Jun 042009
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Miquon is a unique math program designed for students in the first through third grades. There are a total of six workbooks consisting of math “labs”. In the labs, the student explores and discovers math concepts for himself. Cuisenaire rods are essential to completing many of the labs. The rods are a manipulative that can be used to perform mathematical operations and demonstrate concepts such as area and volume. There are rods of different colors to represent each number 1 through 10.

The white rod  is the unit cube and has dimensions of 1 cm X 1 cm X 1cm. The next rod, red, is 2 cm long; the following green rod is 3 cm long, etc.

This picture illustrates how the rods can be used for addition and subtraction. When a student is using them to add, he finds rods to represent each of the addends and puts them in a row. Then he searches for a rod of the correct length for the sum and checks it by laying it beside the addend row. To subtract he would lay the two rods beside each other. To find the difference he finds the rod that fills the leftover space. For example, on the left side of the photograph there are two white rods placed in a column. To the side of the white rods is a red rod. This physically demonstrates the equations 1+1=2 and 2-1=1. On the right side of the photograph, there are a green and a red rod placed beside a yellow rod. This can represent the equations  3+2=5, 2+3=5, 5-2=3, or 5-3=2.

Miquon Math
A sample page from Miquon Orange, the first book, is shown above. In this lab, the student is to discover all the addition equations that are equal to 4. The rods are placed directly on a diagram of the rods on the page.  The pages in the Miquon workbooks are simple and uncluttered, and there are typically few problems per page. Miquon is a great for both visual and kinesthetic learners.


You might be wondering why I, as someone who claims to be a classical homeschooler, would choose a program like Miquon. Isn’t classical education about drill and memorizing facts? I must agree that Miquon does not seem to fit into the classical mold.  However, before I was a homeschool mom, I was an engineer. So I really like math. I think math is fun and I want my kids to see and understand that from a young age. Not only do I want my kids to think math is fun, but I want them to understand math. Having a good understanding of basic arithmetic is crucial in understanding higher maths. The Cuisenaire rods are wonderful for showing mathematical operations in a concrete way.  Miquon is not our main math curriculum because I prefer a primary math curriculum that is more logical and systematic in its presentation.  I recommend Miquon as a fun supplemental math program because it helps children to think about math in a different way. You can learn more at MiquonMath.com.



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  5 Responses to “Miquon Math”

  1. Looks very similar to Math-U-See! We use MUS and I wonder what the major differences between the two are.

  2. I used Miquon with my eldest too, alongside another math program at the time. I liked it, and I'm pretty sure that I learned with it back in public school. I do distinctly recall using those colorful blocks. I was always good in math, too, and logic games of various types.

    I haven't used Miquon with my second, but I've been considering pulling it out again and using it with my third and others. And, yes, I'm a Classical/Charlotte Mason gal, too; yet, I find myself leaning less toward a "drill, drill, drill" philosophy and more toward an "instill them with a love of learning through reading living books and Socratic dialoguing" philosophy.

  3. I think that Miquon is similar to MathUSee in its use of manipulatives, but very different in its scope and sequence. My understanding of MathUSee is that it focuses on one mathematical operation per year. Miquon is much less systematic in its appoach. Also, Miquon doesn't provide instruction; the student is supposed to figure it out. If I were looking for a core math program that used manipulatives, I would not choose Miquon but probably MathUSee. I just use Miquon as a supplement.

  4. We've used MUS for years and have had great success, but I've always been curious about Miquon. So many hs'ers love it, I'm glad to know what they're talking about now!

  5. Found my way here through the Carnival of Homeschooling…just wanted to say that there are different ways to use Miquon Math, and our own way is less of a figure-it-out-for-yourself lab and more systematic. There's a really good users' group at the Big Y which is a great help when you or your kids are stuck on a particular page.

    –Mama Squirrel at Dewey's Treehouse at Blogspot dot com.

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