You Tell Me: Homeschooling Math Curriculum and Read-Alouds

After mentioning some of the homeschool resources I'm looking for, several of you responded with suggestions in the comments. I realized just how helpful it might be to put these questions out to you a bit more formally. You ladies are always such an incredible resource for me, and I hope you know how much I value the input that you give on this blog! πŸ™‚

Here's what I'm wondering about:

Learning math

1) I am trying to choose a math curriculum. Though I know that I could still switch at a later point if I really don't like what I choose, I known that it would be better to choose something and just stick with it. I'm working hard to really do my research and make a good decision, and this is where you come in!

Would you share with me which curriculum you have used, and what you thought of it? How did your kids do with it? Did you find the built-in review sufficient? Did it move too fast? Was it too repetitious? And how about your work load, Mom? I would be really interested to know how much prep time and instruction time the different curriculums (curricula?) required of you (and I know that the child using them makes a big difference)?

**A few specific ones that I am looking at are Horizons, Math-U-See and Saxon, so I would especially love to hear your opinions on those, but also on any others that I might not have considered yet.

2) I am looking for books for our read-aloud times. Specifically, I would like to find books about missionaries and about other cultures, that are appropriate for very young children (mine are about 4 1/2 and almost 2). Any suggestions of great books that you've read with your children? And, are there any good resources that have lists of read-aloud books (for different age/skill levels) that you would recommend?

Thanks so much for your suggestions!

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60 Comments

  1. We found Saxon really expensive, but they are an excellent program. Avoid Abeka– they are WAAAAY too repetitive for me. πŸ™‚

  2. We use Saxon. So far, I’ve used K, 1 and we’re half way through 2.

    I find that there is a good amount of review built in to the curriculum. I’ve never had to do any extra. Occasionally, my daughter will get annoyed with some of the stuff that she really has down already. At that point, when I know she knows it, I just skip it.

    I’ve found that 2 doesn’t require nearly as much prep time as K and 1 did, although even that was doable (mainly cutting shapes out of construction paper and that sort of thing). I think with any K or 1 program, you’re going to have more prep, because they need manipulatives to understand the concepts. With Saxon, mom has to make some of these manipulatives ahead of time. I would recommend you purchase the manipulative kit in addition to the curriculum. It’s about $60 but it has most of what you need from K-4.

  3. We only homeschooled for grades 4 and 5 but loved Singapore Math. I have heard excellent reports of their early years curriculum as well.

    In terms of read-alouds, I’d check out the Sonlight catalog for some good ideas. You can go to http://www.sonlight.com and then look under Subjects/Read-Aloud Books.

    Best wishes on your homeschooling journey!

  4. Stephanie….
    Here is the best advice on any curriculum that I can give you…. “Curriculum Advice from Victoria Botkin” vol I and vol 2. These two CD’s will give you so much great information!
    Blesings,
    Cynthia

  5. We’ve been using Math-U-See from Primer (we’re just about to start Gamma with my 8 yr old) and we love it. Prep work is practically nil – we watch the instructional DVD, go over a few practice problems, answer any questions, and then the boys sit down and do a few pages. I check their work and we go over any they missed. While I can’t speak for any of the other programs (actually, we did try Singapore for a little while, but it just didn’t work well for us – the concepts were a little too abstract for me to teach and DS to understand), I can say without a doubt that Math-U-See has worked wonderfully for us!

  6. Have you seen Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook? The first half is about WHY to read aloud and the second half is and annotated list by ages and subjects of all kinds of books. There are even “If your child liked book a, then they’ll like … ” lists, which I love. It’s at least a place to start.

  7. I’m not sure I’m much help, my kids are 3, 2, 7m but I home schooled myself in high school and I loved my Bob Jones University books that I picked out myself. I tried a few computer programs too but there is something about a textbook lol. I’m still deciding whether or not to home school mine. DH is not on board with it (just like he wasn’t for cloth diapers and didn’t care all that much about bf) so I’d be climbing another hill by myself.

