Homeschool Math Curriculum Forum


Hi everyone! Welcome to another homeschool curriculum forum post. Today we’re talking all about math!


As most of you know I have previously tried both Abeka and Saxon math. Abeka was okay for the  younger years, but flashcards just weren’t doing it for us. We needed something more hands on as well as something that better explained the various skills we were learning.

We switched to Math U See. While this curriculum was working well for us, I ventured over to Saxon for a bit just to see how it worked. After finding myself explaining Saxon lessons using our Math U See blocks and examples, we switched back to Math U See and haven’t looked back since.

One thing to know about MUS is that they do teach to mastery, and that means your student might not learn a certain skill right off the bat. They build on concepts so that the math skills actually make sense for your student.

Students also use the MUS visual manipulatives to help further understand whatever skill they are working at the time. However to my surprise the students do not become depending on the manipulatives to solve problems. They’re simply hands on training tools to use until a concept is mastered.


  • Hands on learning.
  • Teaches to mastery.
  • Visual aids to help explain various skills.


  • Skills are taught in a non-traditional order.
  • Manipulatives can be pricey unless purchased used.


So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Math curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards MATH, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.


  1. We are loving MathUSee 🙂 We switched to it about a year ago and my lego-loving kiddos love it! They are picking up on it quick and love the DVD lessons, too.

    • My kids love MUS as well. I let them watch the DVD’s. Never any complaints about math & they retain it! Mastery makes for little to no backsliding.

      Although we love MUS, more importantly is fact memorization. If you don’t memorize the basic facts, then you will struggle later on regardless of the curriculum you use. You need to know them as quick as your response when someone asks you your name!

      My son temporarily went back to school & I was nervous about possible gaps, but the kids in his class are struggling more because they don’t know the #’s as well. His mind was already set-up to grasp newer concepts.

      There is less decimal, fraction, money & clock work in MUS, but it’s not an issue for me at the 3rd grade level. We just do a little extra stuff with a small clock & some coins.

  2. We LOVE Right Start Math. Like Math U See, it is a mastery approach. The abacus helps my 6 year old get the concepts, and she loves all the math games that solidify math problem solving in her head. I looked into both Math U See and Right Start Math, but my husband thought the Abacus was better for teaching mental adding (and he’s the math one in our family 🙂 ). We hope to transition into Saxon in her older years when she has a solid foundation.

    • We made the switch to RightStart FROM MUS. What an amazing change. 🙂
      I’d like to see a thorough review of that one. 🙂

    • My son is 5. We’ve been using Right Start casually for about a year or two. Now that we’ve started homeschooling “for real” we’ve been using it more regularly. We LOVE, love, love it! I am so happy to have found this program! We’re planning to move to Saxon, too, when he’s older. I would not hesitate at all to recommend it!

  3. I have been trying to decide between MUS and Teaching Textbooks for next year. I spoke to the people at MUS and they said that if my 3rd grader wasn’t able to just “spit out” facts, then we needed to start at Alpha. He can do it in his head, but it does take a few seconds for him to figure out. He did all of the Teaching Textbooks sample lessons for 3rd grade, and loved all of them, but I really liked the way MUS was set up. We used Horizons Math this year, and Abeka last year. I hate jumping all over, but I just feel like we haven’t found the right one for us yet! I am just worried about starting him so far back in Alpha. Will he be bored? Will he be behind? Eeek!!! Thanks Erica!
    cary lynn

    • I use Singapore Math for my 2 1st grade boys and they love it. Neither liked the Right Start Math when we tried that. For some reason, they don’t like a lot of hands on school work. They are bothADHD so go figure…I would say if your son loved what he saw of Teaching Textbooks, then go with that. I’m finding that what looks fun or good to me doesn’t always mean it is right for my kids.

    • My boy also works things out in his head and for our South African program he was at a Grade 4 level, but we decided to start MUS at Beta. Even though they know everything it gets them in the system of how it works and they find easier ways to learn and understand stuff.

      • Thanks! I was thinking I could just start in Beta!

        • Hi.
          My daughter was kind of in the same situation. We changed curriculum midyear and went to MUS. We were doing long division when we left the other curriculum, however, she just wasn’t grasping it. She needed more repetition of problems. MUS has been wonderful. I started her in Beta (even though she could do long division) because they stressed knowing the facts, and she didn’t. Some weeks we have doubled up chapters/lessons and completed 2 a week if it was something she knew well. Other times it has taken longer than a week to complete one. Great thing is we can focus on where her gaps are, and her ability to apply what she has learned to word problems has increased substantially. We just keep practicing facts everyday. It’s been great for us!

    • Can you just do flashcards with your child this summer? We use MUSee and really love it. My son just finished Beta. My daughter is on Alpha. I do flashcards with them when they get to about the middle of the program. I buy some kind of educational game for their prize and when they are able to do the flashcards fast enough, they get the game. I got the allowance game for subtraction and snap circuits for addition. Maybe you could get a few worksheets on their website to teach your child the concepts and then just do the flashcards. You would need blocks, too.
      I personally have seen subtraction be really really easy b/c my son knew addition very well. He is starting multiplication in the fall and he already knows it b/c of skip counting. I’m sure other programs are great, but MUSee is really excellent if you want your child to understand when to use it.
      Another option would be to buy or borrow the dvds from Alpha and Beta and get your child to watch them and then practice memorizing the facts. I usually don’t use the dvds until the middle or end of the program. I teach without looking at the teachers manual or dvds and then when they start getting bored, I introduce the dvds and he usually explains it a tiny bit different than I do and the concepts get reinforced.
      I don’t think I would start that far back with my son. He would be really bored even if we went through really fast. I would just work on explaining it the MUSee way and memorizing the facts.
      Good luck.

      • I sat down and talked with him, and I think that the TT is what we will do. He really enjoyed it. I think I will use flash cards and drills over the summer just to solidify those facts. Like I said, he knows them, he just is not that fast at spitting them out, he does use his head to figure them out. Heck, I still use my head to figure them out because I was never made to memorize them. I just feel that they should really memorized them so that they will enjoy math better than I do! 😉

        • We just made the switch to TT mid way this year and my sons LOVE it! I cannot say enough great things about it. My oldest has always struggled with math and was not confident at all. He is a changed person now and it is because of TT! We also drill using FlashMaster and that is phenomenal too 🙂 Hope you enjoy TT as much as we do! Well worth the investment.

