Math

Homeschool Math Programs
The N Family
Sonlighters from
Chandler, AZ

Best Homeschool Math Curriculum

For math, read over the descriptions, then pick a brand. It is possible that you might prefer different math programs for your different children (if one child loves colorful illustrations, and one gets distracted, they might be better served with different programs).

Don't be overwhelmed. Any one of the brands below is a good brand that has helped thousands of students learn what they needed to know. (And if you ask a group of homeschooling moms which is the best, you'll probably find some advocates and some detractors for each, which isn't necessarily helpful for making a confident purchase.)

So read the descriptions. Which appeals to you the most? Choose that. And if, at some point, you decide it doesn't work well for your family, pick another one.

After you've picked a brand, do whatever assessments are suggested for the product, so you can make an informed decision about levels to purchase.

Complete Math Programs

Optional Enrichments

Pick the program that suits your style

We believe that math should be fun, not frustrating. You can teach confidently with Sonlight's handpicked homeschool math programs – the best on the market, from elementary math to calculus.

Not sure what level your child needs? Take a free math assessment.

Homeschool Math Curriculum

Math-U-See

(Grades K-12)

Created by a longtime teacher, Math-U-See is a hands-on, student-paced, mastery-based approach that focuses on developing a true understanding of mathematical concepts transferable to real-world application.

You'll follow a 4-step approach to introduce, review, practice and master concepts. Since math is learned sequentially – independent of age or grade – the program teaches skills that build on previous principles as your child progresses.

The multisensory "Build it — Write it — Say it" method of instruction lets children explore each new concept and helps you assess their understanding before continuing. A favorite component, manipulatives (Lego-like pieces), help students visualize what they're learning.

  • Concept-driven: Children gain thorough understanding by learning how to solve math problems, why they're solved in the prescribed manner, and when to apply the concept.
  • Mastery-based: You'll know when they've mastered a concept when they teach it back to you, indicating readiness to learn the next skill.
  • Skills-based, multisensory approach: Math-USee addresses the different ways we process information. As your children incorporate all senses in meaningful ways that aid retention, they'll build essential cumulative skills.

Other considerations

You may want to review the video instruction prior to each lesson to ensure that you understand how each concept is best taught. You'll find that using every component of the program – instruction manual, video lessons, manipulatives, practice and review pages – will contribute to your student's success.

Because this homeschool math program isn't grade-based, we offer a placement tool on our site to determine where to start your student.

Due to restrictions by the publisher, Math-U-See homeschooling math curriculum doesn't qualify for Sonlight discounts.


Teaching Textbooks

(Grades 3-12)

Teaching Textbooks focuses on practical, application-oriented problems. It is multisensory, and follows the spiral (or review) method for longterm mastery. No other program offers as much explanation and as many solutions.

Designed specifically for homeschoolers, it offers all the tools your children need to be successful, with minimal knowledge or oversight on your part.

  • CD-ROM—based whiteboard lectures: Learn from an expert who tutored math at Harvard.
  • Student Workbook: Get every lesson, quiz and problem set for the year.
  • Solutions CD-ROMs: Step-by-step audiovisual solutions for all workbook and test problems that students can watch/review. PC/Mac compatible.
  • Answer Booklet: Answers for every workbook problem, including quizzes.
  • Digital Gradebook: Students enter answers in the computer, which grades it automatically.

Other considerations

If your children are math whizzes, they may find some lectures move slowly and spend too much time on the basics. Just fast forward.

Teaching Textbooks has no index or glossary and no search function to locate topics.

Due to restrictions by the publisher, Teaching Textbooks doesn't qualify for Sonlight discounts.


Horizons Math

(Grades K-6)

For first-time homeschoolers, we recommend the grade-appropriate Horizons Math program for K-2. Horizons is an easy-to-use homeschool math program, with a familiar and friendly approach for students, plus thorough guidance for Mom.

You'll use a proven spiral learning technique to introduce your children to a concept, and then help them learn to solve related, increasingly difficult problems.

Their minds are free to concentrate on each new concept, without feeling overwhelmed by information. As you revisit concepts over time, they strengthen and reinforce their knowledge base.

The program is filled with helpful suggestions and ideas, such as what household items you can recruit to serve as creative manipulatives. If you prefer, Sonlight offers ready-to-use kits with all the manipulatives you need in a convenient storage case.

Each program includes:

  • Two colorful, well-organized workbooks, each with 80 lessons and 8 unit exams
  • Teacher's Handbook with daily lesson plans, answer keys and final exams
  • 80 reproducible worksheets. Purchase the basic program once for each grade.
  • Along with reproducible worksheets, each package includes consumable workbooks you can order separately for additional students.

Other considerations

For children especially sensitive to visual stimuli, Horizons' color illustrations may be a distraction.


Singapore Math

(Grades K-8)

When the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement tests the relative strengths and weaknesses of various programs, Singapore students consistently rank #1.

Singapore is extremely clear, highly logical and sequential, with a strong focus on mental math. Students get the appropriate amount of practice, without excessive repetition. Challenging word problems build thinking skills, and students apply math in a variety of situations. The program teaches geometry throughout.

