Sunday, December 27, 2015

Principles of Mathematics by Katherine Loop (Review)

If you have been with me for a while, you already know that I'm a fan of Katherine Loop.  I reviewed her previous two books Revealing Arithmetic and Beyond Numbersand absolutely loved her presentation of math not being a neutral subject.  After finishing up a study on Plato and his ideas about mathematics continually being discovered and not invented by man, my thoughts of God being at the core of math, are further cemented and the desire to see children grasp that concept as Christians is so important in today's "neutral" society.  Have you tried to find a truly Biblical math curriculum?  The best I've seen until now, is math presented as a neutral subject, with a Bible Verse thrown somewhere on the page.  Introducing Book 1, Principles of MATHematics, Biblical Worldview Curriculum by Katherine Loop!  Here are my thoughts on this new math curriculum…

A Quick Look
  • Strong Biblical Worldview 
  • Self-Taught Curriculum
  • Schole' Pace and Feel
  • Relates Math to Other Studies
  • Teaches Through History and Science Lens (which I loved the best!)
  • Explores Math Myths and the Importance in Learning Math
  • Real-Life Connections Throughout
  • Explains The How and Why Concepts Before Teaching Math Rules
  • A Gentle Math Curriculum 

Summary Thoughts
Principles of MATHematics presents math in a way I haven't seen before.  Ms. Loop continues to point readers to the Truth, with her theme of God being the creator of everything, and that is very evident throughout this curriculum.  She lays a good foundation for understanding the importance of learning math and challenges several "myths" about mathematics being neutral, that helps the reader see God in math. She also consistently points out that God is a God of order and His laws and consistency have the end result in math always "working".  She provides neat connections for students to science and history, by providing information throughout the curriculum that tie math with these other subjects nicely (with familiar names like Thales, Euclid, etc.), which I personally enjoyed and find to be very helpful and classical.  These connections throughout were a bonus that I really liked.  There are plenty of real life tie-ins for the students, as well.  There is also an explanation prior to teaching math rules, which helps the student to understand the why and how of each concept.  The curriculum is meant to be self-taught, meaning your student would read the student textbook and then complete the student workbook accordingly, with your being available to answer questions or help if they get stuck.  It fits with those pursuing Schole' as it has a restful pace to it all, and certainly points the student to Truth, Beauty and Virtue.  She spends a good deal of time laying a foundation for math by starting with what may seem like basic mathematic concepts.  However, she does this to infuse a biblical worldview, and it is a needed starting point, albeit remedial for most 7th graders, as far as the operations may go.

I think this curriculum would be fantastic for a student who is not generally considered "math minded" or as a supplement for a "math minded" student.  If your student is strong in math, I think you may find it to be too basic as a core curriculum for them.  The main complaint from a parent of a child that is strong in math would be that there are mostly elementary concepts covered, not a lot of challenging questions, and not a lot of practice sheets.  However, I think it would make an excellent companion to another curriculum for this type of student, and it would most likely be a very interesting math book for them to read and work through easily, giving them a strong biblical worldview infused into their other math curriculum.  **After writing this review, the author let me know that the curriculum is really designed to work with either 6th or 7th grade, depending on a student's skill level.**

Overall, I love this gentle math with a biblical worldview approach, and think it is a beautiful curriculum choice for those pursuing Schole' in their homeschool.

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