Every Homeschool Math Curriculum We’ve Ever Used


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Homeschool Math Curriculum Reviews

Every Homeschool Math Curriculum We Have Ever Used

Post updated August 2019

Can we talk about homeschool math curriculum for a minute? For those who don’t know much about us, we’ve been homeschooling for a really long time. Decades. When we began homeschooling things were totally different than they are today. We didn’t have the internet to look for reviews of curriculum, and secular curriculum was almost unheard of. Back then the only resources we had were a small handful of religiously-based books at the library and the very small, often still underground, religiously-segregated homeschool support groups.

I am so, so, so glad that isn’t the case anymore. These days you can’t leave the house without seeing other kids outside during the day. These days homeschooling is legal in the entire country. We have found each other, finally!

This is all a round-about way of telling you that in decades of homeschooling my six children, we’ve used a lot of math curriculum. A lot. I’m going to try to remember all of them and give you my basic impressions of them all. Please keep in mind that many of these were used a long time ago and may have changed, I’ll try to note edition numbers and grade levels when I can.

Types of Math Curriculum

There are three types of math curriculum, with the majority of math curriculum being spiral or mastery. The third type, incremental, combines spiral and mastery.

The Spiral Method introduces math to the kids in a specific order, with each new concept building on the last one. In the spiral method children move on the the next concept even if they don’t have a full understanding of the previous concept because the concept will be presented as review in future lessons. Critics of the spiral method say it’s not appropriate to move to a new lesson if the concept isn’t mastered, yet proponenets of the spiral method say it doesn’t bog down children by demanding mastery before moving on.

The Mastery Method presents the child with a lesson and concept that must be mastered before moving on to the next idea. For example, in a mastery math curriulum a child cannot learn division until they have mastered addition, subtraction, and multiplication in that order. Critics of the mastery method feel that it demands too much, moves too slowly, and can be unmotivating and boring. Proponents of the mastery method feel that it is a more complete way to learn math and that children are harmed if they move too fast.

 

The Incremental Method is a combination of spiral and mastery. With incremental math curriculum the student is presented with an idea with the goal of mastery, but the concept will keep popping up down the road for review, just like with spiral math curriculums. This is a tough one to define because it encompasses both styles and can lean toward either end. Because it’s not a consistently-used term in the homeschooling world, I will add it as appropriate below but also note whether the curriculum leans toward the spiral or mastery side.

Which type of method is best for you?

Which method is right for you? I can’t answer that question for you because it totally depends on your kid and your preference. Spiral math curriculums are great for kids who don’t like math or maybe aren’t particularly great at it, for older kids who just need to get the credit over with, and for students who need to see progress to stay motivated. Mastery math curriculums are great for kids who are very interested in math, kids who catch onto math quickly, and for those who are intrinsically motivated.

A word about cost- I have marked these math curriculums as inexpensive, moderately expensive, and expensive. This information is mostly arbitrary, but I tried to keep inexpensive to under $50, moderate to under $100, and expensive to over $100.

What does consumable mean? Consumable programs are those that are used once and cannot be reused. Workbooks and online programs that require a subscription are examples of consumable curriculum.

A quick word about worldview: We are secular homeschoolers but you’ll notice that some of the selections below are not secular. We used these items because they were all we had available at the time. I look forward to updating this list as my third generation of kids begin their formal academics.

Board Games for Chemistry - Gameschooling

Every math curriculum we have ever used

Grade: 1
Year: 2000
Style: spiral
Worldview: Christian
Consumable: Yes
Cost: $

Good for: ADHD, minimal instruction, short bursts of work

This would not be good for: Divergent teaching needs, kids who don’t like workbooks, kids who need intensive instruction

Notes: Religious content minimal but present.This is a workbook-based curriculum with minimal distraction on the page. Each grade level is a series of quite short workbooks, making this a good choice for kids who may struggle with motivation. 

This series is very basic and while it is easy to understand, it is linear in methodology and meant to serve children who don’t need any extra help or extra challenging work. There is a lot repetition, as is common with spiral programs.

 

Grade: Multiple elementary
Year: 2000-2003 (Asia version), 2011 (USA version)
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable? Yes
Cost: $-$$

Good for: Divergent thinkers, academically gifted, visual learners, neurodivergent kids

This would not be good for: Divergent teaching needs, kids who don’t like workbooks, kids who need intensive instruction

Notes: This is a very solid problem solving-based workbook curriculum. 

I found the combination of two workbooks, a teacher book, and a teacher text to be too confusing and on occasion the teacher pages didn’t match the student pages.

The Asian version moves the information around a little differently and uses a different form of PEMDAS. The USA version will be a little more familiar to children in the USA but the versions are rather similar aside from that.

