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Horizons Math

Horizons Mathematics is another math curriculum for early grades from Alpha Omega publications, besides the Lifepacs. Lifepacs use the 'mastery' principle - student completely masters one concept before moving on to the next. But Horizons uses the spiraling approach: students work on several concepts at a time, reviewing them often. The workbooks are very colorful. From the publisher's website:

"Hands-on learning is included in every lesson through the use of manipulatives suggested in the teacher's guide. All material is presented in a 'spiral-learning' format. This is where a few concepts are introduced at a time as the material is reviewed and previous concepts are reinforced."

"Fundamental concepts previously obtained in earlier units are reviewed in subsequent grade levels for true mastery. Every math concept follows a general pattern of gradual development in all seven grade levels."

Student math sets for grades 1 - 6 are around $80/year, teacher handbook $50/year.

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Reviews of Horizons Math curriculum

Time: 3.5 months

Your situation: Yes that is right: 3.5 months for 3 years and my child is NOT academically gifted.

At PT conference teacher at public school adviced me my son was below expectations, midway through year in January. My child is not gifted! He is in second grade but was tested in kindergarten as teacher wasn't sure if should pass him (IQ was smack on 'normal' with FSIQ=100 for those who know what that mean).

I started him working 30 minutes per night in Horizon Math 1 (since his school gives no homework in second other than spelling words need to be learned by Friday). He did not know how to add single digits without counting and had no concept of time, money, or place value. So I agreed with teacher he was behind.

Midway through Horizon Math Grade 1 he was flying through lessons and so I ordered books for Grade 2 and Grade 3 (thinking to use Grade 3, book 1 over summer).

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Like: easy to do after school. Easy to teach but I'm a statistician so maybe others would need the teacher manuals. I did not buy them. Did 'its job': my son is past what teacher expects.

Dislikes: REPETITIVE! My son did every problem of every lesson in Grade 1 and in the Grade 2 Book 1. We did less than half problems on a page from Grade 2-2 that repeated material mastered in previous books--sometime skipping entire lessons and working at a clip of 6-10 pages in 30 minutes in Grade 2 Book 2 (but he did all the problems for new material such as every multiplication).

Any other helpful hints: Placement tests are misleading: 3 months ago he tested Kindergarten (as in did not pass the Grade 1 test). I started him in Grade 1. But after grade 1 he tested grade 4: I put him in grade 2 which was just right.

Once you kid completes a year consider skipping the first books of the next year. Then again maybe don't do them back to back.

Skip problems if gets to repetitive


Review left April 23, 2014
Time: first year

Your situation: I have triplets, I have always used A Beka in the past but had heard that it wasn't as good starting in 5th grade. So based on a recommendation of a friend I tried Horizons Math. I HATE it!

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The thing I dislike about it the most is it has cute little riddles. Well if you can figure out the riddle then you don't have to do the math.

It also doesn't give enough information on some things. For example my kids took the 7th test. It says round the dividend and the divisor. But it doesn't tell you where to round them, when in homework assignments it does tell you. So if you round the both of them in the 10s you would get it wrong because apparently you should round one of them in the 10s and the other in the 100s.

Also, the book just doesn't explain the new concepts well enough. I wish I would have stayed with A Beka!

Any other helpful hints: Sorry I do not recommend this curriculum.

Chelle Greene

Review left April 19, 2013
Your situation: We have used all grade levels currently offered by Horizons math, including the new 7th grade level. At present (2013) we are using 4 different grade levels. Yes, these books are advanced by most standards.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Likes: Solid curriculum. Spiral method. Good variation in exercises. The level and depth of instruction in the student books advances with each grade level. Overall all, good curriculum

Dislikes: K-2:Introduces some topics too early for many learners. Some of the topics like calendars, clocks, money, etc. are introduced before the learner has an understanding of their value. For instance, the average 4-5 yr old has only basic awareness of time and money. So yes, they can be taught the clock and money and things like that, but it doesn't mean they really comprehend its value. It would be like teaching multiplication facts to a 6 yr old, yes they can memorize them and spew out the facts, but it doesn't mean they grasp the concept. Additionally, basic concepts like addition and subtraction although thoroughly reviewed are sometimes in need of a more simple straightforward review all by themselves(The variation in exercises sometimes needs to be limited so the learner can concentrate and conquer that topic.) One more thing (a personal preference), the use of the number line is overly utilized in the beginning. I do not prefer this method, but it expected to be used. (A learner can easily become too dependent upon it.) There are a few more specific teaching tools this curriculum uses, that are not necessarily for everyone, but the teacher has to decide what is best and learn to skip or do things differently to accommodate the particular learner.

Grades 3-5: Some lessons are a bit lengthy and can be time consuming. Lessons can range from 2-3 pages (mostly 3) and 40 min to 1 1/2 hr. Again, every day a new concept is introduced and practiced followed by review of old material. Occasionally there could be more practice of the new concept. Some explanations require more teacher assistance and demonstration, but this is to be expected.

Grades 6-7: Overall very fast. As the difficulty of concepts increases with each grade level often the learner needs a bit more practice than what is allocated. These 2 years (especially 7th) can be frustrating if you have a slower learner. Because a new concept is introduced every lesson there is no way for the learner to grasp and retain every new concept before they go on to the next lesson. Occasional review only days would be extremely helpful. My students often complain they just can't remember everything because they are constantly learning something new. (Positive or negative? you decide.)