        • Chantie Holland says:

          I know this is an old post but if you’re still looking for a way to work on the math facts is awesome.

    • We did MUS because it was so highly recommended BUT we didn’t like it. It was very boring. Also, my kids weren’t learning time or money which I thought were very important to us. I went online and viewed the demo for teaching textbooks and LOVED it. We are using that this next year. My kids are very excited that it’s on the computer. We also used Abeka math. We actually really enjoyed that but I wanted to try Teaching Textbooks. People really seem to like MUS but it just wasn’t a good fit for us at all.

      • We had the same issue with MUS it just didn’t work for us. We use Horizon math and both my K and 3rd grader love it. They are both very independent learners and like to work on it at their own pace. I do have the manipulates for MUS so we do use those from time to time. As they get older I think we will switch to Saxon.

        • We also got very bored with MUS I had to supplement a lot to give challenge to it. We will be switching to Saxon for 1st grade, hoping this is a better fit for us. I guess it is just a trial and error thing till we find the math that fits.

    • Alpha is just basically memorizing + and – facts, so I think he would be bored.

    • There are 6 worksheets for each lesson, but once they can explain and teach a concept to you, you move on whether worksheets are done or not! We started with MUS, but my oldest is such a firecracker that we skipped through a bunch of lessons in Alpha real quick. However, expect setbacks too. They are natural for children and when we had our fourth child, we didn’t do school for a few weeks and suddenly he couldn’t remember any of his math facts at all… So we had to go back to flash cards and he is doing his +0’s, +1’s, +2’s etc., while he does an exercise. Mixing mental and physical is supposed to tie it to both sides of the brain, making it harder to lose and easier to retrieve. No results on that yet, but we will keep you all posted.

    • We started using MUS with my 2 nd grader, we started him in Alpha because he just didn’t know the basic concepts very well. We have been able to work through it pretty quickly, I feel like the manipulative s have really helped him grasp the concepts a lot better than just memorizing them. I love MUS and I will definitely say its worth the cost!!

    • We use MUS and started with Alpha, even though my son had already learned a lot of the alpha book. When we came to a lesson that he knew really well we just did a fast review and then moved on to the next lesson. He has not been bored, it has built up his confidence to know that he hasn’t had to work super hard to get every lesson. I would say start with Alpha and then go through it as quickly or slowly as he needs- one of the great things about home schooling!!

  4. I am about to order Horizons for my son who will be in third grade this upcoming year (our first year homeschooling). I have heard really great things from some family who uses it, and also read really good reviews, so hopefully it will work for us, as well! Math was always my worst subject, so I’m really worried about having to teach it!

    Has anyone used Horizons for the first year after pulling from public school? I’m wondering about the transition he will have to make.

    • I use Horizons and find that the books go beyond the recommended outcomes at my children’s grade levels. There is a free placement test on the website that would help you figure out what grade to order.

    • We pulled my daughter out of public school starting with her 3rd grade year and we went straight to Horizon’s 3rd grade book and she has had no problem.

      • May I ask your reasons for pulling her out? We are considering doing the same next year when our daughter is in third grade. Was it a tough transition?

    • Jennifer says:

      I pulled my daughter out of public school mid way through 2nd grade. I chose Horizons math. I thought we could just jump into 2nd grade horizons math and be ok — NOPE!! A lot of what they taught in the book, my daughter hadn’t even been exposed to so we stepped back to book 2 of first grade and took our time getting the foundations down. We skated through the first grade book fairly easy and then went onto second grade with more confidence. I didn’t realize Horizon was more advanced than what public school was but I am so glad I took the extra time to go back a bit. She loves Horizons and although we are still a bit “behind” where I’d like to be..she is getting it and we no longer have tears during math time.

    • I have used Horizons for three years. My children have never been in the PS system. My 6 year old is using grade 3 and doing great. He does get bored with the repetition, since he is such a quick learner. So we will skip some of the hw pages and move onto the next lesson. He does very will with independent work and enjoys completing his assignments.
      My 5 year old is using grade 1 and doing great. He likes the repetition. Both kids (at least I do) like the brightly colored assignments. I dont know if I should try a different Math program, such as MUS. I have seen great reviews. So far this has worked great for us, I might venture out and attempt MUS this year, but will have Horizons to fall back on.

      • Jennifer Ott says:

        We have finished up through Grade 3 with Horizons (son just finished 3, dd did 2, and dd did 1). We’ve used it with all three kids from K. My son and daughter tested into 6th and 7th grade levels in our state, and tested into 5th and 4th in TT. So yeah, we are pleased with it. However, we are considering switching simply because I don’t have time to teach 4 different levels and grade them every single day!

    • I love Horizons. It really drills the concepts in with the repetitive practice. It is great for skills my children struggle with and when they’ve got the skill down, I just let them do every other problem. I like that it is in color and is pretty independent.

      • Jennifer Castaneda says:

        I have used both Horizon’s and MUS. Horizon’s is very visually appealing to the child – very colorful and fun! I like how it looks like math can (and is) a very fun subject. For some kids I can see how that can be a very important factor for their learning. MUS looks very borning and I know my kids don’t like that a whole lot. What I didn’t like about Horizon’s is the order that they teach everything. It’s very much like what you would find in a PS textbook. It jumps from one thing to the next without much rhyme or reason as to why a certain thing would be next. I really like the way MUS is organized. The order things are taught makes so much sense to me. So, even though MUS looks very boring my kids are doing great with it and I attribute most of that to the organization of things taught. I have considered switching to TT because of time (I have 5 kids!) but I’m just not ready to make the switch because it is similar to Horizons, as far as the order things are taught. I think we will reconsider TT after we have finished MUS through Zeta.