 

Grade: 6/5, pre-CCS version
Year: 2007
Style: Incremental/Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (older versions), No (newer versions)
Cost: $-$$

Good for: ADHD, little instruction needed, parents who need little preparation. Newer versions are good for children who need divergent teaching methodologies 

This would not be good for: Students who struggle with math, visual learners

Notes: There are so many different versions of Saxon available that it’s hard to know what to get. If you don’t like common core standards, you’ll want to find the old textbook-based versions from the 90s or earlier. If your child doesn’t do well with Western teaching methodologies, the newer workbook-based versions are probably a better fit. Most parents find that Saxon is not a good choice for children who are not mathematically inclined.

 

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Years: 2010
Style: Spiral
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes
Cost: $

Good for:  Standardized testing review. Younger kids who are advanced in math. Students who wish to cover large amounts of material in a short period of time. Students who don’t need a lot of practice. Summer bridge learning. Students who need intervention.

This would not be good for: Students who desire an in-depth math education. Students who are easily distracted by colorful images on the pages.

Notes: This workbook series is actually really great for mathphobic kids. I’m not sure it’s intense enough to qualify as a full program, but I feel it’s adequate for most kids to be considered complete for early elementary school and as supplemental practice or intervention for later grades. These workbooks would also be a good option for preschool & early elementary children who are advanced in math.

Math-U-See

Grade: Alpha
Year: 2011
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular-friendly
Consumable? Yes
Cost: $$$

Good for:  Children new to formal academics. Children who need hands-on learning. Visual learners. Students receptive to lecture-based learning. Students who are not strong in math. This is regarded as a program that is especially good for students who have dyslexia.

This would not be good for: Students who excel in math. ADHD students. Students with short attention spans.

Notes: You can make MUS more affordable by purchasing used and by sharing workbooks between your kids, each book comes with enough materials for 2-3 kids. I highly suggest watching sample videos before you commit to purchase. MUS has a huge following, but my kids simply found it too dull and slow. We used an older version and the production quality of the videos was just so-so and featured a man in front of a white board for the entire lesson, hopefully the videos have improved in the newer version.

CTC Math

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, pre-algebra
Year: 2016-2018
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable? Yes
Cost: $-$$

Good for:  Students with ADHD, dysgraphia, or dyslexia. Students who do well with screens. Students who want to move at their own pace. Those who need little to no intervention or additional help. Students who struggle with western teaching methodologies. Students who want to practice for standardized and college entrance exams. Parents who want no preparation work.

This would not be good for: Students who need a lot of intervention or help. Students who need written materials. Students with hearing or processing disabilities.

Notes: This is an Australian program & the narrator has an Australian accent that some children may have trouble understanding. There are a very few differences in how problems are completed, mainly order of operations. The good news is that my kids & I found the CTC way to make way more sense than the USA way of doing things. This program is self graded and parents receive daily and weekly progress reports as well as year-end completion certificates.

Learn Math Fast

Grades: Volume 1, 2, 3
Year: 2015-2018
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: No
Cost: $

Good for:  Older students who need intervention. Families who espouse delayed formal academics. Adults who need to review math. Standardized & college entrance exam review. Anyone who needs to learn a lot of math in a short amount of time. Parents who want little to no preparation work. 

This would not be good for:
 
Students with poor reading skills or dyslexia.

Notes: This is the absolute favorite math curriculum choice of my rising 8th grade son. This son has ADHD & dysgraphia and this is the first program we haven’t fought over. While this is a workbook-based series, it’s unique in that there is no additional textbook. Children will need a notebook and some basic math tools like a protractor and ruler. This program was written to specifically meet the needs of delayed learners, unschoolers, teenagers, and anyone else who needs to cover large amounts of math very quickly. The entire program moves from basic addition to algebra & geometry in just 3-4 years.

Math Mammoth

Grades: 3, 5
Year: 2015
Style: Incremental/mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes
Cost: $

Good for:  Students who are gifted in math. Students who do not learn well with western teaching methodologies. Visual learners. Students with ADHD. Students who need intervention. Parents who learned maths outside of the USA. Parents who want little preparation and little to moderate instructing. divergent thinkers.

This would not be good for:
 
Those who dislike workbooks.

Notes: Math Mammoth is sold as printable or printed workbooks. The author of this program is German so she teaches things in the European way. This means that several methods of learning one concept are the core of the program. Your kid can try each style and see which one makes the most sense and stick with that, there is no need to switch between methods.

Math Mammoth sells both complete and partial programs and is an inexpensive option that provides excellent instruction.

