Review from member farrarwilliams
Member Ranking - Mostly Positive
Miquon is an older curriculum from the 1960's that relies on manipulatives called Cuisenaire rods. In order to use the curriculum, you need a set of plastic or wooden rods, the lab sheet workbooks that begin with the Orange Book, and a copy of the Lab Sheet Annotations, a sort of teacher guide that covers all three years of the curriculum. In addition, the First Grade Diary is a narrative account of how the curriculum was implemented in a single classroom over the course of a year. Reading (or at least skimming) this book before using Miquon is probably necessary for most parents to understand what Miquon actually looks like in action.
Each book covers several different threads, or topics. The pages in the lab sheet books are numbered by thread, with each thread picking up from the previous book and referenced in the Annotations book by the thread, not by the color of the book. It's a system that will probably seem confusing for only a short time and very quickly become clear.
Different people use Miquon in different ways. The meat of the program is in using the Cuisenaire rods to help children see numbers and their relationships. Children begin by playing simple games with the rods like building staircases and making trains while doing lab sheets that involve simple counting. However, the rods remain integral as children learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and measuring. Once introductory lessons are made, many people allow students to choose what page they want to do, or to skip around the lab books.
Miquon introduces some topics, such as multiplication by fractions, much earlier than most programs (it's in the Red Book, so it's a first grade topic). However, it's done gently, letting obvious math like 1/2 x 2, something that can easily be seen with the Cuisenaire rods, lead into more difficult problems in successive books.
Miquon also encourages children to make up their own problems to add to the lab sheets. Pages in the early books encourage them to discover different equations or "names" for numbers. The discovery aspect is emphasized by problems that lead children into understanding, such as by introducing multiplication by placing simple multiplication problems next to equal repeated addition problems.
We began using Miquon Math as a supporting curriculum when my children were in kindergarten. It became the main curriculum for one of my sons when he seemed to click better with the methods than other curricula. As much as I liked it, I was dubious at first that it would be as solid as some more traditional curricula, but I can see now that my son who is using it has developed a very solid conceptual number sense.
- discovery based
- hands on
- nontraditional scope and sequence
- some parents may find it intimidating to teach because it looks so different at first glance