Don't get me wrong, even I, who barely squeaked through high school algebra, (ahem, even with a tutor,) am able to tackle the first grade math that I'm teaching my son. The problem is really one of confidence. I want to make sure he's learning the right things, in the right order, so that he never gets lost like I did.
I've lost more sleep over choosing the correct math curriculum than any other subject.
I was recently sent a copy of Getting into Geometry, by Aims Education Foundation, to review with L, as part of the TOS Review Crew program.
The book is recommended for grades k-1, and retails for $24.95. It's a softcover, 255 page long book, broken down into the following sections:
Composing and Decomposing Shapes
Spatial Relationships: Location/Position
One of the great things about the book is that it includes a CD ROM which contains any necessary printables. That means you won't have to tear pages out of the book to copy them for the kids to use, (which is tedious,) and it means it's convenient and cost effective to use with several children.
I had hoped that maybe V (aged 3 1/2,) would be able to do some of the activities along with us, and indeed, she has been able to, so far. (We haven't worked through the entire book yet, but it appears that we will eventually lose her, as she's still technically a little young for the curriculum.)
I love that the book includes lots of hands on activities, as opposed to just worksheets. L is in some ways, your typically wiggly little 6 year old boy, but as I've written elsewhere, he also has ADHD, and some days he's extremely active. He learns better when there is something to be doing with his body, some way to channel all that energy. I think the abundance of fun, hands on activities is one of the major strengths of this curriculum.
Another strong point is that the book pretty much lays out what to say and ask throughout the lesson, which is great for parents that aren't terribly confident in their ability to explain the principles properly. If you read along as you go, it's pretty much foolproof.
A number of household supplies are called for in the various lessons, things like Play Doh, and straws, and chalk, which you probably already have lying around. Tangrams and foam geometric shapes (Geo-Solids,) are also called for throughout the book. These are available from Aims, at a reasonable price, ($3.95, and $14.95, respectively.) You could, in a pinch, use paper tangrams, but the foam shapes appear to be pretty much mandatory, in order to effectively teach the sections dealing with 3-D shapes.
There is a fairly minimum amount of prep time required, which mainly consists of gathering materials, and printing things off the disk.
There was nothing I didn't like about the curriculum. It seems to be chiefly intended for traditional classroom use, and included information about standards and benchmarks for each activity, which wasn't particularly relevant to me, but also wasn't a problem. A few of the activities may have to be tweaked slightly if you are only teaching 1 child, instead of a classroom full, but it hasn't been a big deal for us.
We're going to continue using this curriculum. L is enjoying it, and I think it's a really solid, user friendly resource.
The AIMS website and catalog are full of neat looking science and math resources, from books, to math manipulatives, to complete lab kits.
To find out what other TOS Crew members are saying about this, (and several other,) AIMS products, check out the linky on the TOS Homeschool Crew review blog.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book, and the accompanying CD, in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.