Math and The Cosmos – Curriculum Review

Kali (13) was really excited about the Math and The Cosmos curriculum when we found it online. She has always been fascinated by astronomy and very strong in math so we thought this would be a great supplement to show how math is applied. I ordered it, read through it and realized that I was going to need to spend some time really going through it to allow her to be independent while doing the program – how ridiculous of a statement is that? – and this is right when I should have known it wasn’t going to work for her, but she was so excited about it, that I figured I could take the time to organize it. I proceeded to go through the assignment lists and break it up so that she wasn’t overwhelmed with the 12 – 22 assignments per sheet and made it so that she would be able to complete each sheet over the course of a week or more so that it was manageable.

The concept is great -  introduces students to the wonders of astronomy and its connections to mathematics, physics, history, and mythology. Explore the constellations, graph star charts, investigate planetary motion, and probe Newton’s laws; employ the math fundamentals of graphing, angles, trigonometry, and scientific notation in real-world contexts; and learn how ancient civilizations spun stories inspired by the stars.  - however the design of the program is rather boring and really condescending, especially given that it is suppose to be a “gifted” and “independent learning” program. I had expected a lot more from it than here is the vocabulary word sheet now fill in the definition, which you can find in the glossary on the disc in alphabetical order so that you are literally just copying it word for word. The chapter questions were really no better either – predictably in order and leaving no room for interpretation, but just regurgitation.

The first week Kali started out with a lot of energy, but when she got the second week’s assignment sheet and saw nearly the same format you could see she was losing interest a bit. She was hopeful though that the projects that began in week 3 would bring some more interaction into the program, but sadly this was not the case. The “independent learner” was suppose to work with classmates to complete three different tasks – no that is not a typo! “Why would they working in a group if it is suppose to be independent?” you may ask, well so did Kali!

We decided to jump ahead and see if it would continue in this manner or if this week was just an anomaly – sadly it was not! It was just more and more copywork, parroting of facts, and projects that were nearly impossible to do by oneself. While I don’t have any experience with any other Duke TIP programs, this has ruined any chance of us trying them out. Sometimes regardless of the enthusiasm of the learner the program just flops!!!

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Filed Under: Curriculum Reviews

avatar About the Author: Gina is a home educating mom since 2007, when her daughter was in 5th grade and could no longer deal with the ridiculous public school system. You can find out more about their journey on their blog – Home Learning Family Going Sane - .

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