Each year of Singapore Primary Math (K-6) includes two full-color textbooks and two black-and-white workbooks.

Sonlight has also developed unique Home Instructor's Guides for the Primary Math programs 2A-6B. (Due to the simplicity of the math, lower levels have no guide.) The guides bridge the gap between textbook and workbook. We lay it all out for you: concepts you'll cover, pages you'll reference, and numerous exercises to reinforce the concepts you're teaching.

Other considerations

Because Singapore Math is generally a year ahead of U.S. math programs, most children need to begin with the "B" book of the year prior to their current grade.

Some students require more reviews and math drills than are contained in the main texts. We provide supplementary materials for most Singapore programs.

Though Sonlight offers U.S. versions of Singapore Math, the sequence of concepts doesn't always follow a typical U.S. curriculum. For example, students may learn to multiply and divide simultaneously, rather than at different times of the semester.

Due to restrictions by the publisher, Singapore Math doesn't qualify for Sonlight discounts.


Saxon Math

(Grade K-12)

Students using Saxon Math earn consistently high scores on standardized tests. The program is extremely strong in areas of arithmetic computation and mathematical principles (distributive, commutative, etc.).

Saxon is easy to teach, and from 4th grade up requires little parental involvement. It includes lots of guidance on exactly what to say and do. The early elementary programs include– and require–many manipulative activities. Sonlight offers complete kits with the necessary items.

Saxon packages include everything you need to teach one child. To use the program with additional or successive students, purchase additional consumable tests and worksheets.

Beginning with Saxon 5/4 and on up, packages include Dr. David Shormann's DIVE Into Math CD instruction. On-screen illustrations, tips, and alternative problem-solving approaches help your student maximize learning.

Other considerations

For students who don't require as much drill, Saxon can be repetitive.

In comparison to other programs, it may be lacking on application-oriented problem solving and modern presentation (use of charts, graphs and other effective teaching tools).

For more details, visit sonlight.com/saxon


Miquon Math

(Grades 1-4)

Miquon Math is one of the best tools to teach younger students how to think mathematically. Miquon teaches all four arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) beginning the first year, and even introduces algebraic notation, geometry, and diagram-reading in the first book.

The program emphasizes patterns and relationships (rather than pre-set formulas and methods); using manipulatives and unique graphic layouts to help children discover and understand those concepts.

Parents often choose Miquon as a fun supplement, though some use it as the main math program in early elementary years. When they finish the last book in the series, most students are well-prepared for the 4th- or 5th-year books in other programs.

Other considerations

Miqon requires curiosity, flexibility and openness to investigation. If your child is more of a "just give me the facts" learner, the discovery-oriented approach may not be appealing.

If you begin the program past the initial 1st/2nd Grade offering, we encourage you to start with the prerequisite books from the prior grade, as Miquon can be difficult to jump in midstream.

Because parents and children work together to share ideas and discoveries, Miquon may require a greater time investment than other programs.

Miquon doesn't cover long division.


Math Supplements

Life of Fred Math

(Grades K-5+)

There's not another math program quite like this one. Never again will you hear, "Math is boring," or "When will we use this in real life?"

Each book is a humorous story. Students follow Fred Gauss, who in the course of everyday life runs into situation after situation where ... surprise: He needs to know math. He solves real problems because he has a reason to.

Don't be fooled by the fun, non-math-like, titles like Goldfish, Mineshaft and Liver. Each book covers concepts comprehensively. Learning relies on reading the self-teaching stories and careful thinking. Clear explanations and goofy illustrations make math stick with your children and prepares them for upper-level coursework.

Life of Fred creator, Dr. Stanley Schmidt, recommends that students through Grade 4 start with the Apples book, and then complete the books in the order prescribed.

Other considerations

Because of its unstructured, story-centered approach, the Elementary series doesn't spend much time teaching math basics.

There are no workbooks with practice problems, no step-by-step instructions, no answer keys and no rote memorization.

For details, visit sonlight.com/life-of-fred


MathTacular

MathTacular makes math unbelievably understandable. It's highly engaging and fun. (Who knew a car could double as a ruler?) As your children shadow Justin and friends through humorous and intriguing scenarios, they'll learn– and remember–a whole spectrum of mathematical concepts.

MathTacular is generally appropriate for children in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Older students will benefit from MathTacular 4: Word Problems.

Here's an overview of what to expect:

  • MathTacular: addition, subraction, ordinal numbers, mass, fractions, measuring, etc.
  • MathTacular 2: money, time, place, value, area, statistics, perimeter, graphs, estimating, basic geometry, etc.
  • MathTacular 3: prime numbers, factors, angles, coordinate planes, time zones, conversion, long division, etc.
  • MathTacular 4: finally, world problems made simple! Use the program to reinforce what your students have learned during the school year, or as a refresher to brush up on math skills at any age.

More Math Helps

FlashMaster

Replace boring flashcards with the fun FlashMaster game. If necessary, expand your instruction with additional resources like Math on Call, the Key to... series, and hands-on manipulatives.

Trying to decide what level your child needs? Take a free placement test for each homeschooling math program.