Best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

This is part two of a series that seeks to identify how to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  If you have not read part one, definitely check it out.  In part one we discuss the 5 things every mom needs to know before purchasing homeschool math curriculum.  Save yourself money, stress and time and read that here.

Homeschooling Struggling Learners- Ask The Experts

In today’s post, veteran homeschool moms share their opinions on the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  For all intents and purposes, we’re using the term “struggling students” to describe kids with ADHD, Autism, Dyscalculia, or Dyslexia.  Quite frankly, this applies to kids who just plain hate math.

best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

Mastery VS Spiral Homeschool Math Curriculum

There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: spiral-based and mastery-based.  I discuss these in more detail in Part One.  Here’s a brief explanation of the two and important factors to consider when deciding which is best for your student.

Mastery Based Homeschool Math 

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

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

Homeschool Math curriculum struggling students

Top Mastery-Based Homeschool Math


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’s mastery-based and teaches math concepts without busy work.  An excellent choice for those who need a refresher course.

Struggling Learners Need A Solid Math Foundation

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.

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Homeschool Math Curriculum Game Changer

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, (dyslexia and ADHD, dyscalcula and dysgraphia), also loves Learn Math Fast.

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.

Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia Impact Homeschool Math  

Her daughter also 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.

2. Life of Fred


Life of Fred is a mastery-based math curriculum that is completely unconventional, but extremely effective for our right-brained kids.  It’s a literature-based curriculum that follows the narrative of the main character, Fred.  Fred is a child genius living life as a 5 year-old on a college campus.  Told you it was unconventional.  Ha!   Each book focuses on one math concept in a highly-engaging way.

Foundational Math Skills Through Story- For All Ages

Life of Fred series is meant to be read in order regardless of your child’s age.  The storyline and concepts build upon one another to provide struggling students with a solid understanding of math.   It can be used as a supplement, or some 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. LOF goes all the way up through college-level math including Calculus.

Multiplication The Fun & Effective Way


Times Tales is a company that creates multisensory homeschool math tools to support effective learning in right-brained thinkers.  Using mnemonic-based videos, Time Tales creatively equips children with what they need to remember their math facts for good.  I cannot more highly stress the importance of laying a solid foundation in basic multiplication facts and  Times Tales is a highly effective way to do so.

3. Math U See

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

Visual Discrimination Is A Huge Issue For Struggling Learners

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.  

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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.

Spiral-based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. The Good and The Beautiful For Struggling Learners

Melanie loves The Good and the Beautiful for math for her ADHD-kiddo.  Each math lesson different.  It keeps it interesting.  Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t like it at first because it’s a spiral approach, but now I LOVE it because it’s a spiral approach! Ha!

Shorter Lessons Open The Door To Learning

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

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

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

2. Spiral Based Homeschool Math: 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

Spiral-Based Homeschool Math Online Option

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. 

Teaching Textbooks Supports Struggling Students & Homeschool Moms

Magda also 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

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3. Christian Light: A Solid Homeschool Curriculum

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

Pivot Between Mastery & Spiral When Needed

We eventually 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-based curriculum, Developmental Math, in order to solidify very specific math concepts to prep her for Algebra.  This made all the difference once she entered Algebra.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Supplemental Homeschool Math Options


It’s always helpful to have a number of math tools in your struggling student’s tool box.  Math Minutes is an excellent option.  It’s a workbook designed to hit the most important math concepts in a very concise way.  It’s extremely manageable for our kids who dislike math.

Math Minutes

There are only 10 intenionally-chosen math problems laid out each day which is a huge plus for kids with ADHD.  Each workbook is leveled by grade.  While these were originally created to be supplemental, when used as math spine, Math Minutes can be an excellent tool.  A math spine refers to a framework of sorts to guide your teaching.

Using A Math Curriculum Or Supplement As A Math Spine

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 homeschool math instruction in a non-threatening way.  

Struggling Students & Homeschool Math: Need More Help?

Ultimately, the homeschool math curriculum that’s 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.  

RELATED POST: 11 Homeschool Math Teaching Tips

Our Journey Westward

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