For many years, we used a variety of math curricula in our homeschool, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I would venture to guess that many other homeschool mothers have spent many hours trying to find the right math curriculum for their children!
It seems to be a universal struggle for most homeschool families.
This past homeschool year, I decided to use BJU Math 6 with my 6th grade daughter. There were several reasons I chose to use a different math curriculum than previous years with her.
If you are researching whether BJU Math 6 would be a good fit for you, please take a few moments to read through this post, as I am writing about why and how we used it.
If you use BJU, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
This is not a paid post. I am merely sharing my own honest experiences using BJU Math 6 this past year. This post does, however, contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
What I Needed for 6th Grade Math
My daughter used Rod and Staff Math for 1st through 5th grades, and it was a great fit for her those years. I like the simplicity and Godly focus of Rod and Staff Math. The way it makes the student learn math facts to mastery can’t be beat.
I would teach this same child using Rod and Staff Math in just the same way as we did – no regrets.
All of my children have had different math strengths and weaknesses. I noticed in this particular child that she needed some extra help with number sense.
Loosely, number sense is a person’s ability to understand numerical relationships and make sense of numbers in daily life. It is a person’s ability to understand and use numbers.
Because this didn’t come naturally to my daughter, I needed to map out a plan to help her with this.
After researching lots of math curricula, I settled on BJU Math 6 even though I have never used BJU in the elementary grades.
It turned out to be a great math year for us! I’ll share the details with you below.
Why I Chose BJU Math 6
At this point in my homeschooling life, I have used a lot of BJU curriculum. For middle and high school, we use a lovely mix of BJU and Memoria Press.
I know how the flow of BJU materials works now that I have used them in a variety of subjects and grades, so Math for Grade 6 was a logical choice in that regard.
Also, I have used BJU Math for Grade 7 and Algebra I, so I had a good feel for how math concepts were presented. Math 6 introduces quite a bit of algebraic learning, and I knew how important this would be for the more advanced math from Algebra I and beyond.
By using the math curriculum in upper grades, I knew there would be a multitude of lessons and application of number sense. And there was!
Lastly, I try to use as many homeschool materials as possible that incorporate our Biblical worldview. BJU does a great job of pointing the learner back to the underlying principle that all things are created by God, including math.
About BJU Math 6 Curriculum
BJU is very faithful to update their curriculum as needed. I used the most recent version of Math 6 as of this writing, with a copyright of 2022 which is the Fourth Edition.
This set includes:
– Student Textbook
– Teacher’s Manual (teacher helps with reduced-size student pages)
– Student Assessments (quizzes and tests)
– Student Assessments Key
Teacher Preparation for BJU Math 6
I am always very honest to say that BJU is typically a teacher-intensive curriculum. There are copious amounts of Teacher Helps in the Teacher’s Edition and they hold your hand the whole way through.
Even if you don’t know much about a subject (oh I’m looking at Chemistry for next year! YIKES!), the Teacher’s Edition is so helpful to guide you through concepts that your child needs to understand.
BJU Math 6 is no exception to that. The Teacher Helps are ample and there are different suggestions for instruction if your child needs to hear a different explanation to understand a concept.
When I plan our school week on Sunday evenings, I assign the lessons we are going to work on each day, and I browse through the teaching ideas. If there is anything that I need a refresher on, I spend a bit more time.
I have come across a few math concepts that are taught in a different way than I learned, so I needed to understand their method and why they are teaching it that way.
I’m thankful for this option for various teaching methods since they provide different ways of thinking about solving problems. Again, that’s helpful for increasing the number sense I mentioned earlier.
What We Do Each Day in BJU Math 6
Math lessons tend to look the same each day at our house. While it is helpful and fun to alter other subjects to keep them fresh, math tends to stay the same course here at the Hill House.
Since math is not my daughter’s favorite subject by a long stretch, the predictability of the day is helpful.
The typical progression of our math time each day looks like this:
1.) We go over the work from yesterday.
My daughter states her answers aloud as I follow along in the Teacher’s Guide. If we come to problems in the work, we stop to see where the issues lie. If the mistake is the same over and over, I determine whether there is an easy fix to the issue or whether we need to spend another day on the lesson.
