What is your Favorite Homeschool Math Curriculum? Thursday Topics

May 28, 2009

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What’s your favorite math curriculum?  It seems kids love one and hate the other.  I think we all would appreciate your help and advice.  Would you take a second and use the comment section to tell us what math curriculum you’ve used, what you like and don’t like about it, and where to purchase it (if you remember).  Thanks!

I personally really liked Math-U-See, but couldn’t get any of my kids to enjoy it for more than a few weeks or a month at the most.  I also will on occasion pick up my worn copy of Home Learning Year by Year, (that I reviewed here).  I’ll grab one of the kids, find their grade in the book, and we’ll run through all the things they are “supposed” to know and see if there are any gaping holes – like when I realized that since I rarely use a calendar, my kids didn’t really know much about dates and months either.  🙁
But, for simplicity, cost, and mostly painfree math, we keep coming back to a nice set of inexpensive workbooks called Math Made Easy
We tend to learn most of our math during daily activities like cooking, shopping, playing Webkinz (we used the 3-ingredient cooking to learn permutations), etc.  Then, we use the Math Made Easy workbooks to do a few pages a day of grade level math to fill in any gaps.
I like:
  • The price – around $10
  • The workload – there are usually an appropriate amount of problem to learn a concept without overworking.
  • Easy reward system with a chart and star stickers for each page completed.
  • Colorful fun pages with Diego for the little ones and superheroes for the older kids.
  • Workbooks for K through 5th which fits with our family
  • Covers the important math concepts for each grade with a balanced level of repetition. 

I don’t like:

  • They end at 5th grade
  • Some of the math fact pages are a bit repetetive – but I just ask my kids to do a few and explain to me how they did them.  If they’ve ‘got it’ they can move on.

Your turn!  What math curriculum do you like best and why?


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Posted under Math Curriculum, Thursday Topics


18 Comments so far

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  5. PrieloxSleeno June 11, 2011 5:36 pm

    Just now read the thread. great job.

  6. Misty August 14, 2009 7:59 am

    Hi Plutuanna,

    Why don’t you share your favorite math curriculum with us? We enjoy hearing from other homeschoolers.



  7. Plutuanna August 14, 2009 12:32 am

    This looks cool so far, what’s up people?
    If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.


  8. Jimmie June 25, 2009 10:22 pm

    We use a living math approach. That means we do hands-on games and projects for learning and mastering skills. Plus we read living math books to add in math history.

  9. Vickie June 25, 2009 9:53 am

    I’ve tried a few different math programs out, but our favorite has been Rod & Staff. Just a good classic math. No strange formulas or bright illustrations, but I’ve found it’s a good, solid curriculum that sticks with the children.

  10. Misty June 24, 2009 10:45 am

    Wow – thank you Mia and Christine for the great and informative comments. Since I’m looking for some new direction in the math department, I really appreciate the tips!

  11. Mia June 23, 2009 11:43 pm

    I forgot to mention, when my then 4th grader hit a rough spot with fractions, I purchased Life of Fred Fractions and we scrapped the Abeka book for the rest of the year. I highly recommend these books. She is still working through the Decimals book.

  12. Mia June 23, 2009 11:40 pm

    When I was new to homeschooling, and first child was in K, I didn’t know much about curriculum. I took her to a co-op twice a week, swim lessons, art lessons at a local museum, trips to the zoo, creative movement lessons – stuff like that. We also read a LOT of library books, including math stories (Stuart J. Murphy, Amy Axelrod, etc.) until my oldest child was in second grade.

    At that time I discovered Math Mammoth download and print Blue worktexts – which were inexpensive and thorough. I still use these for memorizing math facts and when a particular concept is difficult.

    When oldest was in third and middle child was in K, I got Math-U-See, and they quickly tired of the build-say-write method. Math would bring sighs, tears, etc.

    The next year, for my first grader and fourth grader, we used Abeka. Abeka moves quickly and, IMO is very advanced. This worked for first grader, but not fourth grader (who probably didn’t have as coherent a foundation as first grader – my fault).

    For this year, we used Abeka for second grader and Saxon 6/5 for fifth grader, which seems to be working very well!

    I bought the Abeka from Abeka’s web site. I bought the Saxon 6/5 homeschool kit from http://www.homeschoolsupercenter.com – they had the best price by far, but their shipping is kind of high, so I don’t know if I saved much money in the end.

    I also got the corresponding DIVE CD-ROM from Ebay for about $10 – it retails for around $50. We’ll probably by the DIVE CD-ROM again this year – I feel it has been that helpful!

