Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

This is part two of a two part series answering the question,

“How to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students?”

If you have not read part one, definitely check it out.

In it we discuss the 5 Tips every mom needs to know before purchasing homeschool math curriculum.  Save yourself money, stress and time and read that here.

What Is The Best Special Needs Homeschool Math Curriculum?

In today’s post, some veteran homeschool moms share their opinions on the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  For all intents and purposes, we are using the term “struggling students” to describe:

  1. ADHD
  2. Autism
  3. Dyscalculia
  4. Dyslexia
  5. Any other learning difference
  6. Kids who just hate math

If your child tends to struggle with math, regardless of the reason, this post is for you.

Homeschool Math curriculum struggling students

Mastery Vs Spiral Based Homeschool Math

There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: spiral-based and mastery-based.    I discuss these in more detail in Part One.  

  • Mastery-based 
  • Spiral-based 

Here is a brief explanation of the two and important factors to consider when deciding which will be best for your student.

Mastery-based curriculum focuses on one concept at a time.  The goal is for the student to master the concept before moving on to the next math skill.

Spiral-based homeschool math curriculum reviews previously learned material while learning new concepts.  Both mastery and spiral approaches have their pros and cons.  Again, check out this post for more info.  

Mastery-Based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. Learn Math Fast

Beckye Barnes, of Beckye Barnes Consulting, recommends Learn Math Fast.  

We have enjoyed Learn Math Fast. It works for all ages and it starts with the basics.  You only move forward once you master the concepts. It is mastery-based and teachers the concepts without busy work.  An excellent choice for those who need a refresher course.

Beckye points to the importance of solidifying foundational math skills.

They also focus on foundational skills in a real world way. Basic addition and subtraction is taught using pennies. I think fractions is explained using a dollar then four quarters. It also focuses on learning the concept without endless worksheets.

Beckye Barnes, homeschool mom, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Dyslexia & Homeschool Math Curriculum

Learn Math Fast was a game changer for my daughter with dysgraphia.  LMF breaks the lessons down to make it easier to understand, and they keep it simple.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, also loves Learn Math Fast.  Her daughter has dyscalculia, and has tried several math curriculum options. LMF was the first that explained certain concepts in a way she understands.

My daughter felt like she could follow along better with the shorter explanations they gave. She benefited from the break down of each equation into bite size pieces.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD, dyscalcula and dysgraphia

2. Life of Fred

Life of Fred is a mastery-based math curriculum that is completely unconventional, but is extremely effective for our right-brained kids.

The Life of Fred series is a literature-based math curriculum that follows the narrative of the main character, Fred.  Fred is a child genius living life as a 5 year-old child on a college campus.  Told you it was unconventional.  Ha!

Each book focuses on one math concept.   Through story, it teaches math concepts in a way that is highly engaging and clever. 

Foundational Math Skills Through Story- For All Ages

Like Learn Math Fast and other mastery-based programs, this series is meant to be read in order regardless of your child’s age.  The storyline and concepts build upon one another to provide the student with a solid understanding of math.

This series is an excellent series to supplement your child’s math skills.  Some homeschool families use it as the basis of their entire math program.

I highly recommend it if you have a child who HATES math but loves story.  This program goes all the way up through college-level math including Calculus.

Multiplication Tables The Fun & Effective Way!

One thing you’ll know about me, is that I’m all about equipping kids with what they need to best learn and thrive.  When it comes to our right-brained thinkers, there is nothing like using mnemonics and imagery to support learning.

Times Tales is an excellent company that supports homeschool families with multisensory tools to support math learning.

It is a brain-based program that supports long-term memory of foundational math facts.   Using mnemonic-based DVD and streaming videos, they creatively support children in memorizing multiplication facts for good. 

I cannot more highly stress the importance of laying a solid foundation in basic multiplication facts.  Use your child’s unique wiring to their advantage with Times Tales.

