Are you ready for homeschooling your kids and need some good math curriculum options? Here’s a quick guide to help you get started!
by Tess DiNapoli | Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but she also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.
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Homeschooling is a challenging yet gratifying endeavor for parents. As a homeschooling family, you can take learning at your child’s pace, move quickly through lessons they grasp, and circle back to areas they struggle with. You’re always up to date on your child’s academics and can provide a personalized learning approach they can never get in a traditional classroom. Plus, you don’t need to worry about missing work due to family vacations or trips – you’re in charge of what your child learns and when.
Yet, with all these benefits, teaching is challenging no matter who is doing the lessons. That’s where quality curriculum comes in to help. With the right curriculum for your child, you can relieve anxiety around lesson planning and if you’re introducing concepts in the “right way.”
Choosing a Math Curriculum for Your Child
As you start looking for a math curriculum, remember there is no one size fits all “perfect” curriculum. Each child and family is different, and your goal is to find the best math curriculum for your child and your family. As a parent who cares about their child and their education, you can’t go wrong if you consider your child’s and your family’s needs.
When looking for a homeschool math curriculum, there are a few factors to consider, including:
- Your child’s age and grade level
- Your child’s learning style (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.)
- Your child’s current feelings about math
- Your confidence in teaching math and how much support you need
- Your budget for workbooks, teacher’s guides, and manipulatives
With these factors in mind, there are a few common programs to consider as you start your search.
Horizons Math is known for its “spiral learning” technique. With this technique, students are introduced to a new concept and then work on problems that increase in difficulty and focus on that concept. After days or weeks of focus on the idea, they move on to the next. However, the initial topic is continually brought back with new concepts, in a sense “spiraling” through the lessons.
The spiral technique builds confidence because students see an idea they have mastered in a new concept, helping them feel more sure about understanding the new topic. Focusing on diving deep into a concept means progress in new areas may go slow, but the goal is mastery, not speed. Each Horizons Math comes with workbooks, a teacher’s handbook, and worksheets. One of Horizons Math’s most significant benefits is that manipulatives are not required. Instead of purchasing items, the program suggests items in your home to use for lessons.
If you have a visual or kinesthetic learner in your household, RightStart Math is a great program to use. Its hands-on approach focuses on visualization over counting and emphasizes understanding place value. The key component of RightStart Math is its AL Abacus. This two-sided abacus is designed to help your child recognize quantities. Along with the AL Abacus, many pictorial representations help your child learn facts, yet the goal remains to establish deep understanding rather than memorization. RightStart employs the same spiral learning as Horizons Math.
RightStart is known for being relatively easy to teach, so if you’re anxious about teaching, this may be a good program for you. While it has many great options, they do increase the costs, making RightStart one of the more pricey homeschool math programs.
Singapore MOE Math (the Primary Mathematics series)
Primary Mathematics is a specific series that teaches the Singapore MOE Math method. Singapore MOE Math is a specific teaching strategy that, true to its name, came from Singapore. This method focuses on mental math and is excellent for logically-minded, sequential learners. Known for teaching strong concept mastery, Singapore Math uses world problems to build skills and help students take concepts off the page and into the real world.
The hallmark of Singapore Math is its three-step “CPA” – concrete, picture, abstract – method. Students are introduced to concepts with physical items, then through pictures, and finally via abstract representations like numbers or tally marks. This method is highly effective and is consistently ranked as one of the top teaching curriculums.
This method also focuses on mental math and is known for its “all-in-one” textbook/workbook. Called “worktext,” the workbook/textbook combo also replaces a teacher’s guide. Not much hands-on teaching is required for you as a parent, and there is a strong focus on concept mastery. Like Horizons Math, Math Mammoth teaches each new concept deeply to ensure understanding before moving on to the next topic. Mental math is also a big part of the Math Mammoth curriculum.
Math Mammoth is ideal for visual learners as it uses pictures and diagrams to teach. There is a strong emphasis on building number sense, a skill that benefits your child throughout their life. Lastly, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly homeschool math program, Math Mammoth is the best choice.
This hands-on program is driven by concepts and student understanding. Math-U-See uses a three-step approach to concepts with “Build It – Write It – Say It.” With this approach, your child will first depict the concept with manipulatives, then will write out problems numerically, and finally will explain how the problem should be solved. This multi-sensory, mastery-driven method is excellent for students who struggle with math as it helps them attack new concepts from multiple angles.
Remember – there is no “perfect” math program; it’s about what’s perfect for you and your family. After researching, select three to four programs that seem to fit your needs and do a deep dive. Talk to other homeschooling parents, read reviews, and, if possible, get some sample lessons to see how they play out in your household.
Once you find the right program, give yourself and your child space to adapt as needed. Remember that you may need to change or alter your program for different children or as your child grows. The goal is to provide your child with the tools that work best for them to learn and thrive. If you focus on that, you can’t go wrong. Happy teaching!