  13. Christine Guest June 23, 2009 9:42 am

    I love anything published by the Key-to-Press, plus the books recommended by the Living Math website. When the Miquon books ended, I tried Singapore, which was great (with the teacher’s manual) but I got lazy at making the manipulatives myself. Right now I’ve handed my oldest son the Key-to books, he gets to choose what topic he works on, he has to do 10 pages or 1 hour by the timer whichever comes first, then correct them with the answer key, and give me a narration in the morning. He is really anxious to begin algebra, because he admires our cousin the Ph.D. physicist so, but his calculations do need some polishing first (he’s a ideas are easy, details are annoying kind of kid – like me) He is in 5th grade. We’ve read lots of books with math ideas in them, especially the “Number Devil” and “The Man who Counted.”

    My elementary school kid is using Miquon while sitting on my lap. He thinks differently than his brother did, but so far he is getting the ideas, I’m learning how he thinks, so I can see what he needs. But right now, Miquon is working just fine for him.

    The toddler just learned how to undo velcro and stack two blocks on top of each other, so her math is coming along nicely too.

  14. Mia May 31, 2009 2:56 pm

    We tried Math-U-See a couple of years ago, but my kids quickly got bored with the build-write-say method. So, we began with Abeka. My rising 3rd grader does well with Abeka – she’s been with it from the beginning. But, my rising 6th grader has done better with Saxon 6/5 plus the DIVE CD-ROM. We also use Life of Fred – she’s still in the decimals book.

    I don’t think there’s a perfect curriculum for everyone. There will always be someone who likes it along with those who hate any particular curriculum you can name. Besides, they all teach the same things, just maybe in different ways and at different times. There’s only so much math your child needs to know before they get to algebra.

  15. Misty May 30, 2009 3:15 pm

    Wow! Thank you all for taking the time to write such thorough and informative comments. I’ll be checking out some of the math programs you’ve recommended.

  16. Shelley May 29, 2009 10:56 am

    I use Math-U-See with my daughter. She likes the blocks, but drags her feet on the worksheets. She has, however, learned a ton! We do a “lesson” on Mondays and complete the first three pages. Then she does one page per day the rest of the week. Everything else is “living” math.

    I do, however, really like what I’ve seen of Life of Fred. Available at http://www.polkadotpublishing.com (I believe.) They are books created by a math teacher that has taught all grades through college. Fred is a five year old prodigy and he is already in college. The stories are great fun and silly. I plan to use these once my daughter reaches their starting point. Life of Fred begins once a child can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

    My other favorite from my school days is Saxon math. I still remember how empowered I felt when I could learn math from a book, without a teacher. Before that it seemed that math was inaccessible without a teacher. I did better in math when our school used saxon than at any other time.

    Hope that helps someone.

  17. sarah May 29, 2009 8:11 am

    We use Horizons Math — it’s a very complete curriculum, easy, fun. It has a pretty good teacher’s manual that comes with. We really like it, and sometimes skip parts when I know the kids have a concept (We may do one line of addition with carrying instead of three.) The other thing I pull out when math is getting stale is a book called “Games for Math” by Peggy Kaye…I’ve made some board games from that book, done math on the sidewalk, created all sorts of fun “math” activities. We also do a lot of cooking, grocery shopping, living math — 🙂

  18. Heather May 28, 2009 11:34 am

    We currently really like RightStart math (www.alabacus.com). I love the hands-on discovery-based approach, and how lessons are thoroughly scripted and coached — it’s not just a basic textbook to have to figure out yourself, it’s very well-explained as to how to teach it.

    My son has middling opinions about it. He likes a lot of it, and certainly prefers it to Saxon (which we used for a few months, a few years ago).

    We’ve also used Teaching Textbooks, which he LOVED… at least the elementary level (we did grade 6). The computer element was the winner for him, cute cartoon characters to help. Explanations were clear and sensible. Since he could learn at the computer (the “lectures” are read out loud) he didn’t have to do all the dry reading, great for auditory learners. He did very, very well in the grade 6 course.

    However, we found afterwards that there were many elements that he had passed with flying colours, but didn’t really understand. The program was in many ways, TOO easy.

    But it was great for his confidence and helped him get over his math-phobias! I have no regrets.

    TT Pre-Algebra was too advanced for him, and too dry. It’s aimed at older children anyway, so we’ve put it away until he’s ready for it. That’s when we found RightStart.

    We’ve also just started using Life of Fred. He LOVE LOVE LOVES Fred. Personally, I don’t think that it is ENOUGH as a full curriculum on its own. However, it’s a great supplement. Anything that helps kid love math is a good thing, and it’s really quite inexpensive (unlike RightStart and Teaching Textbooks).

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