• Secular Math Curriculum

    mh900130271-jpgI'll never forget the first time I started looking at math curricula. I hadn't really used a math curriculum the first few years of my son's homeschooling...we simply relied on workbooks and good ole' math manipulatives. But when I started doing research into a more organized curriculum, I was flabbergasted to discover that there was such a thing as "Christian math." I was even more surprised when I realized that the majority of math curricula was faith-based.

    That was back in the "dark ages" of homeschooling, of course, so things have come a long way since then. Thankfully, there are now plenty of secular math choices, and I have begun putting together a listing of them which I'll share with you below. I am positive I have missed some of your favorites, though, so please, as you did with the language arts article last week, chime in with comments about programs that you have used, or just know of, that are secular.

    ALEKS Arithmetic Village Art of Problem Solving
    Calvert Math Chalk Dust Math Developmental Mathematics
    Excel Math Journey through Waldorf Math Khan Academy Math
    Life of Fred Math in Focus (Singapore) Math Mammoth
    Math on the Level MCP Mathematics MEP Math
    Miquon Math Moving with Math Power Basics
    Earlybird Math/Primary Math (Singapore) Progress in Mathematics (Sadlier) RightStart Math
    Saxon Math Shiller Math Spectrum Math
    The Teaching Company Teaching Textbooks Thinkwell Math
    YourTeacher.com Videotext
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. laundrycrisis's Avatar
      laundrycrisis -
      MCP Math by Modern Curriculum Press and Spectrum Math are both very nice series of open-and-go workbooks that "teach on the page" and are completely secular.
    1. farrarwilliams's Avatar
      farrarwilliams -
      Primary Math and Earlybird Math are the two that are traditionally referred to as "Singapore Math" and they're both secular (and from the same company).

      MEP Math is secular (and free!)

      Also, I thought Math-U-See was secular?
    1. onyxravnos's Avatar
      onyxravnos -
      a little garden flower has a waldorf math program as well
    1. dbmamaz's Avatar
      dbmamaz -
      Yes, I'd never heard of Math In Focus. I use the math books from singaporemath.com. The two Farrar mentioned are the grade school and preschool sets, but they also have several sets for higher math. The Math in Focus series doesnt seem to.

      Also, Life of Fred isnt REALLY secular. There are occasional mentions of church, not in a preachy way, but in a 'its part of life' way. He also makes it clear he wont discuss evolution in his pre-algebra/biology book.

      Finally, I really think Khan Academy should be in the list . . . now that he has a fully interactive practice area, I think it could count as a curriculum. It would be nice, tho, if there was a way to give a kid an account without first having to get a google or fb account for them.

      Oh, and what about the Zaccaro books? I know they arent curriculum, but they are often used as supplements for word problems. What about math on the level? or the Key To series? or the living math website I'm always recommending www.livingmath.net OH, and if you go to the homeschool freethinkers place I mentioned before, they include Art of Problem Solving, which is very intense algebra
    1. farrarwilliams's Avatar
      farrarwilliams -
      I've heard of and seen Math in Focus - it's a program used by public schools (as well as some homeschoolers) that want to follow the "Singapore Method" and is based on the Singapore government's educational program for math, though unlike the actual Singapore math company (where a slightly different version of their text is used in actual Singapore schools) it's only used here in the US. In my humble opinion, it's not as good as Primary Math, though I didn't use it, so probably I should shut up there.
    1. Lou's Avatar
      Lou -
      I believe saxon puts out the focus singapore option...not sure if it's saxon publishing and is related to the company that outs out saxon math or just similar names?

      What is CHRISTIAN MATH EXACTLY? Can someone explain that to me? I have heard this and can't find any one that can tell me what exactly is "Christian Math"??? I have seen things like 1+1+1=1
      and 2+2 does NOT = 4...????
    1. Cheryl's Avatar
      Cheryl -
      my kids went to private Catholic school before homeschooling.

      I think she means, "If Jesus had one fish and by the power of God made 8 fish could he feed all of his Apostles?
    1. MathFour's Avatar
      MathFour -
      I'm going to have to check out some Christian math books. I'm curious as to what that even means. Thanks for the info!
    1. farrarwilliams's Avatar
      farrarwilliams -
      I haven't actually seen it, but my understanding is that "Christian math" is just math textbooks where in places where there's text, such as for word problems, they use lots of religious examples. Like, instead of, "Little Timmy has 20 cupcakes for the birthday party, how many more does he need if..." it'll be, "Little Timmy has 20 cupcakes for the church picnic, how many more..." But I've heard that one of the programs (BJU's???) just has random bible quotes throughout their math textbook. You know, to inspire you to do better math.

