How to Select a Homeschooling Math Curriculum

Math Curriculum

Beginning with counting and progressing towards solving complicated equations, mathematics is a unique subject in that each year it builds upon previous knowledge much more than in any other subject. Complete math curriculum packages typically follow these progressions, but some circle back and review much more than others. Today there are textbook/workbook, online interactive and video based options available for all levels. In addition, there are story based math books that do an excellent job of teaching the application of math.

Most parents new to homeschooling believe they must follow a complete curriculum for every subject in order for their child to learn effectively. While a ready-made curriculum can certainly help achieve this goal, it can be expensive and not necessary. When studying math in particular, proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, time, money and measurement is the bulk of the knowledge required to be learned in grades preK-5th. All of these skills can be mastered with a generic workbook and time spent playing with manipulatives, and games. There are a wide range of options available to help students visualize and memorize math concepts. These options can be extremely motivating. Homeschooling does not have to be expensive and regimented to be effective.

In this post I will discuss complete curriculum options along with a few games and manipulatives. If you are interested in teaching math through games and activities I will be writing more on that in the near future.

Children working at 6th to 8th grade levels typically begin studying more abstract math such as preAlgebra, algebra and geometry. It is extremely common for homeschooling parents to become nervous at the prospect of teaching these subjects. Some families opt for the parent most knowledgeable in math to take over the math instruction at this point. Where as other families find programs where the children can work independently. To many this is a video-based or on-line math curriculum but many children work just as good independently from books.

Math curriculum for students in grades 9th through 12th becomes more advanced. Many students identify what type of career their future will hold and begin studying practical, household or business math where as others continue with the college-prep route of advanced mathematical coursework. There are options and support for each of these paths.

Highhill Education Approach - My Favorite Math Curriculum

We used very little math curriculum in the elementary school years and instead opted to play games and do activities. We started out with Uno for number recognition, then progressed to War to learn greater-than/less than. From there I taught them to play Black Jack 21. This game is great for addition. We also played adding war and learned the game of Cribbage. Cribbage is great for addition and also for learning strategy. Once were ready for multiplication I couldn't find a game. That's when I created the card game Speed! It teaches skip-counting which flows directly into multiplication and division. We did many more artsy math activities as well as other hands-on math activities, but these were the primary games we played on a daily basis to learn elementary math skills.

Once the kids were older we selected two complete math curriculums and did both of them for each subject. Yes, we did both Math-U-See algebra and Life of Fred algebra. We did both for geometry, and algebra II. For pre-calculus and calculus we continued with Life of Fred but found a traditional public school textbook instead of Math-U-See as the curriculum stops at algebra II. Traditional math programs tend to focus on the procedure of math and touch on the application without creating a sufficient understanding. Life of Fred is the opposite. It focuses on the application while introducing the calculations, but it doesn't have very much repetition. For that reason, I found my children were able to cover the second math book at a rapid pace. It both refreshed and enhanced their skills. My oldest is currently studying engineering, so I think this method worked for us.

Complete Math Curriculum

  • Math Seeds - preK-3rd, online, game based
  • Math-U-See - secular, K-12, uses manipulatives, DVD based, and highly visual
  • Right-Start Math - K-geometry, abacus, games
  • Saxon Math - Traditional, Christian math program, PreK-12, textbook based
  • Singapore - secular, Traditional, K-12
  • Teaching Textbooks - on-line, video based, animated, 3-11
  • Math Mammoth - Workbook/Textbook, K-12
  • Life of Fred - Literary based, complete math curriculum, shows application behind math, PreK-College, I particularly liked the pre-algebra II with economics as it introduced some business math concepts.
  • Math for Business and Life by Webber - 6th-12th, one year
  • Murderous Maths - secular, 5th-8th, Literary based math, chapter books
  • Mr. D Math - PreAlgebra-PreCalculus, online video, teacher contact available
  • Thinkwell - on-line, video based, one-year subscription, PreAlgebra-Calculus

Math Manipulatives and Games - Great for Kinesthetic Learners

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