All grades K-7: Again these books are overall very good, the biggest negative is that this curriculum tries it incorporate EVERY concept it can into each grade level (Some may view this as a positive). By doing this some concepts are crammed into the curriculum with insufficient initial practice. Most all learners will learn from these books. A lot will be retained as well, but not all. They often need more practice right away as they are learning something new than what these books provide before they go on to review older topics. Additionally, some topics, maybe like base 2 numbers and a few things like that could wait until later years.

Any other helpful hints: Helpful hints:

K-2: Do not try to teach everything in the book. Do not expect your child to learn everything in the beginning. Think of it as more "exposure" or "introduction." The concepts are so very much repeated til the student will eventually get it on their own due to repetition. Stress what you feel is important. (Counting by 2's with odd numbers, like 3,5,7, 9, - really, is that necessary in kindergarten? - again, you decide. You may skip some exercises but do not skip too many, if needed just give the answer and go on the next set of problems. Surprisingly, just giving the answer to the student over and over eventually pays off.Also, don't be so quick to judge what was or was not learned in a particular grade level based solely upon the curriculum. Some things just may not click for another year. Is it so bad that certain concepts like counting by 5's isn't mastered in kindergarten. What if it is not memorized until 2nd grade? What harm is that? Be realistic.

3-5: There is no specific drill for multiplication facts, so if you want this, make flashcards or copy worksheets. However, again due to repeated use, the multiplication eventually comes to be memorized. (I have never forced memorization as eventually they become memorized through repeated use. Students keep a copy of the facts at their desk. As time goes, they look for the answer less and less until they have it memorized.)Overall, these grades go fairly well except for the complaint of some lengthy lessons. There is a lot of concepts taught including a heavy area on shapes (perhaps this is a bit too in depth at times), but overall good. Every 10 lessons there is a test (same format for all grade levels) and often you may totally switch gears into something different from one set of 10 lessons to the next. (It seems shapes are just thrown into every year of this curriculum at no particular time or logical sequence, but it still works out - just a bit odd.)

6-7: This is my biggest beef... definitely goes fast in that you seem to always be learning something new and never slow down enough to really master it before you are on to the next topic. There are really good worksheets to go along with some/most lessons, but then there becomes a real issue of time to go with these. These grades take 45 min on a short day and up to 2 hrs on a long day. It is already a dreaded subject just due to length, so adding worksheets is unrealistic. Best case scenario you would do a new lesson 1 day followed by the worksheet the next day. This would be the most amazing curriculum if it was so designed. But until then... you have to figure what works best. It is difficult with 160 lessons, 16 tests, 4 quarter tests, and 2 semester exams to add extra work days if you want to complete these books in a year. 6th grade has a lot of focus on fractions (this is good, but they failed to really emphasize reducing fractions in the beginning). This is one of our hang-ups. 7th grade - ah, finally a teachers manual that actually shows you how to work out each problem (K-6 only gives the answers). This is extremely beneficial (especially since a good portion of this I never even heard of... leaf and stem diagrams, what? - well, now I know). This grade covers a very wide range of topics and could use a little bit more focus in basic algebra in the beginning, but it is still thorough. Final note: The good news, you basically have no choice but to learn from these books. They have their quirks, but they are designed for learning. My students have a love/hate relationship with these books. The workboods are appealing, the lengthy lessons are appalling, the fast pace is sometimes too much, but at other times just right (it never errs on the side of too slow),but they have all learned.


Review left January 12, 2013
Time: 5 years

Your situation: Homeschooling 3 kids

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Liked: Colorful, puzzles and Biblical ideas throughout the books makes it attractive to some kids.
Disliked: All the errors in the answer guides, no access to errata, layout of answers differs from layout of questions in all grades, except for Pre-Algebra which was a drastic improvement. Some inconsistencies in notation, especially in answer guides, can cause problems to parents not well versed in Maths.

Ferdi Louw

Review left November 19, 2012
Time: 6 years

Your situation: I have 3 boys. With the first we tried many math programs before we were advised to try Horizon. #1 son went from a poor math student to an excellent math in one year. I tried my younger 2 sons in Horizon and they both do very well with it. (I have not had that experience with other subjects/programs - as they have different learning styles) I love Horizon math!

Why you liked/didn't like the book: At times the pace is fast. I have had to get books out of the library on fractions or other concepts at times. Overall though the books work in such a way as the math teaches itself. I love how the sections break up the work into manageable chunks.

I would love to see a Horizon 7. I am finishing up level 6 with #1 son and I am not looking forward to searching for some other program that will work. Any suggestions on where to go from Horizon 6?

Any other helpful hints: Take the placement test. Don't worry if the level number does not match up with your child's grade level. Horizon is very advanced! My sons all test far above grade level every year in math after doing Horizon. Horizon 5 matched up with another popular program's level 7... concept for concept! I was shocked when I saw that.

Kelli van Avery

Review left March 11, 2012
Time: 4 years

Your situation: Though I no longer teach in a public school, I am a certified secondary math teacher and have a master's degree. I initially chose Horizons because it suited my own learning preferences (challenging pace, spiral, practicing only a limited number of similar problems daily, working on multiple different concepts per day to avoid boredom). My two daughters, now in 3rd and 1st grades, have used Horizons Math exclusively since kindergarten. My girls have two very different learning styles and personalities, but Horizons has served each of them well.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: Pros: My daughters have both excelled with Horizons Math and are very strong math students now. I am pleased with the challenging pace, reasonable quantity of work in each lesson, and thorough review.
Cons: As other reviewers have mentioned, the teacher's manual does not provide any explanation about how to teach the material. This hasn't been a problem for me yet, but it could definitely be frustrating if the parent wants guidance in this area.

