When I first read about the existence of CSMP math I was thinking that I really did NOT need another math program. I also doubted how great it could really be. But, I have a problem just leaving new curriculum alone without looking at it so I *had* to check it out (plus, it is free!).
CSMP is not another math curriculum that has tips and tricks for doing calculations…it is not only an arithmetic program. From the beginning levels (K), it introduces children to set theory in the context of stories (lesson K63 on p. 185 of the lesson manual is a good example of this). In first grade children learn about negative numbers and in third grade children begin working with probability. It truly is unlike any other curriculum out there and if you haven’t seen it then you should take a look.
At first blush, this looks quite complicated, but I found that the teacher instructions are very easy to follow. In addition, prep time is relatively minimal: grade K materials recommends manipulatives for some lessons and storybooks for others, while in the other grades you will have to print out workbooks for your child. I do pick and choose our lessons as we are working our way through the K material and many of the lessons can stand on their own. However, it does not appear that the grade 1+ materials are suited for this type of jumping around as they build more upon one another.
So, how do we use it in our house? I think that CSMP is a great supplement and the more I use it the greater my respect grows for this program. I can see how CSMP stretches my dd’s thinking and while away on our trip we are doing this curriculum every other day.