Math Mammoth (1st-PreAlgebra)

I am recommending Math Mammoth first to all new homeschoolers – especially those planning on only doing this for one year due to Covid-19. It is inexpensive, teaches conceptually (the WHY and the HOW) instead of just procedurally (the HOW only), aligns well with public school scope and sequence, teaches directly to the student with no Teacher’s Manual (so can be mostly independent for some kids), has lots of practice for those who need it (those who don’t can do every other problem), has videos to watch if you get stuck, and has excellent books (Blue Book series) for filling in gaps before beginning on grade level books (Light Blue series). Order through Lulu to get spiral-bound books that lay flat.

If your child gets overwhelmed when there is a lot on a page, check out Singapore Math. Very similar teaching style but more expensive. Worktext pages have more white space than Math Mammoth.

Beast Academy (3-7)

This curriculum is ideal for students who are mathematically inclined – especially those who always get 100%! Those kids NEED to be challenged. Beast Academy will do that. Online or paper versions. Paper has more practice. Online has access to teaching videos. Levels DO NOT align with grade level. Usually it’s best to start a level behind grade level. Level 5 can basically be considered a PreAlgebra course.

Miquon Math and Education Unboxed (PreK-3)

Miquon is what we used in the lower grades, and I have not found a better way to instill intuitive number sense than this program. It does NOT align with Common Core, so it is best used as a supplement for 2nd-3rd grade. This would be my #1 choice for K-1st.

Education Unboxed is a website (the one you’re on right now!) with videos that we made years ago to show how to teach/learn math with math blocks. Many people use this as their only math curriculum in the early years. Many schools are using these to train their teachers. If you used only these videos for math in PreK-1st, your child will have a BETTER grasp of math concepts than almost every child who has only used pencil and paper. THIS WORKS. And it’s free except for the price of the blocks!

Algebra – This page on the Math Mammoth site would be my first stop for Algebra recommendations. We have used Art of Problem Solving for Algebra and Jacobs for Geometry. Both were excellent. For high school math, I would look at the higher level books of the publishers recommended on this page (or do dual enrollment).

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Math advice:

– Don’t just automatically choose a math program at your child’s grade level. Take the placement tests for your particular program to see where he/she fits. Sometimes you need to fill gaps. Math Mammoth Blue books are great for this.

– PLEASE don’t be afraid to meet your child where she is at. It is so much better to go back and build the foundation, especially in arithmetic (as opposed to geometry, time, measurement, etc.) than to keep pushing forward at grade level. Schools are required to do that, but you can take the time to help your child (because homeschooling is basically one-on-one tutoring) to find success where she is at right now – which leads to success further on.

– Kids’ (and adults’!) prefrontal cortex shuts down and they cannot learn math when they are upset. Please do not yell at your kids when they frustrate you during math time. It will cause them to move to fight/flight/freeze mode and literally be UNABLE to do further math for at least 20 minutes. Play math games. Find ways to bust through that math block they have. Snuggle and read “living” math books together. Consider that they may not be at the appropriate level and need remediation. Be on their team. You are their greatest ally!

– If your high schooler or college student gets confused, have him check out Eddie Woo videos on YouTube. This guy is a PHENOMENAL math teacher. Better than anyone else I have seen online yet. He explains the WHY, not just the HOW.

– Please don’t start your preschooler on writing down math facts. Please! This is developmentally inappropriate for the vast majority of kids. Talk about math throughout your day. Count things. Play with math manipulatives. Read math picture books. But leave the abstract symbol work for when his mind is a little more grown up.

– If your child struggles with multiplication, she may actually need work on mental addition. The Math Mammoth Blue Add/Subtract 2A and 2B are great for working on this. And then Multiplication 1 works on memorizing those multiplication facts.

– One of my kids found it helpful if I put my hand on her shoulder or braided her hair while she did math. She also enjoyed doing math with chalk in the road. Find what works for your kid!

– Struggles in Algebra are often caused by lack of understanding of fractions. Look at the Math Mammoth Fractions 1 and 2 books to see if they might be helpful. Also, a solid understanding of integers (negatives and positives) is important!

– Math is hard for everyone at some point. If your child is not being challenged, he is not at the right level. Math provides an opportunity for your child to grow in perseverance, work ethic, and having a good attitude when faced with something difficult. Don’t let the tyranny of 100% steal that from your child! (https://artofproblemsolving.com/…/perfect-scores-set…)