Any other helpful hints: It is easy to let your child focus all his/her attention on completing the workbook pages, but it is essential to do the drill work described in the teacher's book. I regret that I have neglected to work through each whole lesson plan.


Review left February 4, 2012
Time: 1.5 years

Your situation: My youngest son did extremely well with the 3rd grade book and we were very excited to get onto 4th! but...

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I noticed the review was going on and on and on and he was glazing over...so i just gave him the first 4 tests, which he aced and started using the book at about lesson 45. I couldn't be more disappointed. He's ready to learn new skills and they are basically not there. Some pages are all picture with very very little work. Some pages don't have space to do the work. They end 3rd with a bit of long division and then 4th doesn't pick that up until lesson 62. Even the extra practice doesn't seem line up with the lessons. I don't get it!

We're just skipping through and picking out problems here and there that have merit and will probably switch to saxon mid year. boo-hoo and shame on you Horizons! 3rd was SO great! Learned my lesson though...i learned not to suggest an entire publisher just because I loved one year.

Any other helpful hints: Great for k-3...but 4th does not have many new skills taught. May work well for a child who hasn't come up through k-3 but not if they have.

Lisa Cox

Review left September 16, 2011
Time: 2 years

Have 3 children and started off homeschooling from K level. I researched all different math courses from Saxon to Singapore to Math-U-See and many others. We decided on Horizons and absolutely love it. My children are moving through with great ease. They love the colorful pictures and pages and find it to be lots of fun. Great bonus for me!

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Love the books in K and now in 1st grad level too. We will be staying with Horizons right through.

I didn't like the teachers quide so much.... just really didn't use it at all. Maybe that will change as we get up in the years, but for the lower grades, it's really not something I think you need.

Any other helpful hints: Look at all the peole who love it! It really is a wonderful program to use. It moves at a good pace, reviews constantly without being boring and has wonderful color and fun pages to view while you work.

Review left September 26, 2010
Time: 14 years
I have been a homeschool mom for 15 yrs and have had opportunity to experience a wide range of curriculum. Horizons math would be my choice every time. Two of our children have graduated homeschool and we are starting our last child this year.

I love how easily the lessons go from one concept to another. It provides plenty of practice for each concept and reviews often for mastery. My children easily went from book 6 to Pre-Algebra.

I like to add manipulatives and some computer work for "fun", however the curriculum is complete without it.

Review left August 22, 2010
Time: 3 years

As a former grade school teacher I was looking for an easy to use curriculum that was also very motivating for the student. I found that with Horizons. Each lesson provides an introduction to a concept and review and practice with other concepts. Just enough problems to not wear the kids out. Like other reviewers I also often limit the number of problems the kids have to do with the review concepts. They think they are getting a reward (which in a way they are.) New concepts they do all, review they do some. Then if they struggle with the review problems I have the rest of the problems to work with them if needed.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I love the spiral approach. I actually switched curriculum last year due to the different schooling program we were using. It was more mastery based. I have had to go back to Horizons and I am using the book 2 of the grade level that they just completed. They need the review. I will not switch again until my oldest finishes with her 6th grade. I LOVE HORIZONS. I have used all grades (I have 4 kids.) I would recommend it for everyone. My daughters never fight me when it is time for their math now, which they have with the other curriculum.

Any other helpful hints: I never use the teacher's manuals. I can buy just the student books and do just fine. I love that the kids can write in the workbooks (unlike other programs that go to textbooks in the older grades.) Plus the price for the workbooks is very reasonable.

Review left May 11, 2010
Time: 4 years

I have used Horizons K-3 and have been pleased. However, I was concerned that Horizons was too easy so I recently began researching other curriculums (Singapore and Saxon were tops on my list). After extensive research and my boys had taken both placement tests, I realized just how good and strong a curriculum Horizons is. My boys placed effortlessly at grade level with Singapore Math and 1 grade level above Saxon (and we're not even finished with the school year!). At my husband's (math major) encouragement, I will keep Horizons as our core math curriculum, but will supplement with Singapore Math due to it's strong word problems which develop great analytical skills and critical thinking development.

My one dilemma now is whether to purchase Horizons 4 or 5 for next year for my current 3rd grader. I have heard Horizons 4 is basically a repeat of level 3 just with greater number values. My husband suggests we skip "the year of review" as to not bore our son. We want to keep the passion for learning alive in him. From the looks of the sample sheets for level 4 it does appear to be a review year. Hmmm...what to do?

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: My boys (3rd, 2nd, K) have enjoyed Horizons Math each year. New concepts are gradually introduced, but taught at a reasonable pace. I would almost say this is a "self-taught" curriculum, and requires very little time on my part which then frees me up to help the other children in our growing family. I teach new concepts when the boys can't figure them out on their own (which they like to do). My boys love the colorful pages and characters. And I'm very pleased with all the graph work, beginning algebra and geometry, and fractions they do in these early grades. I strongly believe Horizons is a well-rounded math curriculum.

My boys sometime complain that there is a lot of review (chapter dependent), but if I agree w/them then I simply cross out what I believe they have mastered and let them move on. I will admit math comes naturally to the oldest two and my kindergartener "gets it" when I supplement with manipulatives (as needed, but not always).

Any other helpful hints: Though myself and others claim this curriculum is advanced, don't let that sway you from it. The material is presented in such a gradual and easy to understand way that you won't even realize it's advanced... I never did, until my boys took placement tests for other curriculums.