Part of the joy of homeschooling is being able to individualize lessons for each child and linger on certain concepts longer if there is a need. With math especially, there is no reason to move along if the more basic concepts are not understood.
That only leads to frustration in my experience.
2.) I introduce and teach the lesson for the day.
The examples in the Teacher’s Instruction suggestions are almost always different from the ones presented in the text. I follow along with the Instructions as they are given and teach using that as a guide fairly closely.
I make sure I use the same Key Terms and wording that the Instructions section of the text uses, since I know those same Key Terms will be used in later grades.
For brand new concepts, such as any of the math properties, I write those on the board and leave them up for the whole week. My daughter is very visual, so it helps her to see those reminders on the board.
3.) We work through several examples from the text.
Usually there are enough examples listed in the Instructions section for my daughter to understand the concept. Occasionally, I will need to pull a few from the Student Exercises to explain.
I often have her complete one or more problems on the board to demonstrate she understands what was just taught.
4.) I assign her independent work.
I never assign all of the Exercises in the student text. I go through and choose a few from each concept that was taught.
I also choose a few from the Practice & Application section that is located in each lesson. These problems tend to be review questions from very recent lessons. We complete as many as possible orally.
Lastly, for independent work, I almost always assign the Daily Reviews, although I rarely assign the whole review. These problems are taken from concepts taught much earlier in the book, or from lower grades.
We spend about 15-20 minutes on the actual math lesson each day, so I only assign enough independent work that she has a total of about 45 minutes of math.
That’s plenty of time for this particular child in the sixth grade.
BJU Math 6 Quizzes, Tests and Review Work
I do assign the quizzes and tests as scheduled in BJU Math 6. The quizzes are always a good glimpse at how well my daughter understands the concepts.
Before completing a chapter test, I always have a wrap-up lesson and then my daughter completes the Chapter Review.
She takes the test the next day.
There are Cumulative Reviews in the text and I save those for times I know I will not be able to teach due to the logistics of our family life.
If I am out of Cumulative Reviews but still need to assign math work and I am not available to teach that day, I pull review work from any Exercises or Daily Reviews I did not previously assign.
This method has worked well for us this year!
What We Don’t Use in BJU Math 6
Since there are only so many hours in the day, there are sections we had to skip in Math 6.
- STEM Activities
There are STEM activities provided in multiple chapters throughout the book, however, we didn’t have time for those. They look wonderful for a math-minded child!
- Several chapters
We also did not make it through the whole book this year. I decided to stop and sit a bit on some concepts to make sure they were solidified before we moved onto new material.
The sections we didn’t get to – integers, probability, and some of the measurement chapters. I know those will be taught again in Grade 7 Fundamentals of Math. I felt confident leaving those untouched, as I know we will get to them multiple times in future grades.
A Few Last Notes About BJU Math 6
→ BJU Math 6 teaches to the test. If you have read any of my other BJU or Memoria Press reviews, you know I have mentioned this before. Both of these companies “teach to the test” because the test items are the material that must be known for mastery.
The tests are not “gotcha” questions; students are tested on the material that has been presented and practiced in the text.
→ I have seen the fruit from BJU Math in my older children, so I feel confident using it. My older son used BJU Math through Pre-Calculus and then Consumer Math. My older daughter used it through Algebra I and then switched to Mr. D math. BJU Math gave them both a very solid foundation in Algebra.
→ There is a Distance Learning Option (DLO) version if you need someone else to do the teaching. There is only so much of the mom to go around and this might be a subject you need to outsource. If that’s the case for you, don’t feel guilty. Just go for it.
But be cautioned that DLO has its pros and cons just like everything else. I need to write a post about that!
→ If you use the Homeschool Hub, the lesson plans are filled in for you already. You just assign the material to which day you want to cover it.
BJU launched their Homeschool Hub last year (I think), and I am still trying to decide if it is helpful in my particular situation or not. You can assign your students, enter the BJU materials they are using, and the calendar pre-populates with the subject’s lessons.
You can also use your own lesson plans, and it also works with materials that aren’t BJU also.
If you have questions about BJU Math 6, please leave them in the comments! I will be happy to try and answer them if I am able.
Also, if you have experience with this curriculum, I hope you will leave a comment as well.