We use BJU Press’ Math 2 program for my 2nd Grader. If you are looking for a new math program, you should consider BJU Press! Let me give you a brief overview of what BJU Math is like, and I will share how I organize our materials. Even if you are happy with your math program, this post might inspire you to organize your materials in a new way.
Quick Overview of BJU Math
BJU’s full second grade math program comes with:
- DVDs for every single lesson
- Worktext (worksheets for each lesson)
- Daily reviews (optional)
- Tests and answer keys (optional)
- Teacher’s manual
Hopefully I am not forgetting anything, but if I am, you’ll see more on their website. (Disclaimer: I do not sell BJU materials, I just like them!)
I store our math materials in our entertainment center. This is where my daughter watches the daily lessons from the BJU DVD. It is more convenient than storing it in our school room. This works for our home, but it’s a matter of working with what storage options you have available. You might find it easier to keep the materials on a nearby bookshelf, a nearby closet, or wherever you keep most of your homeschooling materials. If you don’t store the materials on a shelf right next to the TV or computer, I highly recommend putting the math materials in a big bin for easy transportation.
At the beginning of the DVD, there is a 2-minute “Mom’s Minutes” segment on the DVD before you play the lesson for your child (I’m sorry, dads, that it doesn’t say “Dad’s Minutes,” but it’s for you, too!). The “Mom’s Minutes” introduces the lesson to you, and lists what materials your child will need for the lesson (e.g., worksheets, manipulatives). If you have materials in front of you from a big bin or on a nearby shelf, you can easily pull the items that will be needed.
We keep the manipulatives in a shoebox. BJU provides almost all of the manipulatives you need to do the lessons. You can choose to use some extra ones, like real money or paperclips, but they provide most of the materials. There are “kits” for different topics. For example, there is a “Money Kit,” “Shape Kit,” and “Number line Kit.” They recommend having a small notebook for scrap paper; we keep that in the shoebox, too. Not pictured, we also put Unifix cubes in the box.
During the 2-minute Mom’s Minutes on the DVD, I see what materials are needed each day and prep them for my daughter. During the beginning of the segment for my daughter’s lesson, the materials are listed again, and she likes to make sure that everything is there. Sometimes, she notices that I have forgotten something, too! I like that it helps the child learn some responsibility and organization skills. There is also a list for parents for what materials are used for each lesson, but I find it easiest to watch the 2-minute Mom’s Minutes and pause the screen when it gets to the list of what’s needed.
Organizing Math Materials in a Binder
I love binders. I love organization. I love efficiency. When I was in graduate school, what I wanted most for Christmas was an electric hole puncher….to make it easier to organize all of the amazing papers my professors were giving to me! For BJU, they recommend having a binder to organize weekly materials. Having a math binder really helps us keep on track with lessons. It also allows me to clearly communicate to my daughter what I expect her to complete; it’s a win-win.
I have a tab for the worksheets, math facts, activities for a math lesson, special handouts for a math lesson, and a done tab (for completed papers). For the math facts, I try to make sure my daughter reviews addition, subtraction, or (recently) multiplication math facts on a rotating basis each day we work on math. The DVD reviews math facts, the worksheet often reviews a few math facts, and then the separate handout for math facts reviews many facts. If there is a day when we are short on time, I don’t mind skipping the math fact worksheet because we review math facts at many other times.
Prepping the Binder
At the beginning of the week, I prep my daughter’s math binder. I take out the worktext pages, math fact reviews, and special activities for the week. I hole punch them with my electric hole puncher, and I put them in the binder. I write at the top of each page when the page will be done (e.g., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.). That way, my daughter clearly knows what to do, and when to stop. Likewise, I label on the math fact reviews and special activity pages when they will be used during the week.
Tests and Answer Key
I keep my daughter’s math tests and answer key in a binder apart from the rest of the math materials; I keep it in a binder on a shelf in our homeschool room. When it’s time to give my daughter a test, then I can find it easily. I really like that BJU has math tests. It’s a good motivator and shows me how much she has learned. BJU does say that it’s up to each parent to decide if they will give tests to their children; it depends on your educational philosophy, and possibly on your state’s documentation requirements.
I hope these ideas and pictures are helpful to you. Before I bought BJU Math, I wish I could have found a blog post like this to show me what it was like. It’s a big financial commitment to this program, but I think it’s worth the investment if you can find a way to afford it. Our homeschool focuses on the basics during elementary school: reading, writing, and math. (We do cover other subjects, including science, but it’s in the frame work of these three overarching subjects–“The three R’s.”) BJU gives a student a solid foundation in math, and it is easy to use as a parent.
- How do you organize your BJU Math materials? If you don’t use BJU, where do you store your math materials? Where do you keep your math manipulatives?
- What math program do you use? Do you love it? Please share other ideas here to help moms and dads who are looking for a new math program!