Review left April 20, 2010
Time: one year

Your situation: Homeschool 2 boys, 1st and 3rd grade. 3rd grader nicely focused, 1st grader a "Wiggly Willy!"

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I loved the layout of the student books- brightly colored, spiral method, etc. In fact, it is the perfect math curriculum EXCEPT for the teacher's book! It is in a 3 ring binder where the pages get torn, fall out, and have to flipped back and forth for the lesson section and answer key section. I feel there is little guidance on HOW to teach a new topic. Maybe it's just me, but a little more instruction on the HOW behind the problems would have been much more helpful. We will switch next year, hopefully to find a more "user friendly" teacher's manual.

Kristen LaValley
Review left March 19, 2010
Time: 6 months

I homeschool two of my children (the younger two are 7 months and 3 years old and my oldest has Down's syndrome). Too much bullying in public school.

My 1st grader is doing really well using the books. I really don't need the teachers manuel for her. My third grader is very good at understanding math concepts but doesn't like to do the work. I agree with one of the above entries that it doesn't give clear explanation of how to teach some of the concepts. Also some of the excersises in the workbooks don't make much sense at all and there was no explanation in the teachers manual for them either. Otherwise, I like the repetion because it enables them to master the math concepts and revisits it later so they don't learn something and then forget.

Review left March 2, 2010
Time: 14 years

I have homeschooled two children K-12, who now are half-way through college. One child still is being homeschooled. I have taught Horizons math at all levels. Other programs were used, at times, depending on the child's needs/abilities.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Horizons math is my favorite K-6 math program. Material covered is more advanced (for corresponding "grade label" on the cover) than that of many other programs. Reminds me of my own strong math education received in an urban public school many years ago. (I am nearly 55.) The teacher manuals may appear, at cursory glance, unnecessary. Buy them anyway, because the daily lessons include needed skills practice not specified in the workbooks.

I strongly agree with posters who describe the popular competitor product (the one also advertising "spiral learning") as inadequate. My two sons (those now in college) complained specifically about the woeful lack of "in chapter" practice for a new concept.

Any other helpful hints: Horizons is NOT well suited for students with math learning disabilities. I left the program with reluctance because my current student was diagnosed with severe math LDs. I then understood her struggles with Horizons. For most other students, however, I automatically recommend the program, whenever asked for my opinion.

Review left January 27, 2010
Time: 3 years

I started using the Horizons math for my second son when he started Kindergarten, and he is now in second grade working on the third grade math book. I wish I had found these books when I started homeschooling my eldest son.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I love the colorful illustrations, which makes learning math for my son fun. They have just enough problems for the new concepts to sink in, but not overwhelm my son. I haven't bought the teachers manual, and don't think they are needed, as I can correct the math problems myself fast enough. You may want the teachers manuals for the extra worksheets, although, I find my son catches on just fine without them. I've noticed that some people encourage the purchase of the teachers manuals to help you teach the concepts, but my son has very little problems figuring out what he is suppose to do on his own. When he does, I can easily teach him the new concept within minutes. I have heard these are suppose to be advanced math books, but I think they are right on schedule.

Any other helpful hints: At the begining of every school year I test my children to see what math level they have achieved, and I find they can skip the first book of the next grade level. They offer free math placement tests online at: https://www.aophomeschooling.com/diagnostic-tests-horizons.php

Review left January 20, 2010
Time: 7 years

I have used Horizons math for both of my children. Since they both started in Kindergarten, I didn't realize it was advanced until I'd been using it a few years.

I liked the balance of new information and review. For us there were just enough problems in each lesson to catch on with out being overwhelmed, especially with tougher concepts. Then a few each day for practice. My daughter may skip straight to Pre-Algebra after finishing 6th grade.

I wish it continued past 6th grade. I am looking for something to use next year. I buy the Teacher Manual and use something out of it every year. It's great for quickly checking answers. We use some worksheets and drills. 4th grade is probably the hardest: all that dividing! Using all the extra worksheets would be too much, but I guarantee your child would know the math.

Review left March 4, 2009
Time: 3 years
Grades: K and 1st grade

I homeschool my son (6) and daughter(8). We have used Horizons Math since we started homeschooling.

With my daughter, I started her in the Kindergarten book in Kindergarten, and we only got through the 1st half of the workbook. In 1st grade, we finished the 2nd Kindergarten workbook and then moved on to the first half of the 1st grade one. She is now in 2nd grade, and finishing up the 1st grade workbook and will be into the 2nd grade one by the end of the year. I feel like the curriculum is advanced, especially compared to public school work.
My son who is in 1st grade is working on the first half of the first grade workbook right now, so on our schedule, he is actually a bit ahead compared to my daughter.
They both love it, there is just the right amount of work, variety, and repetitiveness all in one. They sometimes will even snuggle into bed and do worksheets on the weekends!
I am even learning things about Math by reading the teacher's manual (like why we carry numbers!) We especially like how inexpensive it is! Great quality.

Review left February 26, 2009
Time: 4 years

I switched fully to Horizons when my oldest was in 2nd and my next was in 1st. My oldest hated the worksheets but it was perfect for my next child. I simply filled in extra hands on or white board activities for the older child which eased him into it.

I love the ease of use of these workbooks. I admit I only used the teacher manual to quickly correct worksheets but didn't use suggested lesson plans unless necessary. For levels 1-3 I thought the information was sufficient and worksheets appropriate. Hitting level 4 has had a different effect. It is suddenly a LOT more work and the concepts are much harder as you get into division. My son is really struggling at this pace. Also, there is simply not enough space to complete the division problems comfortably. I'm still researching what to do for next year if we need to switch.

