how to select the perfect math curriculum

How to Select the Perfect Math Curriculum

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How do you know which math curriculum will work for you and your child and which you should avoid?

Wading through the marketed homeschool math curriculum can be a daunting task. When I began my search, I wondered through sites searching out reviews for the curricula I was interested in trying. Price, value, and quality were my top considerations as I evaluated different options. I started with Singapore Math, which felt like a good quality curriculum, but I could not help but wonder if there were more affordable options with comparable quality. After four years of homeschooling, I can tell you what I have tried and what I have concluded. 

What I Look for in a Math Curriculum

1. Solid Scope and sequence of skills taught

A solid scope and sequence of skills insures that the math program will not miss concepts or teach skills out of order. For example, the concept of adding cannot be taught before a child has mastered basic counting skills. 

2. Sufficient Review and Practice without Busywork

You can read about a concept and understand it, but to get it into your longterm memory, you need to practice it and periodically review it. At the same time, too much review and practice becomes tedious.

3. Curriculum fits my preparation style

I know that with several young children, I need an open and go curriculum. I do not have time for a lesson that takes 30 minutes to read through, gather materials, and any extra planning. 

4. Visual Layout is Clear and Uncluttered

This may be different for different children, but my children get overwhelmed if there is too much on the page. The font size should be appropriate for the grade level and the content should be visually pleasing.

5. Content is Appropriately Challenging

If content is too easy, a child will not be able to generalize the learned skills to real situations. If the content is too hard, the child will become frustrated.

Does a child’s learning style matter?

Your child’s learning style should be taken into consideration when selecting curriculum; however, do not let it be a deal breaker. I think it would be better to select a higher quality curriculum than one that fits your child’s learning style, but is lacking in quality of content and instruction. You can adapt any quality curriculum to your child’s learning needs and style.  

Math Curriculum Review

The table below describes my opinion of elementary math curricula I have tried. 

*Disclaimer: The programs reviews below are based on my experiences and either were or were not a good fit for my family. Other homeschool parents may have had different result with the listed programs. 

Math curriculum Pros Limitations Recommendation
JUMP math Curriculum is supported through research. Workbooks are affordable. Instructor guides can be downloaded for free from the Jump Math website. Workbooks are consumable and protected by copyright. You would need to purchase new ones for each child. I do recommend JUMP math as a complete and quality math curriculum.
Life of Fred Math skills are taught through a written narrative. There is insufficient practice to use this as a full curriculum. I like Life of Fred, but would only recommend it as a supplementary curriculum.
Mammoth Math Curriculum has a solid scope and sequence of skills, there is sufficient practice for each skill, and practice problems are appropriately intense and varied for generalization of skills. You can buy downloadable books and reuse for each of your children or buy a workbook. Does not have a Kindergarten level. The worksheets have a lot on them and may be visually overwhelming for some students. I highly recommend Mammoth Math as a complete math Curriculum. I have been using the light blue series and use this as the basis for teaching my children. About few times per year you can get a 40% discount on the curriculum through homeschooler buyers co-op.
Math on the Level The curriculum is written as a mastery approach. They have a scope and sequence of skills and a way to keep track of what your child knows and how frequently to review for mastery. You write up your own practice problems (no print and go or open and go options). I like Math on the Level, but felt like Mammoth Math gives me more challenging practice problems in varied ways that I do not have the time to come up with on my own. I do like their approach for review and practice.
Math-U-See Visual program that may help visual learners. Has videos to demonstrate teaching. May not be the right approach for some children. I personally did not continue using this program. One of my children absolutely refused to use this approach. My children also do not have the attention spans to sit through video instruction. It was a fail in our house.
Shiller Math
A Montessori-based approach for teaching math. Uses visuals and manipulative for instruction. I personally feel that the approach jumps around a lot. I also do not feel there is sufficient practice at each lesson to master the skill taught. Shiller math uses a spiral approach. A mastery approach is a better fit for our family.
Singapore Math This program has a solid scope and sequence of skills. It is appropriately challenging and seems to work well for many families. The first grade approach to learning math facts may not work for some children. I have used the Kindergarten and 1st grade books. I like the approach for Kindergarten. The first grade approach did not work for my child, and I ended up buying supplemental material to re-teach skills.
Touch Math Touch Math has a grade-level based curriculum for homeschoolers. This curriculum is aligned to common core. The font size and content amount seems appropriate for the target grade level. I felt like the common-core alignment took away from the what I love about touch math (a visual basis for computing math problems). I like touch math and used it as a special education teacher, but honestly do not like their common core aligned homeschool curriculum (I have only used the Kindergarten version). I do use their supplements for adding, subtracting and multiplying.

Additional Math Curriculum Reviews:

  • CLICK HERE to read my review of Miquon Math
  • CLICK HERE to read about Evan-Moor math
  • CLICK HERE to read my review of Math Lessons for a Living Education
  • CLICK HERE to read my review of Beast Academy Math
  • CLICK HERE to read about supplementary math curriculum
  • CLICK HERE to read about math fact curriculum

Final Math Curriculum Recommendations….

1) Evan-Moor Math








Evan-Moor math products, used as a complete curriculum provide grade-level content that aligns with educational math standards. There will be no gaps. Instruction in the Math Fundamental Series is clear and has helped my children understand math concepts. The Daily Review pages provide just the right amount of practice for content mastery and retention.

  • Solid scope and sequence of skills taught
  • Sufficient practice problems without busywork
  • Open and go curriculum
  • Affordable

CLICK HERE to read about how to switch to Evan-Moor math mid-year.

CLICK HERE to read about how to catch your child up to grade level math using Evan-Moor.

CLICK HERE to read 6 reasons I made the switch to Evan-Moor math.

Evan-Moor Homeschool bundles up to $160 OFF! Saving you money on resources and time on lesson prep!

Mammoth Math (light blue series, downloadable version)

  • Solid scope and sequence of skills taught
  • Sufficient practice problems
  • Open and go curriculum
  • Affordable

Although I used Mammoth Math for several years, I recently made the switch to Evan-Moor math. I do recommend Mammoth Math as a great math curriculum; however, it was not a good fit for my children. The visual layout of the worktexts and the number of practice problems was overwhelming for my autistic children.

 JUMP Math

  • Solid scope and sequence of skills taught
  • Sufficient practice
  • Requires preparation to teach skills before using practice workbooks
  • Teachers guides can be downloaded for free. Workbooks are under $15 each.
A high quality math curriculum will have a strong scope and sequence of skills taught, provide adequate practice, be comprehensive, and be sufficiently challenging. Even the perfect math curriculum will not work perfectly with every child. Consider using math adaptations to help the child make progress.
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