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You are here: Home → Which math curriculum?
Choosing a homeschool math curriculum
Many homeschooling parents struggle with this exact question: which math curriculum should they use? Which one is the best?
But, is there a "right" answer or a "best" book? As long as the curriculum is of decent quality as far as the mathematical content, it is my view that the teacher is actually a more important part of a child's math education than the book:
From these it follows that...
Basically, the better teacher you are, the less the book matters - and vice versa. The less math you know, the better off you are a) learning math real quick, and b) finding a good solid basal curriculum.
So you do want to find the best math book you can - and that's all good! For starters, please read through these short descriptions of some math curricula, and notice how they vary.
A few popular math curricula used by homeschoolers
Saxon math is widely used among homeschoolers. It uses an incremental step-by-step spiral approach, which means in each new lesson, most of the exercises are review problems.
Math-U-See is a manipulative-based K-12 curriculum. Other programs use manipulatives too, but this one specializes in letting children 'see' the concepts first with manipulatives. It comes with teaching videos, too.
Horizons Math uses colorful books, and is a spiral program where each lesson contains exercises for several different topics.
Switched-On Schoolhouse is a computer-based curriculum by Alpha Omega publications.
Abeka Math is a part of Abeka full curriculum. It is again a spiral math curriculum.
Singapore Math is mastery-based. It emphasizes mental math methods and problem solving abilities.
RightStart Math is based on an abacus, manipulatives, and games. It emphasizes mental math methods and is mastery-based.
Modern Curriculum Press offers affordable and simple math workbooks for K-6. The instruction does not contain much explanations as to why something works.
Miquon Math books for grades 1-3 have activities that encourage observation, investigation, exploration, and discovery of patterns in math. Encourages creative thinking. May not have enough repetition, depending on child.
Harold Jacobs is a popular one for high school math (besides Saxon).
And there are many more programs, especially for the lower grades. Please see a more complete list and links to program descriptions and reviews in the main section.
How to choose
Some things that govern your choice are:
Then also read other people's reviews - we have quite a collection here at HomeschoolMath.net. In fact, we need your help! Why not post a review of how your current program is working with the kind of child you have.
What if the math book doesn't suit the student?
If you have been using any particular math curriculum and then find it does not quite work well, remember that it doesn't have to be your final choice. If you can afford it, simply buy a new program and try to sell the previous one.
But there are many things you can do even without investing into a new program. If you and your child are not happy with your current math book but can't or don't want to buy a new one, try these tips:
Remember: do NOT become a slave to the curriculum. The book is just a TOOL for teaching. Filling the book is not the purpose or goal of mathematics education. There are many other tools and ways to teach, too, such as games, explorations, projects - living math.