  5. We love Math-U-See. We have tried Teaching Textbooks also, but find that MUS works much better for us. Although, some may feel MUS is too repetitive, that repetition works well for us.

  6. I have researched MUS and I must say…I cannot find what the “hoop and holler” is all about. I so want to use it but when I look at demos, I’m bored. Maybe I should just try it. Nonetheless, we use Singapore. We supplement with BJU as well. I like the concepts Singapore teaches and I like the review of BJU.

    • I think that most people do find MUSee boring, but it works really well. I find that the strong points of the program are mastery, understanding when to use each concept (word problems), and building a strong foundation so that the next step is easier. It is very repetitive, but I don’t see how you can master something without repetition. The other big math curriculums (Singapore, Saxon) are less boring b/c they jump around to different concepts (spiral approach). You just have to do what you think is best for your kids. If you like the spiral approach, then you would like Saxon or Singapore, but if you want a mastery approach, MUSee is a better fit.

    • MommyBrain says:

      Check into Right Start Math – I thought it was more “fun” than MUS!

  7. Also changed to MUS this year, we love it and I am just sorry we did not start with it sooner. Best program ever. Some may think the initial cost of the blocks are expensive, but it is not as it is only a once off item that can be used over and over again only add other items such as fraction overlays etc at a later stage.

    My kids use to do a South African Afrikaans program (as we are Afrikaans) and I was really afraid to go over to an English program. But I am so amazed at how well they are doing and actually understand perfectly, even their reading has picked up.

  8. We use Horizons for Kindergarten and 1st grade. It provides a thorough knowledge base. I liked the spiral approach and the tips in the teachers guide. I added our own manipulatives (abacus, base ten blocks, Math Dice game, etc.)

    When it is time for 2nd grade, we switched over to Teaching Textbooks 3. And we haven’t looked back! TT3 was perfect for my DD’s 2nd grade year. Next year, as a 3rd grader, she will be doing TT4.

    She likes the graphics, the concepts are clearly explained by the on screen tutor, and the speed drills provide a bit of the fast math she needs. I like that I don’t have to keep records or do grading (built into the programs), and I feel confident that she is getting math instruction systematically (math is not my strong suit).

    For us, it is a great fit. I can teach my DD#2, who at this point needs my one on one teaching. At the same time DD#1 is getting her math instruction on screen and can ask me for back up or when she has questions.

    I’m following the same plan for our DD#2 (Horizons in Kindergarten, Horizons in 1st, then making the switch to TT3 in 2nd grade).

    Thanks again, Erica, for hosting this forum!

    • Jennifer Ott says:

      This is what we are considering. My son finished Grade 3 with Horizons and tested into TT 5, but I think we will start him in 4. We don’t keep up with speed drills very well now…

    • This is helpful. My daughter is in 2nd and we have done Horizons for 1st & 2nd. I am planning on starting her in TT4 next year.

    • Jennifer Castaneda says:

      I’m thinking about doing something similar with my son. For K I started him with MUS Alpha and will stick with Beta for 1st. Then I’m thinking about switching over to TT3 for 2nd grade. My daughter has been doing MUS for many years. She’s finishing up Delta right now and we will have her stick with MUS for 2 more years. If we switched her any earlier I’m afraid there would be some gaps in her learning since MUS teaches things in such a different order than TT.

  9. We use RightStart Math. I started with it at Level A and we’re 1/2 through Level B. It’s awesome!! I initially chose it because my son was slower in writing than he was in Math. In the early levels, there are few worksheets as most of the lessons are done orally and with the manipulatives. Numbers and new concepts are initially abstract for the kids. RightStart uses their tools to help the students understand new math concepts concretely. We all really enjoy using it. We also supplement with Life of Fred because it’s cute.

    • MommyBrain says:

      Susan, What age kids do you have? This is what I’m thinking of doing with my 3rd and 1st grader. My 3rd grader loves LOF!

  10. For K we used Abeka and MUS. For 1st grade this year we have actually used Saxon, MUS, and Abeka. Someone had given us the Saxon. She has done so well combining the 3. She actually has went to the next Saxon book after completing the first one. For 2nd grade we will use Singapore and Mathusee. I like the idea of conceptual learning, but feel like we still need the mastery in MUS ( not to mention we already have the manipulatives so why not?).

  11. Amanda Burt says:

    We did MUS Primer this year for Kindergarten. This is the only level when mastery is not encouraged and is more for exposure purposes. Although, I liked the program, for my daughter….it was hit and miss. She loved it at the beginning when she knew the items already, then in the middle seemed to dread when we had to do math. However, when we got towards the end of the program seemed to enjoy it a bit more again. And really, as far as the manipulative were concerned, she never really got excited about them, which I thought she would LOVE. I don’t know if we should switch or not. It may be more of a frustration when it’s a new concept rather than an issue with the curriculum. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • We’ve gone through the same thing with our daughter who is in kindergarten. She says, “I don’t want to do math school!” Yikes! It’s too young to start disliking it already! So we’re on the look out for something funner.

  12. We are using Math U See and the the math meeting from Saxon. I like how MUS teaches concepts and how Saxon goes over basic skills such as calendar, money, time, skip counting, etc.

    • Tell me about the math meeting…. We use and love MUS! I can’t imagine switching, but I’d love something to introduce them to the basic skills- something that doesn’t take up a lot of time. Is the math meeting it’s own book or part of a package?

  13. Great discussion! Math seems to come very easy to my oldest (6) and we have been using Horizons. We are in the middle of Grade 2 now. He’s doing well, but I’m considering switching just to see what is out there. He is very independent with it, so MUS would seem more teacher intensive. He just doesn’t need concepts explained beyond one sentence. I’m a little concerned about the small pieces with MUS and having little ones around. I have a hard enough time keeping track of legos! I looked into RighStart because the abacus seemed more user friendly, but I think that teaching textbooks would be more independent, which he is used to at this point. I have three more boys coming up right behind him, so I’m glad to learn about other curriculum that might fit their learning styles better.

    • My son also age 6 seems similar to yours. I too am in grade 2 and almost completed for the spring. If you find something besides Horizons please post. Im at the if it a’int broke approach. I think I will continue with Horizons this summer/fall since I have not found anything independent.

