We have bounced around with math since the beginning, which isn’t unusual, but still not ideal for someone who prefers a good rhythm. I could tell it wasn’t working well for us when math lessons began to get met with dug in heels and sometimes even tears.
To combat this, we spent the past two years using e-Singapore with the results I was hoping for: that a microdose of math (roughly 10 minutes per day) every day with the help of simple animated videos. It worked! This approach made math less intimidating, my kids progressed, and the tears stopped.
However, entering 6th grade and 4th grade, I was ready to step things up in the math department. I felt my kids were ready for a challenge and I was ready to move on to a solid, highly-acclaimed math curriculum as we entered middle school. After a lot of review reading and crowd sourcing, I decided on Saxon, a rigorous spiral approach. It’s seen as the gold standard by many, with the only downside being lengthy, dry lessons.
I wasn’t thrilled with that description, but was wanting that feeling of a solid curriculum. Enter- Nicole the Math Lady! A simple and straightforward solution that is singlehandedly making the lives of homeschool moms easier and more enjoyable with her work.
Who is Nicole the Math Lady?
Nicole is a cheerful and down to earth woman with a passion for coming up with fun ways for making math “stick” for kids. She is a Stanford graduate, a former math tutor, and a mom herself. She teaches with ease with nothing but a white board and a dry erase marker. It’s nothing flashy, but yet her style is effective in keeping kids engaged and lessons clearly understood.
How Does Nicole’s Program Work?
Nicole the Math Lady is a subscription based service. You sign up for a year at a time with a single level coarse, though you can switch your child’s assigned level if you were to need to level up or down during the year. She offers plans for a single student starting at $59/year, or enroll up to 5 of your children for a family bundle price of $99/year.
Each child gets an individual log in page with easy access to their level. After logging in, the child selects their current lesson number (or you can search by topic) and the corelating videos pop up. Nicole provides short, clear videos explaining math concepts with a whiteboard and a marker. Lessons are compromised of:
- Lesson (5-20 minutes)
- Corny Brain Break (1 minute)
- Practice Problems (5-10 minutes)
The corny brain breaks are entertaining videos featuring kids telling jokes and riddles. My kids LOVE these. She tells kid-appropriate jokes and riddles. My kids always pause during this part of the lesson to tell me the funniest joke of the day before diving into their bookwork.
Why We Picked Nicole the Math Lady
Ease. The kids can log in on their own and get started. Nicole teaches the lesson, then they flip to the corelating workbook pages and complete their work. If a concept is confusing, we simple stop where we are and practice until it’s understood.
Consistency. I love (LOVE) that this program offers support for Saxon teaching all the way through high school. Having my kids become familiar with an effective style of teaching and be able to stick with it is super beneficial- no start and stop confusion.
Hands Off for Mom. As they get started on math, I’m close by in the kitchen. I will bounce around here or there to help explain something, but for the most part, the kids are able to do math on their own. This is a HUGE relief to me as they get into higher level math and just for the enjoyment of our days.
We do a math block hour, and whatever my kids don’t finish in that hour can be completed at the end of the day. Yes, doing math for an hour sounds rather intense, but it doesn’t always take that long and even when it does, my kids are not complaining. What?! Yes, my mind if blown, too. The combination of the videos and Nicole’s upbeat and clear explanations make the bookwork portion sustainable.
Sometimes I will have them do just the odd problems (I highlight them) and do the evens the following day. This helps break things up if a new concept is proving to take more brain power; I don’t want to overwhelm them and mess up something that is working so well for us.
Effectiveness. My children have very different math minds, so I’m a bit surprised and very much pleased that they both are thriving with the same math program. Kudos to Nicole. I hand grade their work each day to stay fully engaged on what they are completing with ease and what they might need more practice on. I’m thrilled with how well they’ve been doing with their accuracy.
Additional Services Offered by Nicole the Math Lady
Offers online grading with immediate feedback. The parent can choose how many tries their child gets to answer a problem correctly. I have heard some parents love this feature, but I can’t give personal feedback on it, as I use the Saxon solutions guide to check my kids’ work
Additional services offered:
- Saxon placement tests
- study hall where students can interact with each other (perhaps a nice add on for high school?)
- student clubs
- drill team for basic math facts
- occasional challenges and contests
One could argue that Saxon math is as a whole fairly dry and lengthy, even if it is effective. I agree. But once a friend told me about Nicole the Math Lady– BOOM- problem solved. I’m so grateful for her services!
I really recommend Nicole for middle school when concepts get more challenging and we (as homeschool moms) worry more about getting it right and giving a strong, mathematical foundation. This can be a great fit if you have multiple kids, struggle with teaching math, or are going through a challenging season of life.
This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for our homeschooling life because Nicole the Math Lady makes me feel confident my kids are grasping and effectively implementing mathematical problem solving. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask!