It had always confused me that our first option was the Abeka workbook and speed drills ALONE and our second option was the full-fledged Saxon programs. They didn’t really seem comparable. In Saxon, there is so much repetition and drill, and while Abeka was spiral, the lessons were dramatically less…full.
This year, I got the Abeka manuals and WOW, I love them. I still don’t use the FULL program, but every day has a large assortment of activities to fill MODG recommended five minutes of drill along with helps for any of the worksheet pages that are difficult. They can be really overwhelming to look at, though. Let me give you the quick and dirty on how I use them.
Look at the page above for 1st grade. Skip directly to the WARM UP section. (We don’t use their visuals. I ordered several sets plus their charts, but the charts are really flimsy and the cards are just too bulky for my purposes. I have my own hundred board, addition subtraction cards, and my own fact family cards.)
Also, on this lesson, I might take a second to lay out and intro the cards for the six family, but I wouldn’t be doing the straws and all the rest of the activities below. We have our own coin poems that I would recite with the child as we do that section of the worksheet and I might get out real money for the counting if I feel energetic. Other than that, we’d be done. We’d probably have filled our 5 minutes of facts reviews with the warm up section and not need the last bit at the bottom of the second page.
** Note that I often skip the speed drills. Unless the child’s fine motor is up to par, those timed things really upset my kids. We do plenty of drill and review orally. “Timed” drill isn’t in the Learning Objectives until, like 4th grade, so we don’t emphasize it if other drill is less anxiety provoking.
Also very important in the manuals, is the charts of when certain facts are expected to be memorized. It gives you a pacing guide so that the stuff on the worksheets is generally review, rather than finger counting, which takes FOREVER.
Now, let’s take a peek at 2nd grade. Again, there’s a pacing guide at the front for fact memorization, YAY! On the example lessons shown below, again just jump directly to the WARM UP SECTION. The prep section will drive you to drink. In the WARM UP section you will find reference to the “Pond game”. It’s just a visual that has the numbers 1-20 mixed on different lily pads. It’s not special. You’re just picking a number 1-20 to have them start counting by tens. Also, you see the drill cards. These are the size of a man’s shoe, but still nice to have. However, they’re nothing you can’t come up with on your own. This lesson uses ordinals 1st-10th and 11th-20th. The child orders the mixed up cards as he counts. You can easily do it with index cards.
I would likely skip this whole next page for now and go straight to the bottom of the third page and do some of the oral combinations and play the fact family game listed (no visuals needed, they use LOTS of different action games for math facts. Instructions in front of manual.) Then, we’d do the worksheet. I would cherry pick the teaching section for help doing the worksheet.
I find that all the introducing of concepts slows us down and eats up our math time. I just do it if they NEED it.
Now, let’s look at 3rd. Again, skip to the warm-up section. Cherry pick the options you think your kids will need most to fill your 5 minutes of drill. There are a BILLION choices! I might do the “chalkboard drill” on our many dollar store wipe boards, or not. It just depends on where the child is in his needs.
Notice on the next page, the warm-ups continue…a long time! That, and they use the “concept cards.” They’re huge, as cards go, and if you use the manual from the beginning, it’s not hard to figure out what the cards say. This is fairly deep into the lessons, so they just give you the card numbers. I will do a post soon about the cards so that you can make your own more easily.
Again, I wouldn’t have done the “teaching” part unless they needed it. We do use a lot of manipulatives for computation here, but I don’t usually do any kind of “presentation” of the material. We just go over the sheet. If the child is able, this is the year we generally start using the speed drills. They are fluent enough in math facts that it really is now a recall and write test, rather than a counting test.
Anyway, I hope that helps!