  8. We have used math-u-see for the past two years. I have a 1st grader and 3rd grader. I really love it! There’s really no prep time for you. We watch the DVD together and I usually have to sit with them for the first page or two of the lesson, but after that, they can usually work on the rest of the lesson independently (really good since we have a 2 year old and one on the way in June!) You can move as fast or slow as you need. There are extra online review activities and worksheets on the web site for no extra charge. Its not as colorful as some other programs. But what has really helped my visual learner are the place value blocks. I really recommend that you request their free sample DVD and take a look.

  9. Honey for a Child’s Heart is an excellent resource for finding read-alouds. We also use Saxon math and love it.
    Great to have found your site. I appreciate all of your insight πŸ™‚

  10. We’ve tried Singapore Math, but it didn’t work for our family. I don’t feel like it gave the kids enough practice. We are now using Horizon Math. I really like their circular approach to teaching. The text has just the right amount of practice (and extra if you need it.) The books are colorful and well presented. We have been thoroughly happy with the program. This is the end of our third year using it.

  11. I’d like to add another vote for Singapore math. It doesn’t really require any prep time, but you definitely work with your child. I’ve used Singapore levels 1 through 6 and my son will be starting their 7-10 grade curriculum New Elementary Mathematics next year.

    Singapore is a challenging program, but it does a SUPERB job of teaching concepts, not just rote memorization (like Saxon tends to do). I especially love how they stress mental math and use number bonds for the facts families.

    As for Singapore not giving enough practice, there are plenty of supplemental books for the program. We always used the Intensive Practice books along with the core curriculum, but there are a couple of other supplemental options as well. We also add math drills on a daily basis.

    With that being said, Singapore math does not necessarily work for everyone, but the cost is very low and it’s easy to just give it a try.

  12. We started Math U See Primer in September, expecting to take two years to go through it with my 4 year old. He LOVED it and begs to do more. We have finished it now and just today started the Alpha program.
    We watch the DVD together and he doesn’t usually need much more explanation. I try to keep the lessons short, but he loves it so much he wants to keep going. He has learned so much.

  13. Two series that we enjoy reading aloud are: Little House on the Prairie books (my 2 yo loves this!)and
    Trailblazer books(missionary stories).

  14. We use Right Start math, and I’m very pleased with it. There’s plenty of manipulative work for my younger child, and my 2nd grader has a terrific understanding of math concepts. I do think he needs more drill work than Right Start provides, so we added Calculadders to improve his speed. We used Singapore math at first, but I just didn’t feel like it was a good fit for us, especially for my daughter, so I switched before she started K.

    I don’t have to prepare much before hand, but it does require that I sit down with each child individually and work through the lesson with them. They then have worksheets that they can do without me standing over the top of them. I don’t think it is more time consuming than other math programs, though. They seem to all need a certain amount of instruction time from mom.

  15. We used Saxon for a few years, but switched to Mathe U See. It has really helped my son, who is both needs both visual and tactile learning. I’m very pleased with it and he likes it too!

  16. We’ve used Singapore Math for three years and switched to Teaching Textbooks for our older child (13). I’ve loved Singapore Math (we get the textbooks and the workbooks), but my 13-year old was ready for something different. Teaching Textbooks is really great for older kids. What I liked about Singapore Math was the concepts and application (how you actually use math in your real life) starts with the very beginning. It is really nice and I also love how reasonably priced it is.

  17. I’m not a homeschool mom, but I’m a homeschool graduate, and I certainly got to try a lot of different math curriculum over the years!! I guess Mom was too easy on me – when I complained about not liking a certain curriculum long enough, she would switch books for me.

    Bad for my reputation as a student, great for trying all sorts of stuff. I’ve used Saxon, Abeka, Key-to, Bob Jones,…etc. Finally, in the beginning of 11th grade, Mom found Math-U-see. It hooked. I loved it – and I wasn’t a 8-year-old who needed visual aid to learn something! I think I just liked Mr. Demi’s form of teaching. It was logical to me – it made sense. Before, when Mom couldn’t explain to me the history behind a formula, the deep science behind WHY 2y+4x=128, I would get frustrated and not understand anything. No longer!

