By Lore Rasmussen, Robert Hightower, and Peter Rasmussen www.keypress.com
Key Curriculum Press
1150 65th Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
The Miquon Math Lab Materials Yellow Book is the fifth in a series of six math workbooks. In order to effectively use the Miquon program, the student needs a set of Cuisenaire rods, and parents will need Notes to Teachers and Lab Sheet Annotations. The Yellow Book is intended for students doing beginning third grade work. The Scope and Sequence table for placement help can be found at www.keypress.com/catalog/products/supplementals/Prod_Miquon_chart.html
In most homeschool settings using Miquon, it is a stand-alone math curriculum for the lower elementary grades. I used Miquon for Katie during her kindergarten and first grade years and then moved her into Saxon Math 2. We completed the entire series in two years, which is faster than the authors intended. Miquon is different from most other math curricula; so many parents pass over it for a curriculum with more bells and whistles.
But it is a mistake to think that the uncluttered pages are simplistic.
Miquon is a comprehensive math program for almost any type of learner. I believe it appeals more to the kinesthetic than the visual, and more to the textbook lover than the unschooler; but any child who is inquisitive will benefit from the Miquon program. Miquon is especially suited to a late reader, because written directions on the lab sheets are minimal.
Miquon explores math in a different scope and sequence than many traditional math curriculums. Because it is different, many parents find it uncomfortable. It encourages students to discover the language of mathematics and to explore the relationships of numbers. Because Miquon is different, most parents will find it necessary to use the Lab Sheet Annotations, which contains the specific instructions for using the lab sheets.
Our family profited from an early mathematical journey with Miquon Math and The Yellow Book. My children enjoyed using Cuisenaire rods, and they were not distracted by the simple one-color printing on each lab sheet. I think The Yellow Book more than adequately prepared Katie for success in higher-level mathematics. Math success is our goal, so a program that prepares a student to be successful later on is a good one, in my opinion.
The major drawback to the Miquon math program is that it is different. If you are moving from another math program into Miquon you will need to carefully study the scope and sequence to correctly place your student. Don't go by grade level alone. A family who wants to have minimal parental involvement will most likely not like Miquon math because it depends upon the student and parent working together to discover how arithmetic works.
Miquon math encourages thinking outside the box. It avoids rote memorization, trite drills (twaddle), and busy work. If you want to encourage a young student to creatively think about math and to discover the language of math, check out Miquon Math and The Yellow Book.
Product review by Tina Rice, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2006