2. Math U See

What math does a math professor use in her homeschool?  Melanie Fulton of, The Math Profs, 

For math we do Math-U-See, but we add a lot of supplemental math with it. When you have two math parents in the house EVERYTHING can become a math problem.

Melanie, received her PhD in math from Virginia Tech University, she explains more about the benefits of Math U See.

MUS works for us.  The lessons aren’t too long–and sometimes we don’t even do a whole lesson in 1 day.  

She also points out the clutter-free layout of the pages which is helpful for kids who struggle with visual discrimination.

The books and worksheets are plain–not tons of pictures or stories to distract.  There is a video included so that my children don’t have to have mom or dad teach it.  And there are manipulatives to see what is going on. 

Melanie Fulton, Math-loving mama who homeschools her 4 children and often employs the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog math tutors.  (www.themathprofs.com)    

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

The Love Just Keeps Pouring Out: Math U See for Struggling Students 

Katherine, homeschool mom of 4 different learners, tells us that despite a whole host of learning differences,

Math U See works for us because it is very sequential.  This is essential for struggling learners.  The program helps with retaining math skills by focusing on one math concept at a time.

We have always used MUS, because my bookends definitely need the mastery-based curriculum.

My middle 2 could probably handle spiral, but they are doing great, so there hasn’t been a need to change.

Katherine Fain, homeschooling for 7 years, Autism, Auditory processing disorder, Dysgraphia and probably more

homeschool math curriculum for struggling students, special needs, adhd, autism, dyscalculia

Spiral-based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. The Good and The Beautiful

Melanie loves The Good and the Beautiful for math.

I have loved The Good and the Beautiful Math for my ADHD-kiddo.  Each math lesson is a different activity.  I thought I didn’t like it at first because it’s a spiral approach, but now I LOVE it because it’s a spiral approach! Ha!  

Like me, Melanie understands the importance of shorter lessons to allow her kids push through an entire lesson.  She also raves about the shorter lessons.  

Lessons take 15-20 min max.  We are still learning our basic facts, but we are also learning time and money while playing games. My kids really LOVE it!  

special needs homeschool math

Spiral-Based Homeschool Math For Struggling Learners

2. Teaching Textbooks

We love Teaching Textbooks.  We’ve been homeschooling for about 8 years. One kid who just doesn’t like math, one with special needs, and one who finds math easy. Teaching Textbooks has worked well for all of them.

Krista, 10 years homeschooling, 3 kids, Girl 17, ADHD, Boy, 15 ASD, G 12 Diva

Magda Miller has been homeschooling her two kids for going on 8 years.

I second Teaching Textbooks. I have a very self-motivated, math-minded older child who started TT when he was 5.  It just clicked.  I thought his less math inclined younger sister might not do as well with the system, but I was pleasantly proved wrong. 

Like so many homeschool moms, she points out how nicely Teaching Textbooks supports moms.

Teaching Textbooks does the teaching and the grading.  I am more involved with my younger child’s movement through the program, but it still allows for her to be very independent in her learning and it sticks.  She is learning and retaining.

 Ma Miller, homeschool mom of 2 rockstar kids, suspected ADHD, ASD 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Spiral Based Homeschool Math Curriculum 

3. Christian Light

Within my own homeschool, we have used a variety of math materials for our ADHD and math-minded family.  One of our favorite spiral-based math curricula is Christian Light Math.   I like Christian Light for several reasons.  

1. Christian Light is broken up into ten worktexts for each grade level.  

This, in and of itself, is highly motivating to our kids who like to check things off their lists.  Every finished worktext feels like an accomplishment. 

2. It thorough and on the advanced side.  This is great for your math-minded kids.  

3. The program is student-led.   All of Christian Light materials are designed to be student-led.  As such are visually appealing and broken up into smaller chunks.  Each workbook is easy to follow without being overwhelming. 