      • Jennifer Ott says:

        We gave CLP a try since it’s independent. Similar approach, not as colorful, but the kids could do it on their own. I did find that it was pretty much as challenging as Horizons.

    • My 6 year old is done with his 2nd grade Math for the year as well. We did Horizons math, and had started out with LifePac. He was BORED with the LifePac and flew through those. The Horizons curriculum was much better. I am thinking that if I don’t go with MUS, that I will start him with the Teaching Textbooks 3. He is already asking me to do multiplication, so I think that TT3 would be a good challenge for him! We did the placement test and he did great so I know it won’t be too hard for him. I did Abeka with my oldest, and it was a lot like Horizons, but I did like how they did the Units. For example in the transportation section all the Match problems would be tied in to transportation. Made it a little more involved then just the random math problems.

      • We have had good success with Singapore math’s primary mathematics. it is “harder” than most American math programs but we like it because it teaches reasoning not just facts. and it is fairly inexpensive.

  14. Kathi Johnson says:

    I am homeschooling my youngest child. She has some learning challenges because of her genetic disorder (vcfs). Math-u-see has been such a blessing to us!! The founder of the program has a son with Down syndrome and this program was developed in large part to help him understand math. While I may flip flop on science and history curricula, I am sticking with MUS. :). (PS – Erica, your website has been a huge source of info and help to me.)

    • Another thing I would recommend would be Little Giant Steps – Rapid Recall System (for all operations)…can add on additional student books for other children and visual input CDs …but what I love is the neurological approach to learning math which has been highly successful with students with special needs and others alike! You must have many reps of correct input before you can have correct output (which is a test). It establishes permanent neurological pathways in the brain to retain and recall math facts (brain training) moving from short-term to long-term memory …quite fascinating really!!! It can be used alongside with ANY math curriculum you choose because it’s focus is on math facts mastery (which seems to be many parent’s concern). Then your children are free to focus on math CONCEPTS and REAL WORLD PROBLEMS with much less frustration when they are not struggling to remember the math facts…hence a more enjoyable experience with math…Time involved is only about 7 minutes TOTAL a day for addition and subtraction and about 10 minutes a day TOTAL for multiplication and division with short exercises spread throughout the day (not long enough to get bored!!!)

  15. This year we’d used TEaching Textbooks 4 with my 3rd grader and Horizons K with my Kindergartener. Very happy with both. We’ll go on to do TT5 next year and Horizons 1 for my 1st grader. 🙂

  16. We started my Pre-K daughter with Saxon K this year. She loves it – all of the hands on manipulative play. We bought a used teacher edition, a new student book and I had most of the materials on hand so I didn’t have to buy the manipulative kit. We love the calendar work – will tweak it for next year – I love some of the morning math/calendar ideas people post on these homeschool websites. I don’t necessarily read the script word for word. The spiraling curriculum makes sense to me – always reviewing what we have previously learned, and constantly building on what we have learned. I hope the curriculum continues to work for both of my children, especially as I have read some wonderful reviews of the program in the upper grade levels. (I was also a teacher in a school that used Saxon. While I know the teachers in the upper grades tweaked the material, added things here and there, etc, the students graduated with phenomenal grades and math skills) Fingers crossed it keeps working for us – why fix what isn’t broken 🙂

  17. Kelly Flood says:

    We also switched from Saxon to MUS. It has been such a blessing! It is a HUGE time saver for my family. My 11 year old son has ADD and after taking him out of a Christian school were he was doing BJ press we went to Saxon and we were both very frustrated, it was such a battle! Since we switched to MUS, he loves math again and has so much confidence back. He is doing Gamma, at first he was a little bored, and then those things he was struggling so hard with, just clicked! My 9 year old son has dyslexia, he really enjoyed Saxon but I switched him to Beta and he loves it as well! He is lego crazy, so the manipulative aspect is a winner. My daughter, who is 7, is doing Alpha. This is her first year homeschooling. She went to Christian school for kindergarten last year because being new to homeschool with both boys having special needs, I wad afraid I would slow her down! She did Abeka last year and then went right into MUS, and she adores it! Cannot believe how well it fits all three of my very, different learners!

    • Kelly, I also have 2 sons – oldest (9) with ADD and younger brother (8) with Dyslexia. Have you had to overcome any challenges with the video tutorials for MUS? With my boys I think it would be hard to focus on the videos, especially for my son who has Dyslexia. Thanks for your input.

  18. Big fan of Teaching Textbooks. We started out with Saxon and a 20 minute lesson was lasting an hour or more. My son learned with Saxon, but hated the sit down and listen part. Teaching Textbooks has solved our math time battles.

  19. We are eclectic with our K and 2st graders here. We sometimes use our Shiller Math Kit (a hand me down). My children LOVE it when I take the time to do it with them — and learn from it. However, is a scripted program with manipulatives that requires parent-child one-on-one (or two) time. I am not a scripted sort of gal and I also sometimes need the kids to work independently. So, we wax and wane with it. When we are NOT doing it, we do some living math, some math learning and reinforcement via free sites like and, some homemade games and worksheets, some typical packaged games, some Montessori stuff, etc. On a recent trip, my son made his way through the first book of Life of Fred with me, which he loves. So, I am considering switching to that and supplementing with pieces of Shiller.

  20. We use Rod and Staff, which isn’t at all flashy, but my girls like it. It is rather “old fashioned” it how it teaches, practice, and order of concepts learned, but it works! We tried other approaches, but nothing quite clicked with my oldest and she felt like she was “bad” at math.

    We also LOVE Math Rider for math fact review. The girls beg to play this even when school is over!

  21. When I started homeschooling we used Abeka for math. My oldest daughter did well with it but when it came time to start homeschooling my next child I switched to Singapore. My husband basically nagged me into doing it. I should have listened to my instincts and stayed with Abeka. We did Singapore for one year and it was awful! It confused my oldest daughter, frustrated my second child and just didn’t work with my teaching style. In the end we went back to Abeka and we are sticking with it! My third child will join our homeschool next year and I fully intend to start her out on Abeka too!

