Review Crew ~ Touchmath

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Maths would have to be one of those wonderful subjects where it just makes my heart beat a little faster.  I was always the student happy to complete complex maths problems over her lunch hour (you can read geek here, but it was really so I could see Dave on the weekends :).  Seeing 4 classes of maths in a row didn't phase me at all. It just meant for a fun day.  Fast forward a few years ( I'm not saying how many, but it's getting to be rather a few :)  and I now get the honour of passing on this love to my children.  Thankfully maths hasn't been too much of an issue for most of them, so when I was asked to review the  First Grade Homeschool units from Touchmath I was delighted.  The main reason I joined this review crew is so I would become more familiar with the curriculum choices out there & I love seeing what different options there are especially for maths.   The best thing about the timing of the Touchmath program is that it arrived right at the start of our school year, so the twins were able to start right at the start of first grade which was an added blessing because they will be able to progress through as it is structured.

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Touchmath is an award winning,  interactive maths program designed for the early learning years.  It has programs written for Pre-K through to 2nd grade.  It focuses on these early stages as it provides a unique way of teaching numeracy.  Touchmath uses touchpoints which correspond to the number they represent & aid the child in developing the ability to perceive what that number actually means. It essentially programs the brain to understand what that number's actual function is within mathematics.  Touchmath combines pictures, symbols & concrete learning to assist the child in fully grasping the mathematical concept which will aid them throughout their future mathematics studies.  This is a highly researched method of teaching these skills which produces surprising results.  Touchmath is also highly regarded amongst special needs families.
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We were provided with:
*  The complete first grade homeschool units download ( $59.95 per unit.  Each unit is able to be purchased separately or as a single purchase of $199.95),
*  First grade units 1-4 flipcards ($19 for each set ~ 3 sets per unit),

Whilst these are all wonderful tools in using the program, the download units are able to be used independently.  

The Touchmaths First Grade Homeschool downloadable units contain the implementation guide which provides the sequence of skills,  an overview of each unit & the skills learnt within it, the module descriptions and general information about the program & it's usage.  They also contain instructional strategies which you can use to teach that particular unit.  These include full instruction for teaching each page which is wonderful for the busy homeschooling parent! The downloadable units also contains the student activity sheets which can be printed out, student assessments, answer keys & an easy method of progress monitoring.  I noticed that this can be used for multiple students, which I am thankful for having more than one child using this program this year.    These units provide the base for this mathematics program & it is so very easy to use once you understand how it all works.  

We were able to start touchmaths at the beginning of the first grade homeschool program. It commenced with learning numbers up to 120.  In Australia the children have to know from 1-20 in their kindergarten year, so my boys raced through those pages, but when we came to above 20, it really took them a while to understand the concepts.  I found the touchnumerals indespensible while teaching these.  The boys would sit on the floor & we would work with the numerals showing the patterns of numbers until finally it clicked with each child.  (I find tactile learning really helps my boys with concepts & I can see these manipulatives being useful throughout the whole program.)  After that they rushed through the future pages as they fully understood the concept.

I love how the touch maths homeschool parent's  pages have this clause:

For someone like me who tends to rush through life, it helps to be reminded to stop & wait until the child has a full understanding of the concept.  I actually now have one child ahead of the other as he understood the concept first.  We just progressed him ahead at his own pace.  I have found the program is simple enough to teach that I am quite happy to have the boys at different points.  It doesn't require long or arduous teaching times, but they are instead quick, understandable & fun!  We celebrated the completion of module one with the boys making a huge 100s ( or in this case 120's) chart with the flipcards!!

We then progressed onto touchpoints & while it seemed to be a regress because they know these numbers very well, the boys quickly learnt & understood that touchpoint concept.  Once again the touchnumerals were wonderful to use to aid in teaching this.  The software also helped to make this understandable as it made learning fun & exciting!  

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Australian Students:
I found the Touchmaths scope & sequence corresponds relatively closely with the Australian curriculum, however some supplementation is required in some areas such as mass & capacity, money & giving and following directions.  I think the benefits of using the program outweigh the fact that these sections are not explored.  
In the software the child does travel around the USA.  Although my boys had no problems with this, it does seem slightly exclusive to international users when you initially commence using the software.  
Overall this is a unique program that would benefit any child particularly if they are having troubles with basic number concepts.

I found the Touchmath First Grade Homeschool program was an excellent program to use for making number concepts understandable.  It is easy to implement & it makes maths fun whilst teaching one of the most important concepts they will ever learn in their education in a unique, but logical way.  The parent's instruction manual is easy to follow & requires very little preparation from the parent.  Although I think it would be beneficial to begin the Touchmath program in the earlier grades, we found it relatively easy to commence in first grade with just a little extra time set aside for teaching the touchpoint module.
I like the touchpoint method of teaching & find that it really helps the student understand what each numeral represents which will only aid their further mathematics studies. I look forward to continuing using the program with my boys!!! 

Have a wonderful day friends


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