I learned that the spiral learning and repetition part is excellent but have also learned not to bother making my kids do every problem if they know how to complete them. This just burns them out. Now I give only a few problems in a section or eliminate whole sections which they just think is a bonus! We focus instead on the new concept being presented.

Review left January 28, 2009
Grade levels:K-6
Time: 14 years
This is our fourteenth year of homeschooling. Horizons is one of the math curricula which we have used, successfully. In general, when asked for a K-6 recommendation, I suggest Horizons.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: The spiral approach works for most students. Unlike a different (but VERY popular) math curriculum which bills itself as relying on the spiral approach, Horizons provides sufficient practice of the new concept(s) within each lesson. (The competing curriculum provides so scanty an introduction and practice of each concept, that my children did not learn.) The workpages are decorative, but are not distractingly "busy". (I have two children with ADHD, so this is a consideration.)

Any other helpful hints: It is tempting to eschew the teacher manuals. Think carefully before doing so, however. You may not need the concept explanations for math at this elementary level, but you do need the complete lesson plans, which include "background drill" such as practicing skip counting verbally, completing supplemental drill sheets, and so forth. These additional activities are what "flesh out" the lessons.

Again, for the K-6 levels, I recommend the use of Horizons math, along with the drills from CalcuLadders.

Review left November 12, 2008

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I LOVED IT BECAUSE MY DD LEARNED SO FAST!


Review left May 1, 2008
Grade levels:K and 3 >Time: This is our first year

Your situation: I had used Saxon in the past, and my older daughter was bored with the repetition. I switched to Singapore Math for second grade, and she liked it okay, but I felt like I needed more structure. (I missed that about Saxon). We started Horizons this year (third grade), and I use it for my younger daughter.

I like the colorful illustrations, and the variety of different concepts in each lesson. Even though they repeat often, it's mixed up enough that it doesn't become boring.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: My biggest problem is that I need to be able to explain the concepts to the kids, and there isn't any help in that area. There are teaching tips and guidelines to take you through what to do each lesson. However, there is no explanation on how to teach the concepts. I liked that about Saxon. While I know how to do the work, I don't know how to explain it on their level.

We will probably go back to Saxon next year for that reason.

If you are great at explaining Math concepts - this is a great program. If you need more guidance in that area, I suggest you try something else.

Kristy T.
Review left October 23, 2008
Time: 5 years

My oldest used Miquon for K-1. After realizing he did not know any math facts (3+5, etc.) without rods in his hands, I wanted a different curriculum. We switched to Horizons, having to start back in 1 because he was not ready for 2 due to the bad start in Miquon. He did 1, 2, & 3 over 2 years.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I really liked this for 1-3 (my youngest is in K now, and that is good), however, I found the pace of 4 just unreal. He is reasonably bright in math, but especially the pace of fractions was way too fast. I would plan on doing all the extra workbook assignments, and maybe extra practice and slow this down (it already was taking him 1 hour a day to do it with extra work) or switch. The reason I liked it was that I could assign a lesson and he could pretty much do it himself. Having to back up, slow down, and add it extras, removes this.

Any other helpful hints: Great for K-3, but then pace gets too fast.

Review left March 27, 2008
Time: 2 years

We knew before we even had children that we'd homeschool, and when our daughter was born and ready for Kindergarten we purchased one of those complete curriculums from an online homeschool store. It included Horizons math, and we really loved it.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: It was very challenging, but reviewed everything over and over again.

Any other helpful hints: I didn't use the teachers manual last year in Kindergarten, but referred to it often this year (1st grade). They have extra worksheets that we used for homework. We'll definitely use it again next year.

Review left March 26, 2008
Grade levels: Kindergarten Time: 9 months

I am a 1st time homeschooler with no experience and I find the Horizon book easy to get through for this grade level. It's colorful and allows extra handwriting practice. My only trouble with it is that it is very challenging early on. My 6 yr old doesn't seem to have trouble completing it, but needs my help and doesn't really "get it" before moving on to a new concept. I have only worked on book 1 and am considering saving book 2 to use for first grade because it moves so fast. I am also considering changing math curriculum completely since I've never tried anything else. My niece is a second grader in public school and doing the same math as my kindergartner!

Liked it because it's colorful and has great pictures.
Didn't like it because it is very challenging and moves quickly before my child "got it".
This is not for a slow learner, in my opinion.

Review left March 7, 2008
Grade levels: K-2
Time: 1 year 6 months

I started using Horizons Math K when my son was four(he is now six). I knew I wanted to homeschool him when he was already starting to read at four and could count well past 100. I saw the Horizons workbooks in a catalog. I was a little anxious, because I didn't know what to expect. I held my breath, and took the plunge.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I have been absolutely thrilled with the math. When I first looked at even the kindergarten math, I thought it would be far to difficult for my son, but he has really surprised me. He's in first grade now and the work is so easy for him that we end up skipping alot of the busy work. He loves the variety, and every so often I hear "Oooooh! We haven't done that kind yet!" My brother in-law, who is a teacher in a private school, tells me my son is doing second grade work by their school's standards. I'm so glad that I had atleast presented him with the challenge. I use the book now mostly as a guide just to make sure we don't miss anything in the learning process, and there's plenty of practice if he needs it. We've been moving through 1st grade math so fast that we'll probably start 2nd grade math before summer is here. I really believe much of the credit should be given to the fact that the colors, the puzzles, and the simplified format look so exciting and fun. He is happy doing his schoolwork.