  22. Carol S. says:

    Let’s see, my (rising high school freshman) absolutely enjoys MUS so much that she wants to stick with it all during high school. My middle daughter (rising 7th grader) doesn’t like math at all even though she’s been using MUS throughout as well. So, I just bought Life of Fred for her. This dd. loves to read and LOF does get rave reviews from many people. I don’t know whether I will use it as a supplement or as her complete curriculum, though the creator of LOF says it’s complete as is. I thought of pairing it with MUS or TT. My other kids have always used MUS with mixed results. Honestly, I think math is less about the curriculum than the person using it. Some people (like my oldest) just love math, some don’t. They still have to learn it, but math may never become their favorite subject.

  23. Lake Lili says:

    We will be starting Grade 3 in the Fall and will be continuing to use Singapore Math. We have used it from Kindergarten. I have to say that I am really, really pleased with it. We use it in conjunction with a math drills app on the old I-pad. We also supplement with a lot of drill books that we pick-up at the local book store or at Staples. The combination has meant that my ds know his times tables inside out and does most equations are done mentally. If there is any challenge it is that there are a lot of recommended manipulatives in Singapore Math and ds gets very easily distracted by them. Additionally, ds has so language processing issues and so is still not able to read the questions on his own. If read to him, he can answer without issue but it makes for very much a front and center teaching.

    End point, we would highly recommend Singapore Math.

  24. Bridgett says:

    I have homeschooled for 3 years. I have used Abeka from the beginning. My daughter is a slower learning and Abeka moves pretty fast, but I have added some homemade worksheets where needed. This next year we will be continuing with Abeka. We will be doing a little lapbooking/notebooking in addition to the textbook. She seems to learn the concept very well from Abeka.

    • I am right there with you Bridgett! We love Abeka. It does move quickly but I keep a close eye on how my girls are doing. If I see them struggling to grasp a concept then we simply take a few extra days to work on it. I find worksheets online that deal with whatever it is we are struggling with and after a few extra days of practice they are good to go. 🙂

  25. Even though we have dabbled with some other math programs in all our years of homeschooling, we have always come back to Math U See. I encourage people, though, to try to stay with one program as much as possible since each one teaches concepts in just a little different order, manner, and speed.

  26. We use Right Start and absolutely love it! Very hands on. I love how it teaches strategies for solving problems. My first grader loves doing math and playing the card games that are part of the program!

  27. Amanda S says:

    My oldest, who is finishing 2nd grade right now, has only used Abeka and I think both him and I are ready for a change. He is very strong in Math with very little assistance from me and it seems like Abeka is getting boring to him. I’m deciding between Teaching Textbooks and Math-U-See. Could somebody tell me if Teaching Textbooks is a spiral approach? Or mastery like Math-U-See? I may consider Math-U-See for my upcoming Kindergartner because he loves Legos as others have mentioned.

    • I posted about the same thing up at the top, I got a lot of good replies from different people, you should go check them out! Teaching Textbooks has a wonderful section where your child can try the program online. There are several COMPLETE lessons on there. 🙂

    • TT is definitely spiral. They continue reviewing all throughout each year.

  28. Kristie S. says:

    We have used MUS in the early years but starting in gamma (multiplication), my oldest who is not a math lover just wasn’t getting the concepts and wasn’t learning her multiplication tables well. I came across Times Tales and that has been the key for her to learn her multiplication tables. It is very simple but basically puts each of the harder multiplication facts into a story. Now if she’s stuck all I have to say is “Mrs. Weeks & the first grade class” and she knows the answer (7×6=42) based off the little story that goes along with that problem. Because she strongly disliked MUS though, we switched her to TT4 for this year. It’s a little behind where I’d like her to be just because I find TT a little behind but I think she is learning and has been exposed to things that MUS doesn’t cover – at least not at this age.

    For my son who loves math (2nd grade this year) I am trying to decide whether to stick with MUS or switch to Horizons for 3rd grade. Anyone have any thoughts about switching??

  29. I have a 2nd and 6th grader. We have done Saxon from the beginning, but in the last year, we were introduced to Life of Fred. Our boys absolutely love it!

    Saxon was great in repeating (spiral effect) to make sure they retain what they learned, but my oldest was having a hard time understanding why they don’t explain why you do the problems (it was more a drill/kill). We do like Saxon, but as they got older, it was getting to “mundane” for them.

    Life of Fred has been a great blessing to our boys. They beg to do math every day. If you are not familiar with Life of Fred, each chapter is a story (only about 3 pages); then there are questions at the end. Every story gives the child an understanding of how math is used in everyday life. The stories are very entertaining, and my child does not want to stop after the first chapter. Plus through the stories, you learn other things as well (English, Science, History, etc.). This is considered a full curriculum; so we plan to move forward with this. With my youngest, since he loves the stories and has been learning; we just keep moving forward (he’s gone through 7 books since last fall); I do throw in some supplement work on the side once in the while.

    • We are also using Life of Fred this year. I was hoping someone else was also. I am not 100% sold on it so we have stuck with our saxon also. We tried MUS but neither of my kids (1st and 2nd) liked it. Its a little much to do both Saxon and LOF but my kids LOVE doing them so I guess we will continue this next year.

    • HUGE Life of Fred fans here!! We don’t use any math “curriculum” but we bought a couple of these just for fun, to see what our daughter thought, and she voluntarily decided to go through the whole elementary series!

      She got farther in a year and a half of doing that whenever she felt like it, than she had in six years of public school math. I can’t say enough good things about Fred. I enjoy when we read him – and learn new things too – and I was a math major!

    • Also a huge Life of Fred fan aswell! I love the Fred tries now you try format.

    • Jennifer says:

      We love Life of Fred! I homeschool my first grader, third grader and fourth grader and they all love it!

  30. I guess we are kind of eclectic right now when it comes to Math..We are currently using Singapore EarlyBird Kindergarten and he seems to like it..I am also going to add MUS Primer and HWTears , Get Set for School well for him..I personally like all of them and each one seems to be what my son likes so I guess I am still exploring..Meanwhile, we will have fun with all of them..

