What math curriculum is the best?

A question often asked by homeschool parents is “What math curriculum is the best?”  Growing up as a homeschooler, I have used Bob Jones, Abeka, and Saxon for the most part.  While in college, I tutored homeschool students who were using Saxon.  In the public and private schools, I taught using Holt math.  As a homeschool parent, I am now using Math-U-See while challenging my kindergartener with extra Singapore Math pages.  So, what is the best?  All I can give you is an opinion, so take it for what it’s worth 🙂

First off, buy all the materials when using your primary math curriculum.  A pieced together curriculum is not what the company created and using it as so gives an unfair reproduction of results as well as evaluation from student and teacher.  Don’t change curriculum often.  Make your best choice as the teacher and stick with it for the year.  After a year’s time, you will have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work for your child.  If you have a curriculum that works well for you as the teacher and student, I do not recommend making a change.  The glamor of a new curriculum or that curriculum everyone else is using may be the downfall of learning math for your child.  Buying textbooks is an investment, and it is easier to purchase products more inexpensively if you know what you will be using one or two years from now.  Before you make additional purchases, make sure you both like the material.  Try it for one year before making a decision on buying additional textbooks.  It may seem wonderful at first, but by mid-year, you both decide, this is not what you expected.

Abeka –

  • covers the basics
  • recommended for a teacher who is not strong in math
  • good for high school students who want basic math
  • not recommended if you are looking for challenging material

Saxon –

  • great for the younger grades up through middle school if you like a lot of repetition
  • Advanced math had serious weaknesses not giving enough examples and jumping around from Algebra to Geometry to Trigonometry without any real correlation.

Holt math –

  • great for a group setting where students are at different levels of learning
  • may be overwhelming for a teacher who is not familiar with using lots of resources
  • must allow prep-time to teach this curriculum
  • buying an older version helps reduce cost

Math-U-See –

  • very little prep-time needed
  • mathematically sound
  • teaches math sequentially
  • has a great foundation for place value
  • strongly recommend for the younger grades
  • additional challenging material may be necessary for a bright student
  • If an older student has not used Math-U-See, I do not recommend picking up this curriculum at a later date.

Singapore Math –

  • good curriculum
  • I know the least about this curriculum as I have not seen a full set, but I do like to use the student textbook and intensive practice for extra challenging material.

So which curriculum is the best?  The one that works for you as the teacher and your students.  To find out what works well, try to borrow a full set of material and practice using the first few lessons yourself.  New curriculum seems overwhelming at first.  Take it piece by piece and if you like what you see, then make your purchase.  After you have decided what you as the teacher want to use, then you can move forward using that material.  It is more important that you feel comfortable with the material than your student.  Children will find ways to complain about anything.  “This is boring.  I don’t like this.  I want something else.  Can I have…?”  There is no perfect fit when it comes to children wanting to do school.  There will always be good days and bad days using any curriculum.  After a year’s time, then you can have a better idea of whether or not to continue that curriculum for you and your student.


Side note –

I love seeing new material.  If you have a question about a particular curriculum, I would love to see a copy and give you an evaluation.

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