Any other helpful hints: I do understand some parents frustration with the spiral learning, because of all the busy work, but I would suggest just using what you need from the books and leave the rest. The important thing is that your child learns, is presented with enough challenges to keep his little mind busy, and is having fun with it along the way.

Review left March 7, 2008
Grade: 3
Time: 5 months

I homeschooled my son last year using Math-U-See, which we loved. This year my son is at a new school that meets two days/week with the remaining 3 days at home. Horizons 3 is the math book the school has chosen to use for 3rd Grade.

We have found this book to be somewhat confusing for my 3rd grader. Perhaps we have found it more difficult because we have not been using Horizons from the beginning.

The primary struggle is that we never feel my son has mastered a concept before a new one is introduced. He is currently working on lessons that include Roman numerals, fractions, decimals, multiplication, division, distances, weights and measures, and monetary currency all at once. My son gets frustrated and confused by all the jumping around within each lesson. We have found that my son does much better if we take one concept at a time, stay with it until it's mastered, then move on.

I certainly believe there is a place for "spiral learning" but this book seems to "spiral" a bit too quickly for us.

Each parent must know his/her child's learning style and then find a curriculum that works well given their situation. This book may be wonderful for those children who need the change and the challenge of studying many concepts at once. However, this is not the case with my son.

Time: 2nd year

We decided to try homeschooling last year (kindergarten) with my daughter. We were new to the homschooling scene so we just went with the math program that Sonlight suggested, Horizions math.

We love Horizon Math. It is just right for my daughter. It does just enough of each concept in each lesson for them to get it but not to much at a time so they dont get bored. It is a bit more advanced than the 1st grade Saxon Math I've seen. My daughter likes how colorful and interesting each page is. The teachers manuals even early on are helpful. They made it easier for a mom new to homeschooling to be able to teach whats needed. It also gives lots of ideas for manipulatives and suggestions on ways to explain the lesson.

Any other helpful hints: Horizons does uses a lot of flash card drilling so get a bunch of blank cards and read ahead so you can make, or buy the cards needed. For kids that need to move a bit slower or need more focused drill Saxon may be a better fit.

Time: 1 year

Your situation: First year home-schooling. 3 kids - 3 different math books
Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I loved it's systematic approach to each new concept. My trouble was not keeping up with the reading it would introduce (i.e. numbers written out, days & months). Found it to be very well rounded and nicely paced

Any other helpful hints: I agree with the other entries about not needing the teachers manual in the early grades. I barely used mine and that's what most of the money goes towards when you buy the package.

C Walker
Time: 7 years

I love Horizons math for many reasons!

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Pros: Teaches to each learning style. I have 2 kids who love workbooks and are auditory and visual learners. Althoug this text is advanced, their organized manner made it a breeze. My middle daughter is 100% kinesthetic or hands on learner. I used Horizons for all 3, focusing more on the teachers manual tips and activities for the hands on learner. We would do a lot of the workbook with manipulatives only. Very colorful and wonderful spiral method used. Very good progression toward independent learning by including a little more student text at the top of the page each year until they were eventually reading the lesson independently, telling me what they had learned, then doing the workbook. Great detailed progression for flashcards in the teachers manual.

Recommend: Get the teachers manual for many important instructions to assist your child in understanding concepts and to do flashcards in a very detailed, progressive manner that made learning a breeze. All the teaching tasks for your hands on learners are in the teachers manual. No special manipulatives required. Can use what you have at home(popcorn, they provide sheet to copy for ones, tens, hundreds sticks).

Cons: Heavy in flashcard drills use grade 3, but I liked the attention to this important part of math. We varied between flashcards and "wrap ups" for variety.

Susan Taylor
Grade levels used: K,1,2
Time: 3 years

Your situation: We have used Horizons from the start when a friend told us about it. We have been looking at some other math programs because we like to have what is the best fit for our children but so far have not found anything better. Our youngest takes about 10 min to finish an entire lesson, and our oldest takes up to an hour.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I love all the different topics worked on and reinforced each day. New concepts are introduced gradually so they are not hard to grasp. I feel there is too much repetition; for our younges it is just busy work, our oldest does about half of each section and only completes the remainder if he needs more practice. The quizzes are much easier than the preceding work so they are not a good test as to how your child is doing.

Any other helpful hints: I feel this is similar to Saxon but concepts are introduced earlier. As of yet I have not needed the teacher's manuel although there have been a couple activities we have been unable to figure out how to do. I did notice that our oldest is having trouble memorizing the multiplication (as well as addition) facts so we have supplemented with some Family Math activitis. Every once in a while there is a concept one of them doesn't understand so I take the time to teach the concept at a later date using a hands on approach. Both of our children complete their lessons independently. Supervision is only needed to keep them focused, but very little help is actually needed.

Time: 4 years

We started out with Bob Jones math and quickly switched to Horizons. I have used it now for almost 4 years.

I love this math with the exception of the instructions (I haven't used a teachers manual- although I am about to purchase one). My daughter loves the colorful pictures.

Any other helpful hints: I would say that the one bad thing is the instructions. Things are not made clear in the workbooks. You have to guess. Even my mathematical husband has a hard time figuring out what they are saying.

Time: 1.5 years

Your situation: I have a child who would be in Kindergarten in Public schools because of a December birthday but was reading some on his fourth birthday. We started homeschooling in Kindergarten when he was 4.5 using Horizons Math and Phonics.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Pros: While this curriculum is advanced, my child had no problems grasping concepts and completing the work. While this program is not intended to be handed to the child to work alone, as soon as my son could read the directions with ease, he does his math himself. I check over it as soon as he is finished and go over anything he missed or has questions on. Time taken to complete a lesson:10-20 minutes and sometimes less than that.