  31. Becky Sellers says:

    We are LOVING Christain Light Education. It is simple but thorough, the lessons aren’t too long and it isn’t pricey. This is my first year homeschooling my 5th, 3rd and 1st graders. They have great placement tests that were spot on to their abilities. As I close this first year and look to the next, this curriculum is the one thing I am sure is not changing. We also use an online speed test site called I love Xtra math! The kids complain some, but it has done amazing things for their memorization of facts. I even made an account for myself and practice along with them. I love that it is challenging them. It is easy to use and the best part is that it is free! (Also, thank you Erica! I have used your site MANY times. You have been so incredibly helpful to me.)

  32. I was a public school teacher and fell in love with a hands on math program we used called Bridges in Mathematics. It’s hard to find, but you can piece together the various components using internet searches. It’s game based and really wonderful for the younger grades. We supplement with materials from Teachers Pay Teachers and I use the grade level standards from the state of WA (where I taught) as a guide, though I cover more in some areas and less in others, since I’m not required to cover it the same way I was in public school.

    • Carla Ledford says:

      I am also a former math teacher and LOVED Bridges. We have used a very different approach that has required some tweaking for the homeschool setting but have had much success. Kathy Richardson’s Developing Number Concepts is an awesome way to teach the concepts of math without just “teaching the rules” or memorizing facts. I saw too many pre-algebra and algebra students come through my class knowing math facts but having no understanding of what the numbers really meant, so I knew I wanted to do something different for my kids. My 6 yo was multiplying and dividing real life problems without any use of symbols or math vocabulary. When we introduce the symbols and vocab, he will already understand the concept so it won’t be confusing, Can’t say enough awesome things about this approach!!!

    • I have never taught Bridges but have used the next level up Opening Eyes to Mathmatics. I am now planning on homeschooling my 4 and 5 year olds next year and am wanting to use Bridges. Any ideas on what all I need to find? I just called and Bridges is currently not sold in anything less than an 30 student kit. I have the Box-it-and-Bag-it packs already.

  33. I have not started homeschooling yet (have a 3 year old and 1 year old) but I taught for 6 years and was teacher of the year one year. That may not mean to much to some but I loved planning and learning the best ways to teach my students. The last two years of teaching my district moved to Pearsons Envision Math. I LOVED it and so did my students. I am excited to find that Pearson also has home school curriculum. This curriculum addresses multiple learning styles, teaches understanding rather than just the algorithm, and has a variety of teaching media as well (DVD, textbook, computer games, manipulatives, interactive whiteboards, and online textbooks.)

  34. Like many people who have responded, we have also tried many different Math programs over the years. When my oldest was elementary age, we just couldn’t find one that totally ‘fit” with her. (Math was just not her best subject). But I now know that all the changing curricula certainly wasn’t good for her, either. With my next three children I started them out with MUS and they have all enjoyed it. During Gamma (multiplication) we did have to stop and work on flashcards for a while to solidify the times tables, but that was easy enough to add in. Unfortunately, Math U See has decided to change their curriculum to align with the new Common Core standards that are being adopted nationwide by the public schools. Sadly, this is enough for me to NOT purchase their curriculum again.

    I have a friend who has used Teaching Textbooks for years with great success. Since they are not aligning I’m sure that’s the route I will be taking for my children in the future.

    If anyone is looking at high school math, my oldest (now almost 15yo) is using VideoText and it is GREAT!! Very well explained and independent for the child (it’s all video instructed). The Algebra program has solidified the concepts so well for my (not-so-Math-oriented) daughter. I certainly recommend it!!

    Like someone else mentioned, though…..if you find something that WORKS for your child, stick with it! And realize that each child might learn better with different approaches and that’s OK!

    Happy homeschooling!!!!

    • Do you know they are aligning for sure? I recently thought the same thing and called to speak with someone at MUS. They responded that the curriculum went beyond Common Core alignment and they were just showing where it matched up for public school customers. I too am very leary about any company that would change their curriculum to specifically align with common core. We currently use Horizons but have seriously thought about switching to MUS next year to solidify some concepts that seem to be weak. If they have decided to go the Common Core route than I would not purchase MUS as well. Thanks for posting.

      • Nicole,
        My cousin actually contacted the company and was told that they ARE aligning. They also have a lengthy explanation on their website and I have read that myself. Here’s a link:

        It really saddens me that they (and any other homeschool curriculum companies) would find it important enough to change their curriculum just to align with the CC standards! IMHO, if we homeschoolers wanted our kids to be just like the public school students we would have our kids in the public schools, right?!

        • I read the 3 posts above the one I’m making so I looked into it b/c MUS it’s something I’ve been considering, however the link that Misti shares above just shows how MUS would satisfy common core. So I directly emailed MUS and told them that I heard they are aligning to the common core and asked if this was true. Below is their response to my email:

          “Hello Shana,

          Thank you for your email.

          No, it is not true that Math-U-See is changing the curriculum to grade-based levels or to any outside standards. The updates to the General Math levels (Primer through Zeta) were in response to customer requests for additional help and materials. We listened and added supplemental instruction and activity pages to address these requests such as more word problems, more practice of some concepts, additional terms and clarity on some concepts.
          Some of Math-U-see’s customers in some states are required to do standardized testing. They were concerned about some terms that their students need for those tests. In order to take care of all of our customers we updated the books.
          The changes were to add some teaching tips to the Instruction Manual and add Application and Enrichment pages (1 per lesson) to the Student Workbook. None of the lessons were changed. The DVDs are the same.
          The methods that Math-U-See has used for more than 20 years are still there and have not changed.
          The Application and Enrichment pages are optional. It is your choice to use them or not. If you have an Alpha or Beta test book that is titled Test and Activity Book then you already have the new pages for those levels. They are the same pages just moved from the Test Book to the Student Workbook. They include games and coloring to reinforce the concepts.
          If you have a previous edition Teacher/Instruction Manual and DVD they are still compatible with the updated Student material. The only thing you will not have are the solutions to the Application and Enrichment pages. These solutions can be downloaded from the Math-U-See website.
          Math-U-See does sell to public schools so we provided the public schools with information on how the curriculum will satisfy Common Core.
          I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to call us and talk about your concerns.

          Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.

          Mary Newton
          Customer Service Representative
          888-854-6284 |

          Sign up for our free email newsletter”

      • Julie R. says:

        I’m a parent and would love to better understand this Common Core stuff. My husband and I are fortunate to send our children to a private school and as of late, I’m hearing the same this about moving to Common Core. The information I’ve found says everyone will be learning the same thing at the same time, but not all states are adhearing to this??? Texas being one…which has a great (compared to CA) system. Texas opting out makes me really question it. Any help would be great! thank you!

    • When did you start with VideoText? My son will be in 7th grade and I feel like he is ready for at least pre-algebra. I worry, since I haven’t heard a lot of reviews, that he may be too young?? He is advanced in math.

      • Hi Michell,
        The VideoText Algebra actually covers Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. And it can be done as quickly or slowly as it works for your child. If you think your son is ready for it, then he probably is! I actually met the creator of VT at our local homeschool conference last year and loved him and the program. It is a different (more complete) way of explaining the concepts, one that allows even those who are not math-oriented to “get it.” 🙂 If your son is advanced in math he may just breeze right through it. And when he’s completed it he will have earned 2 full credits of high school math–Algebra 1 & Algebra 2. Yay!
        I hope that helped a bit. I would say if you have any questions about it just contact the company. They have great customer service reps!

    • I was told the same thing as Nicole.

    • From what I understand the new books aligned with Common Core are only adding a few application problems that were already available in the optional practice pages you could download. The DVD’s are not changing. We are just starting Math U See and I found this info on the web site when I was deciding whether to buy new or used.

  35. Bekah Begg says:

    We use horizons. My son LOVES math & he likes the workbooks from Horizons.

  36. Courtney says:

    Has anyone looked at or tried rod and staff math? We used Saxon for ” first grade” my daughter hated it. I moved her through a spectrum third grade standards .. And she was much happier… We will be using rod and staff for other subjects, and I thought their math looked great but since I have nothing from any other homeschoolers , I am becoming skeptical….

  37. When I pulled my son from public school I planned on using MUS, and even purchased it. My Lego loving son did not care for MUS at all.

    Next I had him use Teaching Textbooks, which he liked. He has severe dyslexia, and I loved that all math problems were read aloud to him. He did 1.5 years of TT in one year. I found he was very distracted by the character drawings. He would take forever to do one problem because he wanted to discuss the drawings endlessly.

    I then found Christian Light Education math. My son looked at samples with me, and liked what he saw. In Sept 2012. He switched to CLE Math. He loves it! He just finished a years worth, and we plan on sticking with this math. The pages are not flashy, they aren’t distracting either. He does more daily work in CLE math, but it takes less time than TT. His reading as improved and he’s able to do his daily CLE math lesson independently, which gives him a big confidence boost. He also likes that the math comes in light units (small workbooks) vs one big fat workbook (TT). I love the teachers book. It shows how all problems are worked out, not just the solutions.

  38. First of all, thanks for doing these forums – so helpful! I had to add another curriculum into the mix. We have been using Math in Focus by Houghton Mifflin. It has been FANTASTIC! It uses the Singapore approach. In my opinion, it’s the Americanized version of Singapore Math. I am a former math major and teacher, so I am very picky in this area, and it has worked really well for us. I really feel like she has a very strong foundation from this program. Like other people have said, what works for one kid and parent is not what will work for another, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at. It’s really expensive to buy it new, but I’ve gotten really good deals buying it used, and the consumable portions are only $15 a year at Rainbow Resource. It’s the one curriculum I have that never makes me wonder whether there is something better out there. 🙂

  39. We did a virtual school this year so our math program was the k12 math. For next year I am planning on using Math Mammoth but was wondering if any one has used this and has an opinion on it?

    • I bought Math Mammoth and used it to begin multiplication with my son, while he was doing Horizons. I thought that it was easier for him using Math Mammoth to begin. We then just continued on and are working on memorizing the facts in the way that Math Mammoth suggested, while doing his regular Horizons workbook too.

    • We have started Math Mammoth early this year and enjoy it. It is a work-text so the curriculum and teachers manual are all in one. It helps me with teaching time. I am using this until we get into 3rd grade so I can switch over to Teaching Textbooks. It has the foundations that we need and are really excited with the layout.

      • Thank you! My son will be first grade and I really like the look of Math Mammoth! You’re opinions are appreciated.

        • Machelle Gastineau says:

          We use Math Mammoth over here and love it! I have a 2nd grader using it now. I have no complaints about it!

  40. I am very curious about trying Math U see at one point since I hear a lot of people liking it, however, this is my 2nd year homeschooling and we chose Singapore Math, not only because it was cheaper (although I am very visual and would love to have all kinds of nice books and manipulatives for my kids) but because I have heard so many good comments of kids in Asia excelling their counterparts in North America (plus my husband had the opportunity to visit Singapore a decade ago and was so impressed with the country he felt he time-traveled into the future!). I have liked it so far and so have my kids.
    I really liked this video “Why Singapore leads the world in Early Mathematics” when doing some research:

  41. We are definitely in the minority here, but Saxon has been a great program for us. My 9-year-old is a math natural, and I love how the instructions are very understandable. Most of the time she can read and do her math by herself. Occasionally, she needs some help understanding a concept, but with all of the repetition, everything else just falls into place. I also like how each problem has a note that shows which lesson it was taught in so she can go back and review the lesson. Her independent learning skills have improved greatly this year, and she feels challenged because she can move at her own pace.

    • We are also using Saxon and Life of Fred (mostly for enjoyment). We love it and I feel like my kids have a very strong foundation in math. We are finishing up Saxon 2 so I am still very involved in ‘teaching’ it to them. At what level did you find your 9 year old working more independently? That is very encouraging to hear.