4. The price!  Christian Light materials are very affordable.  

homeschool math for struggling students

Pivoting Between Mastery & Spiral When Needed

Despite loving this math curriculum, eventually we hit a wall with it.  We moved away from Christian Light as math concepts increased in complexity.  

As we neared Algebra, my oldest needed to focus on one concept at a time in order to best process, retain and develop mastery.  We shifted to a mastery, topic based curriculum, Developmental Math, in order to solidify very specific math concepts to prep her for Algebra.  

Being willing to temporarily pivot when we hit that wall, made all the difference in the world for her as she entered Algebra.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Another Homeschool Math Resource I Love

When the traditional approach doesn’t work, whether it be for an entire subject or a particular math concept, I am always open to pivot.  

Having a number of homeschool math tools in your tool box is always a good idea.  I’ve found this math program to be super helpful.

Math Minutes

Math Minutes is a simple math workbook designed to hit the most important math concepts.  The workbook series is very concise and is extremely manageable for our kids who dislike math.  There are only 10 math problems each day which is a huge plus for kids with ADHD.  However, the math problems are intentionally chosen to support foundational math skills.

Each workbook is focused on a general grade level.  I believe these were originally created as a supplement for traditional grade-level math.  However, when used as math spine, this can be an excellent tool.  A math spine refers to a framework of sorts to guide your teaching.

Guide When Teaching Homeschool Math To Struggling Students

Please note that there is no teaching in this workbook.  However, this is a great tool that can help you easily assess where your child may need additional support.

When my daughter used Math Minutes, any problems she struggled with were the concepts that we could go over together.  This preserved her limited capacity for math to be used on the concepts that she needed to focus on.

Math Minutes is a great tool to support math in a non-threatening way.  Don’t buy into the hype that your child has to do endless amounts of math problems in order to learn.  This is simply not the case.  When teaching the struggling student, work with the grain and think “less is more.”

Homeschool Math Curriculum For Your Struggling Student

Ultimately, what homeschool math curriculum is best for your child will be based on a number of factors.  Understanding who your child is, how your child is wired and your own capacity, will guide you to make the best decision. 

As you make curriculum buying decisions, grab a copy of the homeschool 101 planning guide that I’ve created for you.  It includes prompts to help you identify the most important information that’ll help you choose the best math curriculum.  The best choice for your uniquely-wired student in this specific season. 

Ready For Homeschool Language Arts?

If you are looking for help choosing the right homeschool language arts curriculum, you’re in luck.

Before ever looking at curriculum options with my homeschool clients, I walk them through a series of questions.  I’m always looking to identify their child’s wiring and learning style in order to best support learning.  Continue reading to find out the best language arts curriculum for your child.

Our Journey Westward

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Homeschool Math Planning & Prioritizing, Part 2

Homeschool Math Planning & Prioritizing, Part 2

Homeschool Math Planning Tips To End The Stress

Homeschool math planning and instruction does not have to be scary or intimidating.  Many children have the notion that they are inherently bad at math.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tears, meltdowns and any form of resistance to math is your clue that something is going on behind the scenes. If you notice your child struggling with math, I encourage you to use this behavior to your advantage.  

This behavior is information.  Your child’s frustration is the symptom of a problem.   In this post, I want to offer you some practical principles that you can apply to your homeschool math planning, activities and instruction.

If you haven’t, please refer to Homeschool Math Planning Part 1.

1 – It Isn’t That Children Are Bad At Math

Children are often pushed along through the system without the solid foundation that they truly need.  This makes math extremely stressful.

The fact is that many children have been pushed through the system without the foundational math skills that will serve them well.

It’s time to remove the mindset roadblocks, and get intentional with your child’s math instruction.

Now that homeschool life is the new normal for families, I want to help your homeschool math planning and prioritize math activities for your child.