Cons: Teachers manual leaves a lot to be desired. Concepts are to be taught but the manual doesn't tell you how to teach them. I gave up on the manual half way through kindergarten and didn't even purchase it for first grade.

Any other helpful hints: I used free printable math charts to color in skip counting and we sing silly songs or make up rhymes to go along with the counting. The best way to teach concepts with boys is with a bag of chips or package of cookies. There are many days that my math lessons are during lunch or sitting at the table during snack time. Overall, the worksheets have guided me on what material to cover with my son. I wish they would continue it past sixth, but I am not going to worry about switching until then. To have my newly turned 6 year old writing fractions, telling time, and solving word problems in his head is more than I would expect from a child, but I have learned that I should never underestimate what a person is capable of.

Time: 3 years

Your situation: I used it with my oldest three children. My daughter is a visual learner and liked the colorful pages and actiities, but as the concepts got harder she began to falter and feel confused. She says she hates that it switches from topic to topic in each lesson. My son is an auditory learner and there are no descent explinations for him in the teacher's manual for me to share on more complicated topics. Our third is totally tactile and could not care less about the colorful pages, but feels frustrated by the skipping around to different topics in each lesson. They all have shared that they do not feel like they are getting math very well. So we are searching for a new curriculum.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I liked the colorful pages and cheerful way it presents math, but did not feel like we were getting very good explinations. If the parent/teacher is comfortable with math and teaching math this would be a really good choice. I recieved poor math instruction as a child and need more help in teaching this to my children.

Natalie Bias
Time: 2 months

Your situation: We have just switched to Alpha Omega's math curricula

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I have been frustrated with the teacher's guide. There are many wrong answers. They also seem to spend a lot of time on things that seem quite easy to my son and seem to spend less time on the more difficult concepts. I have stopped using the answer keys because I have found at least one error on almost every lesson, especially with my daughter's 6th grade curriculum. We switched to this because my daughter was getting bored with Saxon, but I think that we will be back with Saxon next year. Saxon does a much better job at explaining concepts and I can count on the answer keys being correct. It takes me a lot more time to figure all of the problems myself. I have 4 children that I am schooling and I just don't have the extra time.

Any other helpful hints: The graphics are very nice and they have little games and things like this to keep up the students interest, which is what my daughter was wanting, but some of the explaining is missing. If you only have one child that you are schooling, this is a fine curriculum. Be prepared to grade the work yourself, without much help from the flawed answer keys.

Jill Meredith
Grade levels used:  2
Time: 4 months

We finished Saxon 2 last year and were burned out on it, so we decided to try Horizons 2 (we picked level 2 because Saxon is slower, and Horizons is advanced).

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: My daughter loves the workbooks because of the puzzles and colorful pictures. I don't miss the scripted format of the Saxon teacher's manual, but I think that Horizons goes to the opposite extreme. The teacher's manual is not a lot of help at all, except for giving the answers to check the student's work and materials to have on hand for the lesson. Saxon teacher's manual gives you a specific way to "teach" a concept and gives you lots of little tricks to help the children remember how to solve different problems. Horizons manual basically just says things like, "Drill the subtraction facts 1-18 with flash cards," or "Count out loud with students by 9's to 108." This is fine, but I miss the activities that are written into Saxon's manual. For example, for skip counting, Saxon gives you fun ideas like using clapping patterns, and for counting by 10's, Saxon gives you a fun rap, "I can count by 10's because in math, I'm great! I can count by 10's and I'll start with 8... 8, 18, 28, 38, etc." Horizons will tell you to make flashcards for different topics like measurement conversions, but the manual won't tell you how to write out the flashcards, you just have to figure it out... this is not a big deal, but it does take up extra time! Overall, excepting the teacher's manual, we like Horizons a lot... it moves very quickly but is not impossible for the grade level its publisher intended it for. My daughter is in 2nd grade and we are doing the 2nd grade curriculum and it's challenging, but not too much.

Any other helpful hints: If you have used Saxon or another slower curriculum and you are considering using Horizons, go back a grade level. If you like your lessons scripted and need lots of ideas for teaching a concept, go with Saxon. If you're child gets overstimulated with too much color and "busyness," you may want to try something different like Saxon or Math-U-See because the Horizons workbooks are very "busy." Horizons, Abeka, and Saxon all use spiral/incremental approach which can be frustrating for some...but I think this approach is great because it doesn't allow you to "forget" how to do things....it continually reviews the same concepts throughout the year.

Grade levels used:  K-3
Time: 3 years

We homeschool two bright youngsters who are now in 1st and 3rd grades. This is not a terribly challenging curriculum BUT my children have the fundamentals DOWN.

Overall we are very pleased with Horizons. Unlike some traditional curriculums, you don't spend the first 8 weeks on number sense and then never see it again. Highly repetitive. Very focused on drills and fact memorization.

We especially like the fact that there are just enough problems for the student to "get" the concept, but not so many it becomes cumbersome. Worksheets are provided in case a student needs extra review on a concept. Tests come every ten lessons (for us every 2 weeks). Tests are comprehensive.

Student books come in a consumable color workbook. Very colorful with artwork. Typically each lesson has 4-5 sections for 1st grade and 6-8 for say 3rd grade.

