Mastery vs. Spiral
When choosing math curriculum you will need to decide between whether you want Mastery based or Spiral. Mastery means you completely master fractions, for example, then move onto another decimals, leaving fractions behind. It is crucial your child completely understands the concepts or they may struggle down the road, you may want to implement a review at the end of the year or semester to be sure.

Have you ever had the feeling, you just went over this last year, why are they covering it again? You are experiencing spiral based curriculum. It covers topics according to your child's grade/skill level. They introduce the topics and tie it into the last lesson, thus reviewing. The next year, you will be covering the same topics, just more in depth, adding additional elements. This style keeps the concepts fresh in the child's mind and leads to an eventual complete picture.

Which is better?
They are both excellent methods, it really depends on your child's learning style as well as your abilities in math. For mastery based, you can dive deep into one topic and develop a complete understanding. If you prefer to spend a lot of time on one topic, this is the method for you. If you like to take it step-by-step and see the concepts repeatedly to help keep it fresh, then spiral will be for you.

What if you change your mind?
Jumping from one to another can be troublesome. Math curriculum will serve you best if you choose one and continue it to the end. Transitioning from mastery to spiral or vice versa could result in repeating some concepts or struggling to catch up on others. Homeschool curriculum can vary and are not necessarily grade based. In other words, you can't just say my child is in 5th grade; therefore, he will be covering x. Most programs provide an assessment to see where you should start. I highly recommend doing this so your child is properly placed and you don't waste your money.

Comprehensive Math Site
Homeschool Math

Highly Recommended/Most Popular
Math U See K-12, Mastery, Manipulative based, uses DVD lessons.
Miquon Math K-5, Discovery Math, PDF's available at Currclick - Affordable, stand-alone or supplemental.
Saxon Math K-12, Spiral - very slow paced with reviews for non-mathy kids. Some dislike the order for the lessons Saxon uses, it seems very random.
Singapore Math K-12, Mastery - Great for mathy kids.
Math Mammoth K-6, Mastery, Affordable, watch for sales from website and HSBC.
Life of Fred - K-12, Mastery, Literature-oriented math books. Most use as a fun supplement to their regular math program, but can be used as a full curriculum for some. The author recommends repeated readings of the books in a cycle. Very entertaining.

Math U See K-12, Mastery
Saxon Math K-12, Spiral
Singapore Math K-12, Mastery
Abeka Math K-12, Spiral
Math Mammoth K-6, Mastery
Life of Fred - K-12, Mastery - Just added Elementary Books!

Calvert Math K-8, Spiral
Moving with Math  K-8

Life of Fred - K-12, Mastery,
Key to....Series - Mastery

Hands-On/Manipulative Heavy
Math U See K-12, Mastery
Moving with Math  K-8

Math Mammoth Mastery, Types sorted by color, Green (Workbooks by Topics) or Gold (Worksheets by Grade 3-8)
Life of Fred

Real Life Application
Living Math - Reading Lists for every level, Use of math and science in the Ancient world, referrals to other programs.
Your Business Math - Ages 8-12, Own your own book,pet or sports store. Use your math skills to tally sales, calculate tax, track inventory, write checks, maintain a checkbook.
Math in Ancient Cultures - From Living Math site
Real World Math - Uses Google Earth to apply math concepts. Supplemental
Wet Oatmeal Kisses - Love their Living Math posts, includes a huge list of books

IXL - Monthly or Annual Subscription - Activities, Testing, Progress Reports, Rewards & State Standards Alignment- Pre-K - 8th grade $
Mathletics - Spiral, K-12, Complete Lessons, Could also be used as supplement/reinforcement, Compete against other kids in math games. 1 year subscription.
Live Online Math - Pay per semester. Choose from Classes, Video Courses,Video Plus Courses or Tutoring.
Calculus on the Web - Free guided calculus lessons with tests.

Free Resources
Khan Academy
MEP - Mathematics Enhancement Programme
Practical Money Skills
Sheppard Software
Free World U
Comprehensive School Mathematics Program

Book Recommendations
Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure)
Sir Cumference: And the Great Knight of Angleland
G Is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book
Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, Vol. 2
The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure

Share this:


I have been homeschooling since 2009, but have been reading about it since 2003. Homeschooling is rapidly growing. Whether you are a veteran or new to homeschooling, I hope to filter some of the vast amounts of information for you


Post a Comment

Comments welcome.