Homeschool Math Planning

2 – Find The Gap

If your child is resistant to any type of school-related work, this is probably due to a gap somewhere in foundational math skills.  Many moms new to homeschooling may be intimidated by their child’s math struggles.  However, I am here to encourage you to take a deep breath. You can equip your child.  I promise.

The first step?  Figure out.  Set the right goal.  Grab the FREE Homeschool 101 planning guide.  

3 – Set A Goal

Basic to homeschool math planning is setting a goal to determine what that math gap is. 

Typically, math struggles stem from a gap in the basic math facts:  addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.

Tease through the following questions:

  • What is he missing?
  • Why is he struggling?
  • What’s happening?

Whatever you find that missing piece to be, that is where instruction must begin.

4 – Homeschool Math Planning – Don’t Panic!

If, for example, you do determine that your child doesn’t know his math facts well, be encouraged.  This is information that allows you and your child to move forward.  

With a small amount of intentionality, your child can quickly learn the skills he needs to move on to the more difficult math concepts.

5 – Take One Step At A Time

Don’t attempt to plow through or skip over the basic concepts because you think your child should be further along.

By doing this, your child will never get what he’s missing.

Choose the math facts you want your child to work on, and spend the time on that specific area alone.

You will be shocked at how little time it will take your child to make huge strides when he focuses on one thing.

Homeschool Math Steps And Ideas

6 – Incorporate Short Increments Of Teaching

An overload of information is overwhelming for your child.  Most adults can relate to this as well.  Have you been on Pinterest lately?  Whatever it is that your child is struggling to understand and master: 

Give your child the opportunity to master one concept at a time.  Get super focused on that skill and plan for short, powerful bursts of intentional, one-on-one instruction. This yields incredible fruit OVER TIME.  One step at a time.   

7 – Homeschool Math Planning – Resources For Your Math Tool Belt

There are some really great resources to use when working on foundational math skills. One of those that I recommend is teacherspayteachers.com.  Go to the grade level of your child or even the grade level below.  Find the exact resources you need to address the gap. 

If your child hits a wall because he doesn’t know multiplication facts, then you can also check out the Classical Conversations App.  This app is based on the classical model of education. When concepts are added to a song, the easier those concepts are to remember. This resource is a bit pricey for an app, but so worth it.

Multiplication Tables Simplified With Times Tales

Times Tales is an excellent resource that uses a multisensory approach to help kids memorize math facts.  Using cartoons narratives combined with song and repetition, kids are easily engaged and equipped to memorize math facts without the tears.  

8 – This Season Can Be A Gift!

Traditional school settings are not always academically efficient.  This is not because school settings are inherently “bad.”  This is simply because it is a system and has to include multiple non-academic variables in order to function.   Think about:

  • Recess,
  • Lining up,
  • Taking roll,
  • Packing up backpacks to go home, etc…

I mention this to help put into perspective how small chunks of intentional teaching will yield fruit.  Consider the time spent in a classroom as opposed to individualized instruction.

Effective and enjoyable homeschooling should not look like school at home… in time spent or in approach.  Homeschool is meant to meet the needs of the individual learner.

9 – Homeschool Math Planning – Capture The Opportunity

You now have the opportunity to turn that educational model upside down in order to serve the best interest of your specific child.  Read books. Do puzzles. Practice basic math skills, but do not feel as if you aren’t doing enough.  

Working on basic skills and identifying the struggles will always be steps that propel your child forward.   Remember though, when you teach something, and your child says he forgot, he probably really did forget.  Learning is a process that takes time. Start slowly, and continue to build the foundation.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualitfying purchases.  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

You ARE the Teacher, Homeschool Mom

You can do this.  Take hold of your child’s hand, and co-learn with your child. Let your child know that you are in this together. Yes, things are different when we homeschool, but give yourself some grace.

Create a new rhythm and new routine, and enjoy your children.

If you are interested in individualized homeschool planning and coaching, reach out.  I would be honored to equip you with the tools, strategies and support you need to best equip your unique learner.