      The 1+1+1=1 thing is a reference to the trinity. It's not math, it's theology, just expressed mathematically. I don't think it's intended to be taken as the way to do that math problem. I don't know what the 2+2 does not = 4 thing is though...
    1. ElizabethB's Avatar
      ElizabethB -
      After researching and reading a billion reviews, I finally closed my eyes and hit "confirm payment" for RightStart math Level B for my son, Carter, almost 7. The main thing that sold me on this program was that it was reviewed as extremely hands-on. Carter has difficulty staying focused doing worksheets over and over and I think this will actually be fun for us both. I am allotting an hour a day for planning and implementing this math in the beginning. I read it's not a good independent curriculum, but I've only got one child. I'll let everyone know how it goes
    1. Cheryl's Avatar
      Cheryl -
      If there were a way I could cut and paste my kids math to show you I would. There are bible verses and pictures all throughout and the word problems use biblical references. Its still Math. It's still 1+1=2

      It has royally gotten on my nerves and I am switching them to all secular next year
    1. QueenBee's Avatar
      QueenBee -
      Thanks for the list!

      The first year my oldest DD did math we actually used ... pause to swallow pride ... Rod & Staff. I mean, the name alone, right? But it was such a no-frills book and she is so easily distracted that it worked. Until I couldn't take it any more! LOL Seriously, I don't know how some people have the strength to overlook such things. I applaud them loudly for their amazing ability to ignore. Mine isn't so good and we had to switch. Never again!!
    1. leav97's Avatar
      leav97 -
      Isn't Art of Problem Solving Secular?
    1. HighPointHS's Avatar
      HighPointHS -
      We, also, use the Singapore Math (Primary Math) and LOVE it . We have also started using Nutshell Math through our subscription to Cosmeo and enjoy having white board video explanations for my dd. It appears to follow their books (and you can change the grade-level book, but it does not seem to NEED it.
    1. hornblower's Avatar
      hornblower -
      I agree that Life of Fred would not make my list for a secular. I was ok with the little god is great comments in the Alg but my dd was getting ticked off.

      With both of my kids we have ended up mostly using
      Singapore Primary Math 3rd ed
      Galore Park
      Chalk Dust

      For geometry units this spring I have Zome Geometry by Hart & Picciotto and Patty Paper Geometry by Serra.
    1. Topsy's Avatar
      Topsy -
      Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
      I've heard of and seen Math in Focus - it's a program used by public schools (as well as some homeschoolers) that want to follow the "Singapore Method" and is based on the Singapore government's educational program for math, though unlike the actual Singapore math company (where a slightly different version of their text is used in actual Singapore schools) it's only used here in the US. In my humble opinion, it's not as good as Primary Math, though I didn't use it, so probably I should shut up there.
      Math in Focus was the ONLY Singapore math curriculum I was familiar with until you gals chimed in! I'm trying to remember where I first heard about it...I suppose it was on Cathy Duffey's list when I first bookmarked it. And I sort of assumed it was the only one out there. I love finding out about these other options!!
    1. Topsy's Avatar
      Topsy -
      Quote Originally Posted by dbmamaz View Post
      Also, Life of Fred isnt REALLY secular. There are occasional mentions of church, not in a preachy way, but in a 'its part of life' way. He also makes it clear he wont discuss evolution in his pre-algebra/biology book.
      Thanks for the heads up about this, Cara. I've heard it mentioned a lot of times on the forum here, so I was making assumptions. I've never used it myself.
    1. Satori's Avatar
      Satori -
      Yeah, I think you're missing the "real" Singapore Math. We love Singapore Primary Math from singaporemath.com. I listed on my blog under Curriculum a list of popular secular math programs (and other subjects) if you want to check it out. I think you got most of them.
    1. Cheryl's Avatar
      Cheryl -
      Life of Fred is AWESOME! I'm so sorry you all are irked by it! it is a great program! jWe have just started with Fractions (the first book) and haven't come across ANY religious parts at all!

      Is there ANYTHING like it out there? Life of Fred is hysterical (as funny as Math can be) and we plan on using it with all the kids.
    1. Cheryl's Avatar
      Cheryl -
      we use Teaching Textbooks, Calvert and Life of Fred for the older kids. Teaching Textbooks everyday and Calvert/ Life of Fred a couple times a week.

      Sams club workbooks and some old Calvert K manipulatives for the little kids.
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