Do you wonder what homeschool math programs other homeschool families are using?
A popular question at the beginning of the school year, at Christmas break, and when preparing of the next school year is…
“What are you using for ________? (fill in the blank with any subject)
This post is part of a series titled Homeschool Curricula we’ve Used. I’m writing this series for two reasons:
- As a homeschool mom, I’ve asked this question countless times. I am grateful to those moms who were ahead of me on this homeschooling journey and were willing to share their experience and knowledge.
- As a homeschool mentor, I’ve also answered this question countless times. By sharing what homeschool math programs we’ve used from kindergarten through high school, I hope to help your family have a successful homeschooling journey too.
Throughout our 15-year homeschooling journey, we only used 2 homeschool math programs.
Those 2 programs were: A Beka Arithmetic and Saxon Math.
Why these two homeschool math programs?
At the end of our first year homeschooling, another homeschool mom suggested I read The Well-Trained Mind, which I did read and reread. I chose Abeka Arithmetic and Saxon Math because this book suggested these 2 math programs (and several others).
Both of our children started with A Beka Arithmetic in kindergarten.
Why did we start with A Beka?
From my research I liked what I read about A Beka and Saxon, but I didn’t know which one to try first. So, I let my kindergartener pick. I showed her both options and she chose A Beka. When I asked her why, she told be that she liked the pictures and it was colorful.
Our daughter switched to Saxon Math in 4th grade and started with level 6/5. She worked through each level in middle and high school at home. She taught herself. She completed her math studies with Saxon Calculus her senior year.
Why did we switch to Saxon?
By our fourth year of homeschooling, I was hearing more about using Saxon with students who excel in math. Our daughter excelled in math. The summer between our daughter’s 3rd and 4th grade years, I researched homeschool math programs again. I decided to make the switch because I read Saxon is a rigorous math program. In fact, one resource claims that Saxon is “the nation’s most comprehensive and most thoroughly researched homeschool math program, with more than 30 years of proven success. “
Why did our elementary student start with Saxon 6/5?
The placement tests for Saxon Math indicated that our 4th grader should start with Saxon 6/5. I was hesitant about this jump, but I followed their guide and my gut. (Since our first year of homeschooling, I saw that math came easily for our daughter and it was her favorite subject.)
Our son switched to Saxon Math in 5th grade and started with level 6/5. He worked through each level in middle school. In high school, he completed Saxon Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II at home. Our son used the supplemental Saxon Teacher CDs for Geometry and Algebra II. He completed Pre-Calculus and Calculus at a homeschool tutorial program that used curricula I haven’t seen recommended anywhere else.
Did we like the Saxon Teacher CDs?
Yes, this resource was invaluable. The Saxon Teacher CDs were invaluable because when it comes to math, our son and I think so differently. We butted heads over math more than I care to admit. Using these CDs, allowed me to step away from day to day teaching math to our son.
Why did our son take math classes outside the home but our daughter did not?
Even with the CDs, I saw our son skipping steps and making too many careless mistakes. Deciding to outsource math with a homeschool tutorial program was one of the best decisions I made while homeschooling through high school. As for our daughter, she was able to teach herself high school math. (My husband is a mechanical engineer and our daughter had her dad to ask questions the few times she needed help.)
Math is the one subject that we didn’t try multiple programs. These two homeschool math programs (A Beka Arithmetic and Saxon math) not only prepared our children well for the ACT (both scored a 34 on the math subtest) but also prepared our daughter for college math. (As a junior at college, our daughter has taken a math class every semester as she pursues a degree in industrial engineering.) Our son starts college this fall 2017; I’ll let you know if he too was ready for college math.
UPDATE: Received an e-mail asking about making math fun and using supplemental math resources. I’ll share what we did and used in another post soon.