      • I already posted above, but nice to see some people who use and enjoy Saxon – we do too. Sometimes I get nervous when I/we like something so much, but nobody else seems to. Sticking with what works though 🙂

        • I love Saxon. I taught Saxon 3 to my 2nd graders at a hm co-op for the last 3 years and every student excelled. The repetition and morning meetings are great and we use lots of manipulatives. My 5 year old does great with it.

  42. I feel like even more of a minority than those who are using Saxon. We use Math Mammoth. We have only been using it for the past year but it seems to be pretty good for us. I looked at Teaching Textbooks and Singapore but decided on MM. What works for us is the lack of repetitive review. The lesson focuses only on what is learned and isn’t full of review stuff. There is a review over previous chapters at the end of each chapter.

    • I’m glad to see your review of MM! I just purchased it to use for my girls next year. I have one that loves math and one that does not. We have been using Abeka. I’m hoping the mastery approach will be a better fit for us.

    • Machelle Gastineau says:

      I agree. I have a quick thinker over here that dislikes repetitive review, and Math Mammoth has been great!

  43. We are using Rod and Staff with both my girls and it is working so well. We tried Horizons and I was really not impressed. Just sort of blah. So for my second daughter we switched to Saxon. It was ok, but again just not great. Neither was challenging enough in my opinion. I had already made the switch to Rod and Staff for language arts and so we made the switch for math as well. I LOVE that it really is a mastery approach. It is of course very traditional in style, but my girls needed that. There is a reason those traditional methods worked so well. I guess you could argue that it is dry, but we do other activities to have fun with math. Rod and Staff does a great job with math and my girls are doing quite well. I made the decision that for language arts and math we really did not need an exciting curriculum full of colored pictures, etc we just needed solid teaching methods. That is what you get with Rod and Staff.

    • It sounds like your girls are like mine…. In need of challenge . We also do many fun activities and just want straight toward school subjects. I’m delighted to read you post. I noticed there teaching directions that include the wall chart. Did you use the chart? Or supplement the chart topics?

      • We only have the teachers manual and workbooks and speed drill book. Anything else that they suggested using in the manual I would either do in a slightly different way on my own or just skip. I hope you like it! Rod and Staff has honestly changed the way my girls learn! It just makes sense. It is very logical and age appropriate while still being challenging. I cannot explain it any other way. This year has been such an improvement for us since we made the switch.

  44. We too are looking to make the switch. We have used Horizons for K, 1st and 2nd. My girls have a love hate relationship with math but over all it has been working for us. Horizons only goes for a couple more years so we are trying to switch now to what we will use for the upper grades. My sister swears by MUS (she has used Teaching Textbooks and Saxon) but I am not sold yet. I wanted to start at Gamma (multiplication) but after reading some of the reviews and comments I am wondering if it would be too difficult for my girls (3rd grade). In Horizons they are already doing multiplication so I thought it would be a good transition. Now I am not sure…

    • Kristie S. says:

      Gamma will start with simple multiplication that would probably be review for your girls but by the end of the year they will be multiplying numbers like 6473×210 so it will get very in-depth. That’s the way MUS works. The next level will be all about division. They will also review addition & subtraction already taught in Beta so questions like 862+345 and 554-396, area, perimeter, etc… I took the questions directly from a workbook, hopefully that helps you some!

  45. We use Teaching Textbooks and love it!!! My son loves that it is on the computer, that he can view the lesson as often as he wants/needs, and that I am not glowering over his shoulder, I love that it teaches him in a way that he can understand, and the fact that it does all of the grading is a plus as well! Math was my hardest subject to teach, I GET math, it is really easy for me, and I have always had a hard time teaching to those who do not GET it, so this curriculum has really been an amazing thing for us. We have used 3 and 4, and or now just starting 5, and out of all of it there has only been one thing I had to explain to my son, over 200 lessons and there was only one he did not get, for me that says it all!

  46. Stephanie says:

    I tried MUS with my girls and after 2 years (kindergarten and 1st grade) felt very frustrated with how little math they knew. As 2nd graders I started them on the 3rd grade Teaching Textbooks program. 2 years later we still love it and will continue with it next year. They excel in math and love that its something that they do on their own!
    After such frustration with MUS I decided to use a different curriculum for my son- in kindergarten he started the Bob Jones 1st grade and followed it this year with 2nd grade. We’ve only used the workbooks because i feel teaching math at the basics level does not require a teacher manual. He has excelled and will move to the 3rd grade Teaching Textbooks next year.
    Math is very unique to each person and each family- my kids seem to like the no fuss, basic, informative approach so I’m very thankful we found Teaching Textbooks.

  47. Jennifer says:

    Another vote for RightStart Math here. I have not used any other program, so I cannot compare firsthand experience but from my research I thought it was the best for my son. He just turned 4 in Jan and we are halfway through level A. Loving it and am not planning on changing. It has Montessori leanings with the use of manipulatives, and works on mental math (for example instead of adding 4+6, take 1 from 6 and give it to 4, so now it’s 5+5 which is easier to add).

  48. Haley Aldrich says:

    I did my own math curriculum for Kindergarten. We are planning on RightStart Math for 1st grade. It seems like the best fit for my family.

  49. Under the cons it says that skills are taught in a non-traditional order. Can someone explain a little more about that to me? I am just getting started and looking at MUS for math.

  50. I tired hard to make Math-U-See work for my littles, because so many families seem to love it. While I as mama saw the benefits of the mastery approach, my strong willed oldest daughter hated it. Math became a misery, and many lessons were done at night with her principal daddy overseeing. We switched to Horizons this year, and while there are still occasional math battles, the color and variety of Horizons seems to have helped improve her interest level greatly. I plan on trying TT once we reach third grade.

    • I thought I’d do the same thing with my son, but when I was testing my older daughter (she was public schooled, but wanted to come home) to see which level she’d fit in with TT, I printed out the grade 3 test after he finished 1st grade just for fun. He passed it without any problem. I was a little worried that he mabe wasn’t really ready, but he completed TT3 a few weeks ago and he did great. After finishing Horizons grade 1 he was ready for TT 3 in 2nd grade, you might want to give it a try!

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