It's one major area of weakness is the quality of story problems. The problems do not challenge my students enough. "One-Dimentional"

BUY THE TEACHERS MANUAL AND WORKSHEETS. You can not see the full benefits of this curriculum without the teacher's manual and student worksheets. (Student worksheets are in the teacher's manual or can be purchased seperately).

This curriculum is not designed for students to do on their own. Directions on the consumable workbook are sparse.

S. Hartness
Grade levels used:  1-2
Time: 1 year

This has worked so well for my son that I have recommended it to other parents. My son has a very short attention span and has found this spiraling format to be the least frustrating of the ones we have used so far. He is easily distracted by too many graphics, or by those that are to intensely integrated into the math problems themselves. Horizons seems to have achieved just the right balance between making pages visually pleasant and the minimization of visual clutter and distraction.

The q10lesson testing plan is well designed. The frequency has not proven to be too burdensome. And the tests themselves do not deviate at all from the format of the lesson pages, so my son accomplishes them with absolutely no undue stress.

He was able to finish Year one book 2 during our summer session (8 weeks) and has completed year 2 book l in one semester. His mastery of skills is excellent.

The only negative point so far has been changing operations in the same lesson. It is hard for him to switch gears so quickly. So we do lose a little time adjusting to each section and remembering which operation is being featured.
We look at Horizons Math as a real God send to my son.

Maryanne Schoenbaum
Grade levels used:  5th
Time: 1/2 year

I started using Horizons math for my 5th grade daughter, after using A Beka for the first 4 years. I stopped using A Beka because, although I thoroughly love their curriculum, it is much too overwhelming. I could rarely finish a book, which made me feel like I was allowing my daughter to fall behind. I found Horizons after browsing through our local homeschool bookstore. Wow! What a change I have seen in my 5th grader. Before, she DREADED math time. But now she breezes through it. She says she LIKES math now!!! The Horizons books are so colorful, so full of fun challenges, instead of boring drill after drill. The other thing that I'm very happy about are the real life situations in which math is presented, like shopping at the grocery store for particular items...figuring out how much paint to buy to paint a classroom at your church...exercising for a certain amount of time each day...all examples, but fit for real life. I also like all the Scripture passages in the book. There are many crytograms and puzzles that allow you to piece together the clues to find the answer, which is usually a Bible verse. I loved the book so much that I started my 5 year old with the 1st grade book, skipped all the years of struggling with A Beka. Like I said, A Beka is great...but not for everyone. It was originally published for the private instituation and not the homeschool, which makes it more like your standard textbook - dry and dull (in my opinion). I wish I could look forward to it for more than 6th grade. Use what works, toss what doesn't.

Grade levels used:  3
Edition: Book one
Time: August-October 2004

We have used Horizons Math since K, but I feel it is getting too difficult for my son. The T.E. doesn't explain things very well for me. I'm not sure if I should slow down and just use Book One for 3rd grade or not?

Helen Case
Grade levels used:  1st through 4th
Time: 1999-2004

At the suggestion of a dear friend, I have been using Horizons Math. I switched to Saxon Math for my oldest just this year (5th Grade). Horizons Math has lots of practice, but it was too overwhelming for my oldest. He grasped the basics, but the book is a little advanced. It also required a good deal of time for him to finish one lesson (usually an hour!!) He is not a "math lover", so I am looking into other options. By fourth grade, you will be faced with lessons being 3 pages long! I used it for my oldest for 4 years. My 2nd grader is in it right now. She doesn't mind the work as much and can finish a day's lesson in around 1/2 hour. She gets frustrated when she has to learn something new. I've discovered that once she learns it, though; she generally likes the challenge. She does not like doing alot of borrowing in subtraction (who does?), but she is very accurate and many times I just cut off some of the lesson to relieve her from all the work. I did the same with my oldest, too. I will probably continue one more year in Horizons for my daughter unless I can find an acceptable alternative. If your child enjoys worksheets and lots of math practice, it works out ok in the younger years. I would only consider using it in the older grades if I had a bonefied math genius on my hands. It gets very in-depth at quite a young age.

Angie Miller

Grade levels used:  2     Time: 1 year

My son has dyslexia. We tried lots of different math programs. At the last minute someone convinced me to try Horizons Math. It worked great. The colorful pages and interesting topics made math much more fun and less stressful for my son. We were able to complete book 1 and book 2 in 9 months!

Tammy Drummond

Grade levels used:  K-5
Time: 3 years

I have a 5th, 4th and 1st grader using Horizon. They all enjoy Math most. It is colorful and consumable. The directions for each new topic are clear and easy to follow. The only thing I use the teacher's guide for is checking the answers. You don't need them for that until 2nd or 3rd grade if you don't mind taking the time to do the math. It didn't come with manipulatives but you can use beans, coins, and fraction circles to get you through. Even I know math now!!

The only drawback is they stop at 6th grade. I will miss them greatly!!

Shelly Graham

Grades:  K-3
Time: 3 1/2 years

We really enjoyed Horizons in the early grades (K-1) but in 2nd grade it seemed to skip around too much. It would move on before my son had mastery and he was doing several operations on each page and grew frustrated. We switched late in 3rd grade to Modern Curriculum Press. It does cover a good deal of information in an engaging and colorful way. I would recommend it for early elementary and beyond if your children like it. :o)


Grade levels used: Horizons Mathematics 3
Time: Haven't used yet

I purchased this curriculum last fall (sight unseen) intending to use it with my daughter who is doing grade 3 work. This to me is definitely a grade 4 level. Lots of colourful pages though and she can't wait to use it. Looks very thorough.

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