now reviewed the material in the rest of the Grade 2 book, that it is definitely AT a grade two level, teaching math in a way that’s very effective not only for kids who have difficulty but for anyone looking for a curriculum that is a) easy to teach, b) incremental and c) kid-friendly, with very simple graphics and uncluttered pages.

The reason I was looking was that I had a chance to peek at another homeschooler’s curriculum bookshelf over the weekend we were away, and the Saxon math books they had actually looked very interesting.  So, of course, as usually happens when I become aware of another curriculum, I looked to see what JUMP math was doing and worried that it might not be comparable.  I came away most definitely reassured.

This is maybe not a program for you if you want your kids to be way ahead of the game, math-wise.  But if you want them to love math, and you want to have a reasonably good time teaching and learning it with them, JUMP is definitely a solid place to start.


  1. I had been using math mammoth, but wanted to try Jump Math after your initial positive review and the NYT article. My son is 6, if he was in school it would be Kindergarten or Pre-1A and we are currently in the middle of 1.1. I find the amount of teacher input that they suggest in the teacher's manual to be unmanageable for me. I am not sure if it is because the work, for the most part, has come easily to him thus far, but I haven't felt the need to cover more than what is in the student workbook. In fact, i haven't even opened up the teacher's manual (that took me forever to print out) Do you play all the games, implement the BLM, the online resources? I feel like all i would get done is math if that was how we covered the contents. Wondering how you use this text, because I know you cover a lot of other materials as well also. Guess i am feeling discouraged about this text, but wondering if I should switch again :(

  2. Sorry I didn't see this comment sooner - Google/Blogger has messed up the comments feature royally.
    If I were you, I would read the teacher's manual with an eye to varied *approaches* and ways of introducing material, ie when to present manipulatives etc., rather than as a script. An average or bright child will not NEED more input from the teacher except, perhaps at the enrichment end, and there are suggestions throughout for enrichment and creating "bonuses." To be honest, we are finishing up 2.2 and I have only peeked at the manuals occasionally. I'm very grateful that I didn't bother printing them. We have used some of the BLMs, but only for manipulatives we don't have, like the blocks, tangrams, etc. They are not the most well-organized part of the program.
    What we do, ALL we do, is: I pull out two pages - never more, never less, but that's just my thing... if there is *completely* new material, I explain it on the whiteboard, with rods, or in some other concrete way. Then, we look at the sheets. 99% of the time, there's an example done for you on every page. I have Naomi read the steps at the top of the page and check them off if she wants. Read through the example; show how they followed the steps to get that answer. Then, I do the first REAL problem with her. By that point, she's usually screaming (quietly) for me to go away so she can finish the page. If she gets it right, I will leave her alone to finish the page. If she's having trouble with the concept, we do the next question together. If that one is still tough, I back off: find a manipulative or another way to explain it before continuing. This is one point (in addition to prep ahead of time) at which the teacher's manual might come in handy! When all the steps seem to come together easily on the whiteboard or manipulatives or whatever, then we go back onto the page and work together until she's more sure of herself. And then we move on.
    There have only been a handful of days on which we have been unable to complete two pages, front and back, using this strategy.
    I personally like the program to be minimally scripted. The simple directions at the top of the page are USUALLY sufficient, and I don't just mean at the Grade 1-2 level; I have a copy of the Grade 8 books, too, so I know this carries all the way through the program.
    The authors have worked hard to reduce the amount of language in the book, and also to "scaffold" the program so it all pretty much progresses logically.
    Key to the program is the idea that you must not move on until one technique is mastered. Also, this program is all about techniques, which has been slightly controversial, as some consider these merely "tricks" that prevent kids from learning "deeper" math.
    I personally don't believe that's true - "deeper" kids will discover the "deeper" math behind the tricks, and even kids who aren't deeply into math can master the skills needed to move on at the appropriate grade level.
    I should probably cut-n-paste this into a whole 'nother post, and I may, but in the meantime, I hope it helps! Feel free to ask questions.
    Also, feel free to say, "to heck with this," and go with another program. All I can say is that this works for my daughter, it works for me, and I have already re-purchased 1.1 to use with GZ when he's ready (still a ways to go, however!).


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