When I was in third grade, I wrote a journal entry in a school notebook each school day, and almost every single entry began with “I hate math.” I think journaling time must have come after our math lesson. At any rate, my discomfort with math hasn’t changed since I began homeschooling. Nevertheless teaching homeschool mathematics doesn’t have to be painful. The resources for teaching math at home are plentiful, and some are even free.
Again, for this post, I’ve focused on secular curricula, and for mathematics, I’m focusing on curricula for 1-12 grades, although some provide K curricula as well. Kids who are ready can start many of the first-grade level mathematics in Kindergarten.
Homeschool curricula typically approach teaching mathematics in one of two ways. First, in mastery mathematics programs, a child focuses on a specific concept until he or she understands, thus mastering that concept. In the spiral math programs, children are introduced to a concept and then reminded of the concept at regular intervals while learning new concepts.
There are also many ways to teach mathematics in homeschool. For the sake of this post, I’m going to focus on teaching math through media-based mathematics programs (such as would have a tutorial or teacher teaching concepts) as well as the pencil and paper mathematics, in which parents or a tutor read the teachers’ manual to understand how to teach specific concepts to children. The children then typically finish assessments on paper.
Mathematics homeschool curricula also differ in the amount of hands-on learning that occurs as opposed to lectures. Manipulatives (such a blocks, shapes, plastic clocks, or money) are something to consider especially for the lower grades.
Parents are not always confident in teaching difficult mathematical concepts. These programs use media to teach these concepts, thus providing a “teacher” to help, and automatic grading, providing explanations of mistakes so students can learn.
- CTCMath (K-12). This program is a topical mastery learning with video training, interactive questions, worksheets and solutions, and reports for parents. See my full review.
- Khan Academy (K-college). This free online program provides Common Core-aligned math programs for children to use as a full curriculum or as a supplement to school assignments. Many videos and
- Teaching Textbooks (3-12). This program is available on CD-ROM (program 2.0) and completely online (program 3.0). Narration teaches the concepts while animation shows how the problems are worked through. This spiral math program has lots of review built-in to the lesson quizzes. I have a full review coming in August, so watch for it!
- Math-U-See (K-12). This popular skill mastery program includes DVD video lectures and student workbooks, along with manipulatives to help solidify concepts.
- MathHelp online program (6-12).
Other popular and useful homeschool math curricula provide more traditional learning, with textbooks, student workbooks, tests, and quizes. These may also require the parent or tutor to sit with the child to help them understand concepts.
- Math Mammoth (K-8). This is a mastery-based program that is done on paper but is supplemented with videos on the website about the concepts. Videos are available as well on the author’s YouTube channel.
- Singapore Mathematics: Primary Mathematics (1-6). This program teaches using a spiral approach. Parental assistance is important for each lesson to help children understand concepts. The program requires two colorful textbooks per year and two black-and-white workbooks, and homeschool teaching guides are available as well (one per level).
- Saxon Math (K-12). This is a step-by-step, spiral approach to math, providing a student textbook, answer book, a workbook, or a testing book.
- RightStart Math (K-8). This multi-sensory approach to learning mathematics provides lots of critical thinking about math concepts rather than extensive worksheets and book work.
- Mathematical Reasoning (Toddler-6th grade). Mastery learning method, bright colors, and critical thinking along with mathematics.
I feel I can’t end this post without adding some of my favorite CREATIVE mathematics curriculum. I use Miquon with my preschooler and Beast Academy’s comic books as a supplemental “fun” part of math for my second grader. Some people use these are a full curriculum as well.
- Miquon Math (K-3). This hands-on curriculum requires the use of Cuisenaire-rods (c-rods) to help understand the concepts of early mathematics.
- Beast Academy (2-5). Complex math concepts are taught with friendly comic-book stories featuring monsters. The correlating workbooks provide challenging math problems that help show different ways to determine mathematical answers.
- Life of Fred (1-12). Storytelling provides an entertaining framework for mathematical concepts. Each chapter then has review questions.
- Times Tales (2-3). Silly stories help students remember the multiplication tables (x3s to x9s, not including x5s).
Overall, this has been a lot of math curricula to consider! I hope this helps narrow down what types of program might work for you and your children.
More in This Series
Homeschooling can feel overwhelming, but take things one step at a time. I’m giving you a lot of information here. But YOU get to decide what you want to make a priority. Work on establishing the basics, and ease into the rest of what you want to cover when you feel more comfortable with it.
- Get Started Homeschooling: Keep it Legal
- Get Started Homeschooling: Plan Your Homeschool Year
- Get Started Homeschooling: Schedule Your Day
- Get Started Homeschooling: All-in-One Curriculum Options
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Language Arts
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Math
- Get Started Homeschooling: Science in Your Homeschool
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Social Studies in Your Homeschool
- Get Started Homeschooling: Add in Arts and Music
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Physical Development and Health
- Get Started Homeschooling: Including Foreign Languages and Life Skills in Your Homeschool
Have another “how to homeschool” question? Contact me and I’ll write about it too. Send me an email if you have specific questions, or ask me directly on my Facebook page.