If you want to know how to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for your child, you’re in the right place.
One of the blessings of homeschooling is the ability to provide an education tailored to the specific needs of our kids.
As such, considering those needs makes all the difference when choosing homeschool resources.
6 Simple Tips To Choose The Best Homeschool Math Curriculum
So today, I’m sharing:
- 6 tips to help you choose the best homeschool math,
- The differences between mastery vs spiral based math,
- When to choose one over the other for kids with ADHD and other learning differences &
- I’ll also discuss strengths of the ADHD Brain & more.
If you’re an ADHDer like myself, feel free to use the table of contents to skip to sections of interest. I totally get it and won’t be offended.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Learning Styles & Wiring Should Drive Educational Planning
Here’s the reality.
Diversity of learning styles, learning differences, and specific life circumstances impact the learning experience of each child.
Kids with ADHD, Autism, dyslexia and other outside-the-box learning styles are often served very well when homeschooled.
Ultimately, homeschooling allows you to choose the best materials based on your child’s unique needs.
2. Deschool First
Many families choose to homeschool when the traditional system fails to meet their child’s needs. Perhaps this is true for you.
Regardless, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this happens.
Our educational system is designed to serve the masses. By virtue of being a system, it can’t provide an optimal learning environment for every individual child.
So it’s important for us to let go of the traditional school system approach. We need to do this in order to really hone in on how to best teach the individual students in our homes.
Best Homeschool Curriculum For Your Student
So when a new homeschool mom asks the ultimate question about the best homeschool curriculum, alarm bells begin to sound in my mind.
“Stop! Do not pass go! Do not collect $200! Go directly to jail!”
Crazy response, right? I know it may seem dramatic, but there is a reason behind my madness.
3. Prioritize Learning Over Tradition
You want your kid to grow up confident in their ability to learn. In the end, we all want this, right?
With this in mind, it’s crucial to understand your child truly is unique. This means that what works for one kid may not be the best for yours. And this is 100% ok.
Bottom line. Learning needs to be the priority rather than tradition.
4. Reframe the Question & Relax
When looking for the best homeschool curriculum for our kids, we need to reframe the question from,
“What is the best homeschool math curriculum?”
“What is the best homeschool curriculum for my child at this time?”
There’s never going to be one right answer to this question.
Our kids all have different needs and those needs are going to ebb and flow as time and circumstances change.
The point being… give yourself grace. Take the pressure off when choosing learning materials for your child.
We can only do our best with the information we have at any one time.
5. Ask Good Questions Before Buying
Ultimately, when deciding on the best homeschool math curriculum for your kid, you want to ask yourself some questions. These questions should help you understand your unique child.
- How does my child learn best?
- What educational materials will best support my child in learning effectively, efficiently and with intrigue?
- Does my child have any educational gaps that need to be addressed before we move on?
- What are my educational goals for this student?
- Areas of interest?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be better equipped to make a solid decision for your child(ren).
6. Spiral vs. Mastery Math: Know The Difference
There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: Spiral-based and Mastery-based.
Here is a brief explanation of the two and some factors to consider when deciding which approach will be best.
What Is Mastery-Based Homeschool Math?
Mastery based homeschool math curriculum focuses on mastering concepts. These homeschool math resources focus on one topic at a time.
Ultimately, the goal of this approach is for the child to master one concept before moving on to the next.
What Is Spiral-Based Math?
Spiral-based homeschool math curriculum cycles through a variety of math skills in each lesson.
Typically, the first lesson of the week introduces a new topic and provides practice problems based on that math skill. Additionally, the lessons will circle back to and spiral through older topics as review.
If you have a child who tends to be more math-minded or who needs more variety to stay engaged, a spiral approach is a great choice.
Mastery or Spiral Based Homeschool Math For ADHD?
Interestingly, neither mastery-based nor spiral-based homeschool math is better than the other.
What works best will be completely dependent upon your unique child.
For kids who struggle with math, a mastery-based homeschool math curriculum may serve them well. Mastery-based programs include Math-U-See as well as a newer program, the Math With Confidence series.
Mastery Based Curriculum: Benefits Kids Who Struggle With Flexible Thinking
Children with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning skills such as flexible thinking. These kids have a harder time transitioning from one activity to another.
Sadly, when in an artificial learning environment that favors compartmentalizing subjects, traits of ADHD kids are often perceived as a detriment.
However, the inability to bounce from subject to subject is an incredible learning strength. Kids with ADHD, Autism and other learning differences, often have the gift of hyperfocus.
What is Hyperfocus?
Hyperfocus is the ability to zero in on subjects of incredible interest to the exclusion of others. Think about the greatest thinkers of all time.
- Albert Einstein
- Alexander Graham Bell
- Astronaut Scott Kelly
Without the ability to focus with intensity and passion, these ADHDers would likely not have accomplished all that they have.
Targeted Practice With Mastery-Based Math
Let’s use multi-digit multiplication as an example. Once a student finally “gets it,” the last thing that student wants to do (or even can do) is suddenly shift to calculating fractions.
Students with ADHD tend to do well focusing their energy on one concept at a time.
Specifically, these kids often need lots of targeted practice over an extended time period in order to develop automaticity. Again, this is when a mastery homeschool math program shines.
When Does Spiral-Based Math Benefit ADHD?
When we started homeschooling 11 years ago, I heard the rumor that mastery-based math was the “best way to teach homeschool math.”
Understandably, I wanted the best for my daughter and so I chose “the best homeschool math curriculum”- a very popular mastery based math curriculum.
Whah… whah… total fail.
The Best Math Curriculum In My Own ADHD Homeschool
My girl’s ADHD, math-minded brain needed more variety in order to keep her engaged.
By pivoting to a spiral-based math program, my ADHDer thrived. Ultimately, what approach works best will depend on the unique-wiring of your student.
How to Choose Homeschool Math Curriculum
Again, whether your child does well with one homeschool math program or another will be based on a number of variables.
Like everything else, it all depends on the learner. I have created multiple homeschooling resources to help you best equip your outside-the-box learner.
Check them out, take a deep breath and know that it’ll never be perfect and that’s ok.
Do the best you can and as you learn, be willing to look outside-the-box. Homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning and growing for your children and just as importantly, you.
Top Homeschool Math Curriculum Options For Struggling Learners?
Check out Part 2 of this series where veteran homeschool moms share their favorite homeschool math curriculum for kids with learning differences.
Remember, Sweet Friend, our kids can thrive when equipped based on who they are. Promise you. There’s so much hope!
So what do you think? Do you have any other suggestions as to how to best choose homeschool math? Comment below.
RELATED POST (PART 2): Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students
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