Books and Products to Consider
I found the older version we used a bit sassy for my tastes, but my children loved them--and if they loved doing math, I wasn't arguing, so we used them
Let's say your child is in third grade at school. Is he actually at the third grade level in every subject? States differ in their ideas about what constitutes third grade, but even compared to other children in the class he just left, you will want to find out where he really is and what he knows.
A child in third grade might read at a fifth grade level, but do math at a second grade level. He might be right on target in math, but only if you don't count fractions. His spelling might be terrible and his history and science well ahead of most children his age. In other words, most children aren't an exact match for their grade.
During this year at home, you have an opportunity to do something about this. If your child is behind in some areas, you can really drill in and help him catch up. If he's ahead, you can make him stretch, possibly for the first time in his life, and do school work that is a little too hard. If he hates history, you can get him excited about it. You don't have to teach at the public school level he was assigned to, so you can work at your child's own level. When my children were asked what grade they were in while homeschooling, they often answered, "In which subject?"
If you have access to the public school math book they would have used this year, you can use it to test their math. If not, any math book will do. Go through the books and make a booklet with sample problems from each section--just one or two for each concept. You won't be doing the entire thing at once. Just ask them to do a few problems with you. Sit quietly and don't help, but ask them to explain what they are doing as they do it. You want to know if they know how to do the problem and if they understand it.
When I did this with my children, I learned their school had only taught them to estimate the answers, not to get the answers. This was intended to boost their standardized test score, because tests only require them to recognize the correct answer when they see it. They didn't really know how to solve and in fact, they had forgotten how to do math I had previously taught them. We nearly had to start over. It went quickly, since they'd been exposed to the concepts, but they had to learn how to really do them. Don't take anything for granted.
If they can't do any of the problems, or most of the problems you give them, you'll need to move backwards. Don't worry about them getting behind--they already are if this is the case. They will progress more quickly because you'll be having them work at their own pace this year.
To check reading level, you can find ordinary children's books that have reading levels on them. These can be used to give you a rough idea of where your child fits in. Figure out what books he can read with little or no effort and then get one a little harder to use for schooling. You don't need a reading textbook--just use ordinary books. You can buy phonics and "word attack" skill books in teacher supply stores.
This is how we did math at the start: I had them do one page of problems in a section as a pre-test. (Some books have pre-tests in them.) If they got most of the problems right and could show me what they were doing, they moved on to the next skill. Why bother having them do the whole section if they already know how? They just need a short review, which the pretest gave them.
by Bob Krech , Stephanie Dilorenzo , Denise Birrer
I haven't used these, but it looks like a good way to reteach what your child was supposed to have mastered at school.