Homeschool Math Curriculum Suggestions

Introduction

In the light of the Common Core standards, you might be wondering if you should adopt a textbook that explicitly aligns to the Common Core, or if you should stick with a more traditional text.

The Big Picture

The most important goal for a K-8 student is to achieve algebra-readiness and pass the high school algebra graduation requirement. Truth be told, if your child cannot complete an Algebra I course by the end of 9th grade, your child has already fallen behind. In fact, the only way to take AP Calculus by 12th grade is to finish Algebra I in 8th grade.

Algebra I requires strong computation skills, particularly with fraction manipulation and negative numbers. Although deep critical thinking skills are highly desirable, if your computation skills are strong, but you are weak with critical thinking, you will still be able to pass an Algebra I class. In other words, computation skills reign supreme, but if you want to get an A in an algebra class, you will need deep critical thinking skills.

Our Recommendation

Don't get caught up in all of the hype of curricula that introduces lots of new ways of teaching math. The truth is, in order to teach that type of curriculum effectively, you have to really understand it well yourself, so unless you want to go back to school for yourself, don't do it. Furthermore, the new methods aren't even necessary. The Common Core standards require the use of standard algorithms, which are the ways you already know how to do mathematics. They ask for deep understanding of place value concepts, and it just turns out that the newer textbooks sometimes blow this out of proportion, creating obscure math problems that you might not even understand how to solve yourself.

Therefore, stick with the stuff that homeschoolers have been adopting for years. We've heard good things about Singapore Math and Saxxon Math. We haven't used them explicitly, so we don't have answers to specific questions, except to say that the methods used in those books should be compatible with the math you learned growing up (which you are therefore qualified to teach), and that in the big picture, they will prepare your students well for Algebra I and beyond.

It turns out that some people use MathScore as their full curriculum instead of as a supplement. If you choose to use our product directly and ignore outside textbooks, we recommend that you view our standards alignments. This is important because there are some standards that are best taught with outside materials, so if you care to have 100% coverage of the standards, you need to read them.


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