    Anyway, there are a lot of benefits to other curriculum too; I like Saxon’s thoroughness, Key-to’s write-in-the-book format, and other things about each curriculum, but I know which one I want to use with my children someday. πŸ™‚ Math-u-see!

    As for read-aloud material…The Little house books are great, of course, and trailblazers, too. The Sower Series is great for American biographies. …There was one other missionary series I am thinking of, but I don’t remember the name. Sorry!

  18. There is a series of books written by Norah Dooley with titles like Everybody Bakes Bread, Everybody Serves Soup etc. They are perfect for the ages of your children and as a way of introducing different cultures.

    I would also do a keyword search through your library for books on holidays (Ramadan, Divali, Chinese New Year etc) of different religions as this is a good way of introducing other cultures as well.

  19. I’m using Right Start Math, and have also heard terrific things about Singapore math and Math-U-See. Right Start is really expensive (overpriced), but can be bought used, and I still like it even after paying what I think was too much…

    Ambleside Online (.org) has good lists of books, your kids would be in the “year 0” section, like mine are.

    I also like the “Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book”, (which includes a lot of stories from different cultures) and the lists of required (or optional) books listed for the Sonlight curriculum. The book lists are all on their website. We also have the Usborn book of stories from around the world, but haven’t read it yet.

  20. We use Right Start Mathematics and really like it. It is definitely a different approach to math but I really love what my children are learning with it. I think that their website can describe it better than I can. We also use Sonlight curriculum and totally love that. It is a literature based Christ centered curriculum. I don’t have to do much prep which is key for me as a mom of 4 children under the age of 5. And if you want some read alouds I would suggest you go to their website and check out their read aloud lists. They have many missionary stories, my children have really enjoyed these!

  21. Saxon did not work for anyone in my family, who needed more visual conceptualization. It’s good for extra practice though. I like Math-U-See and Singapore Math.

  22. I used and loved Rod and Staff books and really liked the math series. They only go up to the 8th grade level, but by then my kids were learning machinists math with their dad, so we left it at that. I agree with someof the comments on Saxon math…never worked for my bunch. For high school, we used ACE Paces for Business Math and Consumer Math. I’ll admit that the “Algebra” was a hard task, and as neither dad nor I had that in high school, we had help from other homeschool parents to get through that. The Geometry pretty much kicked in with the “shop” math

  23. I have been homeschooling for about 11 years and have used Math-U-See for all of my children. WE LOVE IT! In fact, I love it so much that most days I end up just LIVID that I was not taught math in such a common-sensical way! My kids understand it. I understand it which is really sayin’ something because Math and Allison have NEVER gone together. Ever. I love that he builds on each lesson so that, on the worksheets, he will start with a page or two of the new lesson, then another few pages of some new lesson problems and then review problems from past lessons. Plus, every page has word problems with new, old, review problems. Word problems were my nemesis and I STILL don’t know how fast that train was going from the 4th grade, BUT MY KIDS CAN FIGURE IT OUT! I can’t say enough about MUS. Little kids get it, big kids get it, Mommies get it. Need I say more?

  24. Hi Stephanie,

    Math: Developmental Math in the early years then switch to Saxon

    Read alouds for young people: I really like the Miller books. Do you know them? Missionary stories with the Millers, Wisdom and the Millers.

    Also A Hive of Busy Bees is fun for little ones.

  25. Hi Stephanie,

    Math: Math-U-See!!! I agree with everything everyone said about Math-U-See. My son was still doing Kindergarten level math in 3rd grade, until we found Math-U-See. He went through 3 years (3 books) of Math-U-See in 6 and a half months! He is just about ready to go into pre-algebra and he is only in 6th grade!

    Missions Read Alouds: YWAMs Christian Heroes Then and Now series by Janet and George Benge. They are AMAZING! My son always asks me to “Please keep reading Mommy!” with these books. Google the series, they have an amazing assortment of people in the series. The books are engaging, exciting and help children of all ages see how God works in peoples lives in amazing ways.

