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Thread: Math Curriculum

  1. #1

    Question Math Curriculum

    I have a child that loves math and actually complained that she is not going fast enough in her current 4th year Montessori classroom.

    She has not quite covered percentages (she cannot apply it) but is pretty much solid on everything else.

    I have been looking at Aleks, Thinkwell, and Teaching Textbooks. My concern with Aleks is the lack of videos - at least that is what I found online as comments. I like that Aleks will cover areas that have been shown to be weak. I am just worried that it will not progress because it will always find "room for improvement". Any experience?

    Thinkwell I would have to do the assessment test as I am rather confused about their product lineup.

    Teaching Textbook puts her in pre-algebra even though she has not done percentage.

    I am looking for a program that she can self-pace herself and gets the support she needs via video or teacher. Preferably one where I do not have to pay for each class individually if she gets through the classes in a few months. Teaching Textbook does not offer that. Does anybody know if the other 2 offer that option? I plan on homeschooling year around so technically it doesn't matter, but I am on a budget.
    “ Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” ~ Maria Montessori

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  3. #2


    Are any of those secular? I thought they were all xtian.
    There are plenty of secular and inexpensive math products to choose from.
    I havent used it, but I believe Beast Academy has books for each topic, you might be able to get ones she likes for that. (On other thread, NZMama is saying she uses BA.)
    Ive a mathy kid, we liked Singapore 1-5, those books are $15 each, and you can do about 2 in an average school year.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    Those maths were all able to be purchased through the charter school we were in when we had a charter school so I can't imagine that they have very much, if any, christian content in their products. The company might be owned by Christians but our charter would allow us to order from christian companies and I don't really care if the company is christian as long as they are not using their products to proselytise me.

    We used Aleks for a short while. It is very boring and dull. I honestly can't see it working for most kids. It is sooo dry.

    Teaching Textbooks is ok, especially for a struggling math student. I would caution that it is easy to "game the system". You can often just keep clicking until it lets you pass the lesson without actually learning anything. Many parents have complained that they let their child work independently in Teaching Textbooks only to find out they didn't learn a thing and their child was just clicking their way through the lessons. Frequently checking in and having them do some pencil and paper math to make sure they are learning would be a good way to combat that if Teaching Textbooks is otherwise what you want.

    Thinkwell was going to be the next step for my oldest son when he was in junior high but he ended up going into public school instead. So I can't tell you much about it other than it looked good for an independent worker when my oldest was in junior high.

    If she needs help with percentages, have you looked at the Keys To... books? There is a decimal set, a fraction set and a percentages set. You could have her do just the percentages or all three sets. A lot of kids complete those books to solidify their child's skills before transitioning into pre-algebra or algebra.

    Khan Academy is a great self-paced option and you can't beat the price. She can work however fast or slow she needs to go and it is all video instruction.

    If you can over look the occasional Christian reference, Life of Fred has books on Fractions, Decimals and Percents and Pre-Algebra that most kids find fun. The books are fairly reasonably priced (around $20 a piece for a hardback book). I lent my copy of Fractions to a homeschooling friend whose daughter used the book as a self-paced summer brush up on fractions. She loved writing and reading but hated math, the story presentation of the lessons really appealed to her. The Christian content is not terribly overt in LOF, especially in the higher math books. I would let my middle schoolers and up read them without censoring.

    Hope this helps

  5. #4


    The topics are grouped in BA with three topics per book. My daughter has used all of 3, 4, and is halfway through 5. She does it independently. I mostly just mark it and discuss with her and help her go back through her working to find errors when she has ones she gets wrong. There is an online option but it is not teaching videos. It is more like extra problems and games to support the learning in the books.

    It is the only math curriculum we have used (and its been a perfect fit for my daughter and we have loved it), so I have no idea about others sorry. We did trial Math Mammoth but my daughter did not like it. I know it has books on certain areas/topics that you can buy, and they have a percent book.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  6. #5


    I spoke with her teacher today and she said not to worry about her and the percentage. She is doing above grade level on decimals and fractions. She just did have an issue the way the evaluation question was phrased. She does do percentage but not the way it was presented. So I would only have to get her exposed.

    Our school is secular and uses Aleks in Upper Elementary - although just for evaluations not for the introduction of the concepts. I am not a fan of Common Core and I am in a state that does not comply to CC. The Singapore Math Dimension I looked at due to the progression (concrete, pictorial, abstract) uses CC.

    @MapeHillAcademy, I heard from a friend who homeschooled her son for a year about the Life of Fred books, and she loved it for her son, but said that my very Pagan child would not like it.

    I will have to make a list of all options and take a week to see which ones she likes and see where she is placed in after the assessment test.

    It's challenging since she has been her entire life in Montessori and some concepts (e.g. algebra and geometry) they have been doing since they were in Children's House (age 3-6). She has done everything in geometry that leads up to Pythagorean Theorem and Euclid. I think that makes it easy for her to pick up on certain concepts.
    Last edited by Kimmy; 05-06-2019 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Keep on forgetting things.
    “ Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” ~ Maria Montessori

  7. #6


    Your plan to take some time trialing things out and doing placement tests sounds great. There are lots of free samples out there. That is what we did first, which is how I found my DD hated Math Mammoth and loved Beast Academy.

    Another thing to think about related to your comment that your DD has complained about not going fast enough. What we have done for math, and many other subjects too, is rather than taking advanced ability (or whatever you want to call it) as an opportunity to fly through material really fast and be streets ahead of grade level, is to work around grade level (+ some levels in some cases) and used the advanced ability as an opportunity to do more. So if DD can get through her grade-ish level curriculum math (after picking one that she still finds fun and have placed her at a level that she is learning) rapidly, then we use that 'extra' time to do extra math and approach it from all angles (a 3D approach) rather than just go through the curriculum faster and use it up. I started on this approach after listening to a talk by an ex-highschool math and physics teacher in NZ who unschooled her gifted son right the way through. She was talked about how he had this ability to work at a high level and work fast, but if she had just taught him what was in the curriculum, he was going to chew through it and be at something like age 12 and going "well we are finished with the curriculum requirements now". Particularly with her knowledge as a teacher that the "new" stuff in the curriculum each year was not that much, so if he learned the new stuff quickly and did not need time for review of previous learning, they had all this extra time this year. And if they used that time to go on to the next year's "new" stuff, it would just compound and they would rapidly be at the end of the curriculum.

    So my daughters day for math has two components, her curriculum and then fun math. Fun math we do math reading (fiction and non-fiction), math activity books (like Math Lab for Kids), math card games (like the Right Start card games), math art (e.g., a golden ratio adult coloring book), online math games (e.g., Prodigy), and more. This seems to fulfill her need for moving fast in a different way. Because really it is a need or want to learn more, and rather than just learning more of the curriculum, she learns more about other stuff that may not be in the curriculum or would be covered not as in depth or in such an interesting way.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

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Math Curriculum