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Picking a math curriculum is pretty important—and there are so many options out there—how do you choose?  We’ve come up with a list of possible items to consider when choosing a math curriculum for your child. We hope this helps–

  • Believe it or not, there is not a universal math curriculum that works best for every child. Not only is a curriculum’s mathematical content an important part of the educational equation, but the role of the teacher is also essential. It’s up to you as the teacher to be excited and enthusiastic about the subject matter and to teach it in a fun manner.
  • How teacher-intensive is the curriculum you are considering? Factors such as preparation, resources, time, grading, and your own knowledge should influence your choice of a math curriculum. If you find that you need assistance teaching math to your child, there are many web-based programs available, as well as co-op classes, junior college classes, and tutors available to assist.
  • Determine the type of approach you want to use when you’re selecting a curriculum. Do you want to use an incremental, step-by-step approach or a mastery-based approach? In a step-by-step approach, most of the exercises are review problems. A mastery-based approach is usually laid out in chapters or sections that concentrate on a few topics, with review problems completed separately
  • Does the program fit your child’s specific style of learning? All children learn differently, so it is important to select a medium that is appropriate for your child.
  • Does the program offer a range of math courses? Once you find a program that works for your children, it’s nice to progress within the program, and not have to shop for a new one each year.
  • Read reviews from other homeschoolers before choosing your math curriculum. It’s always smart to do your research before purchasing anything.
  • Free trials are a great way to experience a curriculum before you purchase. Most companies offer a free trial, ranging from a sample lesson to a demo disk or free subscription.
  • What is the cost? Check product and curriculum websites.  Some products can be purchased and reused with other children in your homeschool. Other programs are purchased on a subscription basis. Check craigslist, ebay, homeschool swaps, etc. for used materials that are in good condition. For new materials at a drastic reduction, check www.educents.com.
  • Incorporate “living math” into your program. When my son was in second grade and riding in the car with me, he announced “1/2 is the same as 2/4.” I think my head spun around! I wasn’t teaching him fractions, so I asked him how he knew that math fact, and he said, “from road signs”!
  • When taking higher level math courses, is college credit available?  Dual credit is a GREAT option.
  • If you have been using a particular math curriculum and find it doesn’t quite work the way you would like it to, remember that it doesn’t have to be your final choice. Do not become a prisoner to a specific curriculum. These programs are merely a tool and there are a number of tools out there to choose from.

Math is important—so finding just the right option for your children is paramount. Good luck!

And yes, fun learning is forever learning!

Ann Simpson

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