Recently, my husband told me I have a weird obsession with curriculum. Although I cannot deny this claim, I can definitely see how it would seem that way when it comes to math curriculum. I buy and try out a lot of math curricula. Some of the core math curricula I have tried is okay, but they just are not a great fit for my children. I feel like I am searching for a math unicorn that may not really exist. This article evaluates the use of Evan-Moor products (Math Fundamentals and Daily Math Practice) as a core math curriculum.
My Math Unicorn Wishlist for a Core Math Curriculum
Why do I keep buying math curriculum? Some curricula I have tried is substandard whereas I spend too much time modifying other great curricula for my children’s learning needs. When I think of what I am really searching for in a math curriculum, here is my list:
- The advertised grade level for the curriculum aligns with grade level educational math standards for content.
- The content is appropriately challenging.
- The concepts are taught visually (e.g., use of manipulatives and/or pictures/drawings).
- The visual layout of the pages is well organized and not overwhelming. This includes font size appropriate for the grade level.
- Sufficient review and practice without becoming overwhelming or too redundant.
I also prefer open-and-go types of curriculum since I am homeschooling multiple children. My children do not have the attention span to watch math video lessons, so I avoid any math curriculum that is online or video-based.
My Previous Go-to Math Resources
No matter what curriculum I have tried in the past, I always end up going back to mammoth math. Mammoth math is a very strong curriculum that meets many of my unicorn math requirements. Content is appropriately challenging, aligns with grade level standards, and visual representations/manipulatives are sometimes used. I also like that the curriculum is open-and-go, which is often important for busy homeschooling moms. Mammoth math falls short for my particular children in that they are overwhelmed by the visual layout of the pages. They are overwhelmed by the number of practice problems and just hate math. I end up adapting and modifying the content to better meet their learning needs, which takes up a lot of preparation time. So, my search for the unicorn math program continues.
The other supplementary math curriculum I always use is Evan-Moor’s Daily Math Practice books. I have used and liked both the common core daily math practice and the daily word problem practice books. My children needed more review and practice for mastery than provided in our previous core curriculums and I stick with these products every year.
CLICK HERE to read my review of Evan-Moor’s Daily Math Practice series.
The Evan-Moor Core Math Curriculum Solution
When I reviewed Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamental’s Grade 1 (CLICK HERE to read my full review), I noticed that the curriculum included a suggested teaching sequence for using the book as a core math curriculum. Although I used the book to remediate some subtraction concepts my daughter was struggling with, the possibility of using Math Fundamentals as a core math curriculum kept lurking in the back of my mind.
Is Evan-Moor a Core Math Curriculum Unicorn?
Instead of just plunging into another math curriculum, I decided to evaluate Evan-Moor according to my math unicorn standards. This evaluation includes using Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals book in combination with Evan-Moor’s Daily Math Practice book. The Math Fundamentals book is the instructional book and the Daily Practice book is for review, practice, and mastery. The Daily Practice books can also be used as an assessment for determining which skills may need to be readdressed or reviewed during instruction time.
1. Content aligns with grade level educational standards.
When I went to compare the Math Fundamentals grade 1 book with AZ State Standards for math, I was shocked to find that Evan-Moor already completed this task for me. This is the first time I have seen a publisher compare their math products to educational standards. I even double checked the standards and it is all there. The same information is available for the Daily Math Practice books. I am confident that when I switch to Math Fundamentals, my children will not have any gaps and meet grade level standards.
Here’s how to see this comparison yourself on Evan-Moor’s website:
- Go to Evan-Moor’s website and find the Math Fundamental’s Page.
- Scroll down until you see “Coorelations.”
- Click on your State, then select the document you want. For Arizona, I was offered both State Math Standards and National Math Standards.
- See for yourself how Evan-Moor fills the required math standards and performance objectives.
2. Content is appropriately challenging.
Since Math Fundamentals meets educational standards, it will be appropriately challenging. Some curriculums I have tried were too challenging for my children. Others have been substandard. Based on my experience reviewing and using Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals and Evan-Moor’s Daily Math Practice books, I feel that the combination will provide the right level of challenge at grade-level. Not too hard and not too easy.
3. Concepts are taught visually.
Although Evan-Moor does not use math manipulatives, they do teach concepts visually. The illustrations and drawings teach the math concepts very clearly. If you wanted hands-on manipulatives, it would be easy to follow along with the instructional drawings using base-10 blocks or other manipulatives.
4. The visual layout of the pages is well organized and not overwhelming.
Evan-Moor products are the appropriate font size for each grade level and all pages are visually pleasing.
5. Sufficient review and Practice without becoming overwhelming or too redundant.
CLICK HERE to read about how the Math Fundamentals Grade 1 book introduces concepts and provides practice. The Daily Math Practice book includes a half-page of 5 math practice problems for Monday through Thursday. Friday is a full page, but not the lease bit overwhelming. My children have never felt overwhelmed using these math products and I have never had to reduce the number of practice problems.
Conclusion on Evan-Moor as a Core Math Curriculum
It seems too good to be true, but I think I have found my math unicorn. Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals meets all of my math curriculum requirements. Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals is the math curriculum unicorn I have been searching for over the past 5 years. As an added bonus, the books are affordable and the program is open-and-go. I won’t need to spend extra time modifying other curriculum as I have in the past. I can be confident my children will learn grade-level content without any gaps in instruction.