  26. We are all about Saxon,

    And we LOVE YWAMs Christian Heroes Then and Now series by Janet and George Benge.

    Will you be at the Kelowna CHEC in May?

  27. We just switched to Singapore Math in January. Before that, I just kind of did my own thing and that didn’t go so well. Singapore is working great for us. It starts a lesson hands on (you can use any manipulatives – we use legos), moves to teaching in pictures, and then math symbols – #’s, +,-, etc. My daughter is in first grade so I haven’t used the earlier books. Here you can look at a few pages of the books:
    http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=1771515&sp=1016&event=1016SING|1611446|1016
    Singapore’s website gives a guide for placement.
    As for teacher’s work, there is a home instructor’s guide that tells you the steps to teaching a concept which is indispensable. There’s not a whole lot of prep work. I think that the amount of time you have to sit with the child depends on his ability to grasp a concept quickly or not. I do like this math,and I’m glad we chose it.

  28. We love Singapore math. A lot of research has gone into it and the children in Singapore always score high in math. From our research you should just use it for 3rd – 6th grade and then switch to Saxon.
    We use My Fathers World and LOVE it. You can look on their site for more info on Singapore math and why they recommend it.
    Jessica

  29. Math: I’ve used Horizons, Saxon, Math U See and ABeka.
    We really did NOT like ABeka. We have settled in with MUS but I am considering adding Singapore Math just to supplement. Saxon was good, just very repetitive,and unfortunately I was still early in homeschooling and did not realize (duh!) that I could skip things that my dd already had down pat. So, we both got extremely frustrated with the repetitive nature of the curriculum. Overall though, I would recommend it. Just be ready to skip over stuff they already understand.
    So, my votes are: MUS or Saxon! πŸ™‚

  30. As already mentioned, I recommend the books in Honey for a Child’s Heart. It’s really a great resource for good children’s books.

    Can I offer a dissenting vote for Singapore? We have been using it since K and are now entering 3rd grade & will be switching to something else. The first year and a half moved along great, but the last year was a real struggle. Maybe my DD just needs more repetition than what this program offers. She just wasn’t “getting” the concepts that were introduced & doesn’t have a natural math aptitude. I think her learning type can benefit from some degree of memorization along with the learning of “how” the math works.

    I don’t know if you’ve read Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Homeschool Picks, but it’s a great starting place to determine what type of learner you have & which curriculum would suit that learning style {and amount of desired prep for mom}!

  31. *Whispering this response:* NO MATH till about age 10, that is no FORMAL math program till then. You can’t keep math from children, but you can wait for formal math. I’ve done that w/ one child who picked up a Saxon 65 and did fine, after drilling math facts before starting it. She’s in Algebra 2 w/ no problems. We plan on the same for my son.

    Here are some articles, each written by authors with different philosophies on education, that support the delay of formal mathematics:

    http://www.triviumpursuit.com/articles/research_on_teaching_math.php

    http://www.ithaca.edu/hs/mathcs/compass/storyI-III.htm

    http://www.moorefoundation.com/article.php?id=3

    Food for thought! πŸ™‚

  32. I’ll just chime in hear with a vote for Math-u-See. We only have it for the primer level (using with my 5 and 6 year olds, but could definitely be used with younger ones!), but it’s been a good fit for us. I have many friends who use it at different levels, and all sing its praises. It’s also nice that it’s not very expensive, so it’s not a huge investment even if it doesn’t work for you. No prep time required (so far.) My kids really like it, and I know they’re understanding, not just filling out a worksheet.

    And I second the recommendation to use Sonlight’s reading list – that’s what we did for preschool. We didn’t purchase books, just got them from the library. I also was looking for missionary biographies for little ones and never really found any (though I did hear of the YWAM ones, but never got my hands on any to review them.)

    Good luck in your research. Your kids are at a wonderful age for reading and snuggling. Enjoy!!!

  33. I LOVE Singapore Math.
    A. Simple, basic, and great program- I can add the intensive practice workbook if needed or incorporate objects [MathUSee is very hands on math which I love but you can add the hands on with Singapore], other pratice books such as Kumon can be added if you prefer, I love how we can talk and see the math and then we have fun seeing it in the real world. Part of this may be due to the fact that I like Math and I find it easy to incorporate hands on activities for my hands on learners.
    B. The cost is affordable.
    C. Pick a curriculum based unpon your learning/teaching method and your child/ren’s learning styles.
    D. My perfectionist older son really enjoys the simple drawings and the fact that each page isn’t overwhelming because they aren’t cluttered with a ton of problems. He decided on Singapore after reviewing Saxon and Math U See as well with me.

  34. We use Miquon. I like it because it is inexpensive, and builds on concepts (only goes to about grade 3, though.) I put the workbooks into glossy page protectors, and the kids do it with an Expo marker. That way if they are having problems (or doing it wrong on purpose) we don’t lose the page – simply erase and do it again.

    I also supplement with drill sheets I print off for free from here:
    http://worksheetworks.com/
    (I also make child specific handwriting pages here, too!)

    I tried Saxon K and hated it, and my boys hated it. I am planning to try Saxon for the upper grades, because I hear it is much different from the lower grades (I am familiar with Saxon Algebra).

    We didn’t choose Math-U-See because a curricula with DVDs does not work well for one of my children, but I know a LOT of HS moms who love it!

  35. We started using Math-U-See this year, and the kids really like it. I like it too because you get DVD’s with it that explain how to teach everything. It’s really great if you have a visual/kinesthetic learner!

  36. I have used all the math curriculums you mentioned including ABeka – all in various situations. None of them are bad, but none of them are perfect. In fact, there is not a perfect math curriculum on the market. Whichever one you choose will require you to supplement or compromise in some way.

    Saxon is not advanced enough for even the average student, then it takes a jump around 4th grade. If you use it in the younger elementary years, you will need to go up a grade. I was not fond of it in the upper grades. It is a spiral type curriculum as far as reviews, but it teaches new concepts in the upper grades by chapters. A teacher’s manual is very helpful for this program (it’s been a while since I used it and you may actually need it).

    Math U See is a good program but requires memorization of certain things that are not that important – such as threes are pink, etc. This is not bad, but may not appeal to everyone. This also is a spiral review curriculum. A teacher’s manual is necessary.

    Horizons is a very basic but strong curriculum. It has lots of repetition for practice and is colorful without being distracting. This is a no frills program and you would not need a teacher’s manual in my opinion unless you wanted all the ideas for teaching the concepts. If you don’t want to purchase it, you could use toys, etc. and teach it on your own. It is a spiral review curriculum. Abeka is similar with some helpful flash cards for memory drills. I really like Abeka’s speed drills.

    We are now using Singapore and I really like it. It is not a spiral curriculum and you must purchase a textbook and a workbook (each are about $8-9) and the teacher’s book is helpful – it has an answer key, mental math problems, and teaching technique, but I just use it for the answer key and mental math as well as the schedule in the front). What I like is the simple way it teaches math. My struggling student loves it and has now declared that “math is SO EASY”. I purchased the Extra Practice Book, which along with the reviews in the regular books, has kept her sharp on her skills. We’ll be doing this one again next year.

    For Read-A-Louds, try Lamplighter Publications. Charming, didactic books and look at the age range they suggest.

  37. I forgot to add that Singapore has the BEST method for teaching math word problems, especially for visual learners (which is the majority), but helps kinesthetic learners as well. You will need to watch a quick on-line video on this or purchase Bob Hogan’s book. I wish I had found this years ago!!!

