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  1. #1

    Default Math Curricula comparisons

    Hey all! For those who have tried any or all of these math curricula:

    Singapore Math
    Teaching Textbooks
    Beast Academy

    for upper elementary and middle school levels...what are the things you love/hate/prefer/etc...anything. I've looked in the Curriculum reviews and there aren't a lot, honestly. So, I'm looking for any input you all have. Thanks!
    Jennifer - Mom by day, Pharmacist by night
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  3. #2


    I only have used Singapore, I loved it through level 5. Level 6 is written "based on, but not actually" the Singapore program and was icky, imo. They have two paths for 7-we went with Dimensions, and its pretty mediocre. None of the things I loved about K-5 are there - the concrete to abstract, the cumulative reviews, just everything seems dull.
    We may switch to something else.

    I dont know if Id search out one program to use for all years, though. 1)Planning for future curriculum use way down the road is pretty risky. 2) Something good for your child in elementary arithmetic may not be so good for middle school, and may be written by different people.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.


    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  4. #3


    I can not speak to teaching textbooks, but we used math in focus and beast academy. I really liked math in focus, but it was a bit pricey and the kids didn't love it. Beast academy is great, it goes very in-depth and is a grade ahead. My DD did 4 when in 5th grade. Sometimes BA gets just so in-depth that we need a break, so we go between it and math in focus or last year we used horizons. I liked Horizons, but it is absolutely not secular - it is crazy that math isn't secular, but all the puzzles that you solve are bible phrases etc. DD thought it was ridiculous and refused to finish it because she didn't like all the bible references.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

  5. #4


    So, when people say "Singapore Math", I assume they mean Singapore Primary Math, not Math in Focus. But I've used MiF and parts of Singapore PM. We used Beast Academy - all the levels that were available at the time. And I'm pretty familiar with Teaching Textbooks.

    I'm not totally sure what you mean by middle school levels. Singapore has Dimensions but most people move into an American style pre-algebra program, but Beast ends at 5th grade math and you're supposed to go into pre-algebra (Art of Problem Solving is their parent company) and Teaching Textbooks has through 7th, after which you're supposed to do pre-algebra... though IIRC, they're a bit like Saxon and MEP in that their 7th grade program is optional, I think, for kids who need more review and average students are supposed to go right into pre-algebra... I think. I know that's true of both MEP and Saxon and I think it's true of TT as well.

    You're looking at three VERY different programs with different goals and ideal users.

    First, Singapore... good, challenging sort of middle of the road program. It's difficult, but not too difficult for most kids. It emphasizes conceptual thinking, word problems, using bar diagrams to solve word problems. If you go with Primary Math, it has more optional components - the extra practice for kids who need more practice, the intensive practice for kids who need harder problems, and the challenging word problems for kids who need more word problems (and more challenge - they get hard by the upper levels). MiF is very similar but has more of an American textbook look and there's just the text and workbook and a single enrichment book you can choose to add - I forget what it's called. More homeschoolers use Primary Math, though both are used by homeschoolers and schools.

    Beast Academy... innovative presentation, the comics are super well-done, super in depth, very VERY VERY hard problems in the practice book - I think Beast works for some kids and not others - the ideal Beast kid is a kid who enjoys getting frustrated with math because some of the problems are purposefully too hard to solve without help for the vast majority of kids. It is Common Core aligned so you know it's covering all the basics, but it assumes that kids are smart enough to not need a lot of practice with those basics and instead focuses on things that are way, way ahead of what most kids that age learn. Some people use it as a supplement to another program (often Singapore) because they don't feel it has enough practice built in and is too "weird" or out there. But it's PERFECT for kids who need a challenge.

    Teaching Textbooks... easy. There's no other way to say it. It's just really easy math with a pretty traditional presentation that isn't very conceptual - more focused on practice. And that's perfect for some kids, especially kids who need more support and time. Also good for parents who are math-phobic or have a math learning disability since it's on the computer. I have heard of some families with average to accelerated kids who used it speeded up and liked it for that - the computer can make it easier to run through the material faster... but I would not personally recommend it to a family unless they or their kids were struggling in some way with math. If you have a kid who *can* do more, I'd say go deeper with things like Beast or Singapore's Challenging Word Problems before going at breakneck speed through an easy program like TT. Of course, YMMV on that if your goals or needs are different.
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Math Curricula comparisons