Grade: 2, 4, Algebra 1
Year: 2012
Style: Incremental/Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (online version)/No (disc & book versions)
Cost: $-$$$

This would be good for: Multiple learning styles accomodated, dysgraphia, visual learners.

 

This would not be good for: Those with a poor internet connection should buy the Students who need a large level of personal instruction.

Notes: This product is available as a whole curriculum or as individual units. There are some cartoons and illustrations in the program but we didn’t find them distracting.

In addition to the features listed on the left, this is a good choice for s
tudents who want to quickly move through high school material to qualify for higher level instruction at community colleges. 

Individual units are excellent for intervention and remedial help. Lower levels do not pander to very young children, making this a good remedial program for older students.

 

 

Grade: 3, 4, 5,6, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry
Yearsused: 2011-current
Style: Spiral
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (online & workbook version) & No (disc version)
Cost: $$-$$$

This would be good for: Students who need a slower pace or frequent positive reinforcement. Visual learners.

This would not be good for: Those with a poor internet connection (buy discs), those advanced in math, those wishing to finish a large amount of learning in a short perod of time.

 

Notes: There are both online and CD/text-based programs available.

Version 1.0 has no frills and is the cheapest option available. This program is disc based but you can add workbooks for extra support.

Version 2.0 is very similar to version 1.0 but it comes with automatic grading, which is totally worth splurging on! Version 2.0 is also disc-based with supporting workbooks available.

Version 3.0 is our favorite! It’s way more interactive than previous versions and because it’s online it’s accessible from our children’s Chromebooks! It’s also a whole lot cheaper, especially for big families and you have a whole year to complete the work!

Grade: Algebra, Geometry
Year: 2014, 2016
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: No (DVD only) & Yes (subscription video, printed workbooks)
Cost: $-$$

This would be good for: Students who want to learn more about mathematical theory and history. Adult students who need a refresher. Supplemental lessons. Students who need a math credit without having to prove skill. Pass/fail options. Students who will be continuing their education outside of the traditional university system.

This would not be good for: Students who need to pass a college entrance exam will not be able to rely on this course alone.

The Great Courses is a video-based educational company with a focus on adult education. Courses are available on DVD with supplemental workbooks, through the Great Courses Plus streaming service with printable workbook options, or as an Amazon Prime Video Add-On Channel.

FLVS (Floria Virtual School)

*available nationwide with tuition

Grades: 7th, 8th, Algebra 1
Years: 2013, 2014
Style: Mastery
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (online classes)
Cost: Free – $$

This would be good for: Students who need a state-certified transcript. Students who plan to apply for FL Bright Futures or a state university. Students who need little math intervention and respond well to screen learning. Students who are skilled in math and wish to volunteer as peer tutors. Parents who don’t have the ability or desire to teach math.

This would not be good for: Students who need math help. Students who are not self motivated. Students who have poor internet connection or unreliable phone service.

We’ve had more negative experiences with FLVS than positive, for both full time and a la carte classes. We’ve had teachers forget appointments, email us information for the wrong student (including address & grades), and kick a child out of class for reasons we still don’t understand. If your child needs any math help, don’t count on being able to get help from the tutoring sessions as the wait is often over an hour and you can only ask one question. Sessions typically ran 2-3 hours, meaning many kids didn’t even get to ask their question. Our experience, however, isn’t shared by all and FLVS offers a solid math program for kids who are serious about math & getting the Florida-specific Bright Futures scholarship.

Grades: Elementary through Algebra
Years: 2012 to present
Style: Spiral
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (online service)
Cost: Free – $

This would be good for: Children who enjoy video games. Children who like Pokemon and trading card games. Children who need extra motivation to practice math. Competitive students. Persons with ADHD, dysgraphia.

This would not be good for: Students who don’t respond well to fantasy games and fairy tales. Children with poor reading skills. Parents expecting a complete curriculum.

Prodigy Math Game is not a full curriculum but I’m including it because I see people ask if it’s a full curriculum or supplement frequently. Prodigy Math Game is an online game that’s an exceptional supplement to any math curriculum that is fully customizable by the parent-teacher. You can change between Canadian & USA currency, use the Imperial or metric system, and focus on specific math principles if you wish. Prodigy Math Game is available with two options, free & paid. The paid membership allows access to exclusive clothing, worlds, and pets, and allows for faster leveling up. I highly recommend splurging on the paid membership when possible.

Learning.com

*program no longer available as of 2010

Grade: 2
Year: 2009
Style: Spiral
Worldview: Secular
Consumable: Yes (online service)
Cost: $$

This would be good for: Students who enjoy video games and problem solving. Students with ADHD. Students who respond well to game & play-based learning. Students with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia.

This would not be good for: Students who are not visual learners

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