Ray's Arithmetic consists of charming little books written in the late 1800s and republished by Mott Media (this is the version we use). This is a no-nonsense approach to math that follows the developmental logic to arithmetic, beginning with a manipulative stage, then onto a mental stage, then to the abstract. These stages of learning are powerful tools to unlocking a mastery and a passion for math. I want both; not only excellent mathematicians, but children who find delight in math, and I want a math that reinforces habits and that doesn't trump the rest of our generous curriculum.

Here is a small sampling of some of the story problems that the girls are tackling ... this is good stuff. I completely envision my grandpa studying this math in his schoolhouse in Iowa. sigh. {We mix our lessons between oral, manipulative, and written work, though Viola does very little writing in math.}

Mae ~

What will 8 quarts of berries cost at 12 cents a quart?

Two men start from the same place and travel in opposite directions: one travels 2 miles and hour, the other 4 miles and hour: how far will they be apart at the end of 3 hours?

A drover gave $10 and 7 sheep, valued at $4 a head, for a cow and a half: how much did they cost?

The sum of two numbers is 23; the smaller is 11: what is 5 times the larger?

A miller bought 10 bushels of wheat, at 1 dollar a bushel, from which he made 2 barrels of flour that were sold at 7 dollars each: how much more did he get for the flour than he paid for the wheat?

How many eighths in 2 apples? In 3? In 4? In 5? In 6? In 7? In 8? In 9? In 10?

3/5 of 30 is what part of 23?

Viola ~

A boy counted 15 birds on a tree: some of them flying away, he counted 8 remaining; how many flew away?

Nine and how many make 16?

I sold a ball for 12 cents, which cost me 8 cents. How much did I gain?

I have 10 cents in one hand, and 5 in the other: if I take 3 cents from each hand, how many cents will I have then in both hands?

Begin with 18 and subtract by 3's to 0.

I bought 16 oranges, and gave 6 to James: Henry afterwards gave me 8 more: how many oranges had I then?

The movement from oral to manipulatives to concrete math lessons, whether with MEP or with Ray's truly brings a dimension to math that is sorely lacking in many programs. I am awfully thankful for having found these two math curricula.

And then there is Fred. He is our quirky and wildly different approach to math. Viola LOVES Fred. Mae thinks he is too silly and she doesn't get or care to get his humor. Zeb does not have the language skills to use Fred, and Jack is too little to know yet. Viola does two days of MEP and two days of Fred each week, plus 5 minutes of Ray's two days and 5 minutes of math facts two days. The variety works for her and somehow Fred stretches her mind while Mae is happiest solely using MEP. Onward.