We have had our share of struggles with math. We have used Singapore, Horizons, and Aleks. Each has its pros and cons. The bottom line was my girls found math boring. I have written extensively about how I try very hard to connect the dots between subject areas so that our learning is not simply moving from subject to subject, but is an awareness that all learning is intertwined, therefore relevant. I could not seem to make math relevant, therefore, interesting.
Then we discovered the Simply Charlotte Mason Business Math Series. When I say “we”, I mean me and my sister-in-law who read on one of my weekly updates that I was going to switch to this program. She emailed me privately and asked if I would be interested in having her guide the girls in this program. Interested?? Heck yeah! How cool is it to learn a skill from an expert in that skill set? My sister-in-law has her MBA in Accounting and specializes in Sarbane Oxley reporting as an on-site consultant. I can barely balance a checkbook. I can do algebra and I adore geometry but ledgers and statements make me queasy.
To begin, the girls picked their “store” to run. Grace chose a sports store and Lilah is now operating a book store. I purchased the ebooks online and brought them to Staples to be printed, hole punched and put into large three ring binders.
I recommend this. If the book came spiral bound, the girls would not be able to take out sheets, which make the monthly ledger report much easier.
So far I am very pleased with the content and quality of this program. In just two weeks my girls have:
- created a store name
- designed a logo
- ordered inventory
- filled orders
- calculated sales tax
- calculated 100% and 150% markups (which led to some interesting conversations....)
- prepared monthly ledgers
- calculated profit or loss
- adjusted inventory
- learned to write checks
- learned the appropriate use of calculators
Lilah has been introduced to multi-digit multiplication and long division. Because this is a challenge for her, she is playing Timez Attack furiously to be able to recall her multiplication facts quickly (she was always very oppositional about this....now she sees the need and wants to learn them). We are also pacing the girls according to their differing abilities.
So far they have had three lessons with their Aunt. They have a task list of “homework” that should be done prior to the next “class”. According to Grace, math has never been so much fun. Lilah commented that all math should be like this. (I agree).
This program can be paced according to your anticipated outcomes. It is set up monthly with the business year beginning in January. We are pacing ourselves to complete a month a week (it may take Lilah slightly longer). I have some exciting hopes and dreams for this program. The girl’s Dad is also an expert in this field. He is responsible for the inventory planning and allocation for a major retailer in New York City. I have asked him to take time for me to bring the girls to his office so he can give them an overview of what he does and how it is very much like the math that they are doing. I would also love for them to meet with members of his team, those that are responsible for merchandising, ecommerce, social media, advertising, visual, and design. It would give them such a great perspective on not only what their Dad’s career is but also how what they are doing is real life math!
Before our trip to New York, we are going to visit another local company that is known for exceptional product and service, Stew Leonard’s Grocery. Not only will be customers, we are going to be customers with a critical eye for advertising, branding, customer service and support and product placement and markup. If we happen to have some of their amazing ice cream or one of their gluten free bagels, it will be for the good of the lesson!
This program has made me think of math differently. After doing a program like this, a textbook will seem so boring. I wonder if there are other programs that teach math concepts through a real life simulation. If you know of any, would you let me know? Especially for middle school math....
** I was not approached by Simply Charlotte Mason to review this product. I received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained are solely the author's.