  38. I have been homeschooling my 8 year old for over 3 years. We started with Singapore Math but it really did not work for us. Very abstract and my daughter is very concrete in her thinking, which most youngsters are at this age. I switched to Math-U-See and my daughter does very well with it. It requires little to no prep time, it explains the new concepts easily and has ideas for you to further explain the topic if they don’t quite get it. There are also plenty of worksheets, quizes and additional online work if needed. My daughter has had a hard time memorizing the addition and subtraction facts so I have tried many methods. We also use a workbook called “2+2 does not equal 5” which includes little tricks to memorize the facts and she has done very well. We are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully next year (3rd grade)we will begin multiplication. I also plan to continue with Math-U-See.
    As for reading, after she mastered the basic phonics she was reading on her own. We go to the library every 2 weeks and check out many books. She is required to read one book a day and write about it. She also reads in bed at night(2 book limit). We are reading the Little House books together. I enjoy these books because it shows her a simpler life and expresses morals that are lacking in todays society. We also use the bible for science and history and she writes and memorizes verses every week. Good Luck

    PS-One great thing about homeschool is you can taylor the lessons to your child. There is no one program that works with every child. If my daughter had been in public school she may have fallen way behind in math, but because I was able to pick up the difficulty early, I could change what we were doing so it would work for HER. She is now on grade level and doing well.

  39. We have been using Saxon (no problems, it has worked fine) but recently decided to switch to Math-U-See. My personal opinion is that they are better at giving the “why” before expecting the “how.” My daughter went from working on adding single digits (with Saxon) to adding a two-digit number to a three-digit number (no carrying over) in about fifteen minutes of Math-U-See.
    But, I really just wanted to post a link for you… it is to “The Old Schoolhouse Magazine” and their curriculum choices for 2008. It is very helpful and includes links to all of the websites mentioned.
    http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine-digital.com/thehomeschoolmagazine/2009spring/?sub_id=JnH0H4LriLGe&folio=42

  40. We use Singapore and Miquon. I love them both and the differing approaches seems to help when you get to a sticky spot. Singapore is a wonderful program, challenging but doesn’t move too quickly. It easily stands on its own. We have used early bird through 6B. My oldest is now using Math-u-see Algebra and loving it. Both Singapore and Math-U-See have very little mom prep time. With Singapore I work through the text book with the child, teaching the lesson, and then let them loose with the work book. With Math-U-See my daughter watches the DVD lesson on her own and completes the workbook. Rarely does she come to me with questions and is doing well. I don’t know if this independant aproach would work for the lower leves though.

    As for read alouds, I would check the sonlight catalog as well as veritas press. I also recomend the Heros for Young Readers Series by YWAM publishing.

    Good luck with your curriculum search. It is actually one of my favorite things to do. I have accumulated way too much, but just can’t seem to part with it. Luckily for my local support group I run a lending library out of my home.

  41. Here’s what we tried and liked (I have a 2nd and K this year).
    I tried Christ Centered Curriculun for phonics AND math because it is biblically based. Phonics is great (similar to Rod&Staff) but hated the math. The spiritual aspect slowed us down and dragged the lessons out and it wan’t fun.
    We now use (for both kids) something similar to Math-U-See call RightStart (www.abacus.com) which is based in manipulatives, abacus work, very few worksheet or rote memory, and gives good training of understanding of the basics so the student has a strong foundation (rather than just memorizing tables). My kids think it’s fun, it doesn’t seem too repetitive and I’m amazed at how well it has them thinking! I am also enjoying teaching it.
    I prep by making all my photocopies at a time at the beginning ofthe year. Other than this, per lesson I only need to pullout certain card games sometimes the night before. No other prep!
    Hope this helps!

  42. My husband (the engineer who loves math πŸ™‚ says he used Saxon when he was homeschooled and found that it’s not very practical math and thus, he didn’t like it. A friend using it for her 1st grader said it’s a little repetitive. (ie. the 1st grade level repeats part of the kindergarten level in the beginning and her son found that boring). I’ve heard good things about Singapore math and my husband said he had tried Abeka also and that was ok. Hope that helps!!

