When it comes to homeschool math curriculum, it can be a little mind boggling as to how many different curricula are out there! I know that I feel that I am hearing about new ones every day. People want choices and want variety – as to whether it is online or paper. Child led or parent instruction. But it can get overwhelming to know where to start.
This is going to be in 2 parts as I could go over so many different homeschool math curriculum. I have narrowed it down. I want to talk about some that I have used or looked into with intent. These 4 that I look at today, and the 4 next week, do only scratch the tip of the iceberg, but I know that it is helpful to at least get knowledge of some.
For some families, I know that they can start using a math curriculum that has been highly recommended to them by others, or have even used it with older children in the family, but it isn’t quite working for you. It is totally ok to change up your curriculum. You have to keep your children engaged and wanting to do the lessons.
When looking at a curriculum you need to have your goals or wishes in mind. What do you want from it? Do you want it to be more hands-on? As your children get older do you want them to take the lead in doing the lessons? Do you want less or more involvement in the teaching? When you know the answer to these questions, you can more easily assess if the curriculum might be a good fit for you.
MATH U SEE
Math U See is a wonderful hands-on curriculum. One thing I appreciate is that it will use manipulatives all the way through to Algebra 1. For many children using different tools to see the math is a great way to reinforce what they are learning.
One thing to note is that Math U See doesn’t follow the typical steps of a school based curriculum. It is a skill mastery approach. You don’t move on until you have mastered a topic. It follows an “order” of learning rather than grade level learning. They do have a placement test to see where your child is at if you are starting out with Math U See.
The workbooks are plain. For many this is not an issue but I know that some children like color and pictures. It ultimately comes down to the child. The manipulatives are all colorful.
You do need the student workbooks and the test booklets. And don’t worry, they do come with answers for the parents. The lesson videos are important to proper learning. Parents do need to watch them too in order to fully understand the concepts. I really appreciate that there are subtitles for the hearing impaired.
Cost wise, it is not too prohibitive. You can get a level for under $200 with everything included. The manipulatives will serve you well through the levels.
SINGAPORE MATH – aka Primary Mathematics
This is a curriculum that I have taught, and I taught the Singapore version. There is a US edition of it, and that is known as Primary Mathematics. You can get them all through the website or other curriculum retailers.
This is a good, solid homeschool math curriculum (as well as a classroom curriculum) that has a strong foundation as you go through the levels. They aren’t the most visually exciting books, but they do the job well.
If your child is more of a logical thinker and likes to see things build in a progression, this is a good curriculum.
There is a placement test to see where your child should start. You can also get extra practice books, and there is even online assistance for the parents that shows you how to teach the lesson.
You do need to invest time in teaching the lessons, particularly in the early grades.
Cost wise you are not investing a large amount of money. You can purchase what you need per grade for around $100 to $150 (if you don’t want the extra practice books).
Saxon Math has different levels. The K-3 curriculum was not written by Saxon or Hawke but it does follow the same path of an incremental spiral approach where you introduce a concept or skill and then expand on it in later lessons.
Saxon Math K-3 uses a lot of manipulatives. It was originally written just for the classroom but was adapted for homeschooling. It does well in developing mathematical thinking.
Cost is around $90 to $140.
Saxon 5/4 and up is popular for how independent it is. There is a lot less time commitment for the parents. But some children struggle to teach themselves. There are teaching videos available but the Saxon ones are just whiteboard instruction and can be confusing at times for the children.
There are a lot of practice problems provided. For some children this is too much. Perhaps they need it, but often they don’t. As a parent you can say how many they do to show mastery.
In the upper levels, this is a good curriculum for students who can learn independently. For younger grades it is strong foundationally.
Cost wise for upper grade you are looking at about $120 for a complete grade set.
Horizons Math is produced by Alpha Omega Publications and is for K to 8th grade. It is a curriculum that you have to teach. As a parent you will need to spend time in preparation.
You might be tempted in upper grades to allow your children to work on their own, but this is designed to be taught. For children who are strong independent workers, this might not be the best curriculum for them.
Manipulatives are used throughout. This is a good thing. Many of them you can make yourself.
Horizons follows a repetition and review method, where you go over things until they become second nature. It is similar to Saxon math that has a spiral approach.
Cost wise you are looking at around $60 to $100 for manipulatives (based on the grade) and around $90 for the grade kit.
Stay tuned for next week, where I will look at four more homeschool math curriculum.
Interested in unschooling math? Here are some ways you can do just that.