  43. I will enthusiastically shout rather than whisper in support of delaying formal math until at least 10. We have done this with two children, each very different in their learning styles, and it has been a huge blessing and success each time. You only have so many hours in the day. The key is doing what is best for the age and development of each child. Before they were ten we played all kinds of mental math games and did lots of real math in stores and in the home. They ca learn so much more efficiently when not burdened down with having to memorize abstract symbols. Much like we learn to speak. If we had to learn first to read so we could understand all of the grammer rules we would be needlessly delayed. I have a seven and five year old who can add, subtract, mutiply and divide excellently, they are just not bogged down with symbols and terms which are abstract concepts to be introduced later when their brains are more ready to learn it.
    My 10 year old daughter just began her formal math going straight into Saxon 6/5 with no prior exposure to a curriculum. It takes no time at all to link up an addition symbol to what they have already been doing. They really do get it and in the mean time they can focus on what is lovely and so special about the years before the age of ten. I hope you will check out the sites the other brave poster listed. There is some great wisdom in those articles.
    Blessings!

  44. Ah, Jennifer, thanks for the shout of confidence in delayed formal math! I’m glad I’m not alone (but I would not change my stand if I were!)

    πŸ™‚

  45. We started with Saxon, but found it soo repetitive! We moved both of my sons to MUS, and are doing quite well with it. We don’t always watch the videos, unless it seems like a concept they need extra help with. Hope that helps!

  46. Just a quick note. Saxon and Abeka are repetitive, but that is because the approach is spiral. In other words, once a skill has been taught further lessons build on that foundational knowledge and the practice review never lets you forget a skill. I found this approach to be academically sound in the long run. To cut down on the repetition, only do the odds or the evens of each lesson! But perhaps do ALL the exercises in one section if there is some trouble to iron out. I use Abeka in the grammar school grades and Saxon in the high school years and it has never let us down.

  47. PS! Our favorite read-alouds over the years have been the Little House series, the Chronicles of Narnia, LOTR.

  48. I know I’m a little behind in responding. I’m just not catching up with reading my blogs! Hopefully this will help you either way.

    *You can use curricula or curriculums as a plural for curriculum….either one is correct.*

    My husband and I are currently reevaluating our homeschooling approach and have decided to attend our state’s homeschool convention this June (just 3 weeks after baby #5 is due!). I am teaching 2nd grade, 1st grade and preschool/kindergarten. The only curriculum that I am confident we will be continuing next year is Horizons Math.

    We LOVE Horizons. We started out with Abeka, but didn’t care for it so much. Then we switched to Saxon and found that it was behind many of the other math curriculums. Then we decided to try Horizons. I’m so glad we made the switch. My kids have responded to it so well.

    As far as read alouds go, I would third the idea of checking out Sonlight’s list. They are very missionary oriented and have a wide variety of books. We love their suggestions.

  49. Try this website http://www.ambleside.com they have helped me and makes everything really simple and loving. The use Charlotte mason techniques starting with year 0 which is most reading to your child and doing simple math. alot of the books they recommend are found online for free that you can download, or get a the library, free. I hope this helps. My kids are 20, 17, 16, and 12. I wish I know about the simplicity of home school when we started.

  50. My perspective is that I am a former Kindergarten and first grade teacher… I am now home with my son and planning to homeschool beginning this fall. Actually we are already homeschooling, but you know what I mean! πŸ™‚
    I have taught with the Saxon math curriculum in both K and 1st grade and have found it WONDERFUL. It is laid out very well and very well scripted for the teacher. It makes use of a lot of manipulatives (which is a MUST for the younger ages as they are not ready for abstract concepts, they need very concrete things they can touch and move)
    I would highly recommend it!

  51. I have used Mathusee for pre-algebra to pre-calc. I love the videos (my husband is a math major and thinks the teacher is excellent) my kids like it, it is easy to grade and the web page lets you print all the extra worksheets you want. It will take you all the way to college. Enjoy!

  52. Stephanie,
    I have enjoyed your blog and stop by every so often to read mostly about nutrition, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this thread on your blog. I am right now trying to make a decision concerning math.

    I wanted to ask those who have posted before on this subject if they could elaborate a little on how they approached the “no formal math”. I have read about it and really feel that this is the way to go for us, but I am still apprehensive. If there is anymore advice from those who have done this at home, I would love to hear alittle more about what you did.

    Thanks so much, Kaye

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