Hello friends! Today we introduce a whole new segment on Let’s Homeschool High School! Our Coffee and Curriculum posts will be something you won’t want to miss. Each month, we’ll highlight a high school curriculum and give you an in-depth look at how the curriculum works and how REAL homeschool parents use it in their high school. This month’s Coffee and Curriculum focus is math. As your student prepares for college, you may be wondering which homeschool math curriculum is going to be the best fit. Because publishers teach concepts differently, it’s good to start this search early. Here, we take a look at three providers of homeschool math curricula and see what it’s like using their programs for middle and high school. Our first segment is from Tasha, one of our Let’s Homeschool High School veteran homeschool moms. So, grab your coffee (because we all know how important that is) and let’s explore some math!
Yes, I know this is a high school site, but I really like Life of Fred for the younger grades. I like how it weaves a story line throughout, all while teaching children important math concepts. Also, if your child is one who doesn’t need a lot of practice, it’s excellent because the “Your Turn to Play” section (with practice problems) only has about 4-6 problems on average. For children who get concepts easily and can move on, this is great.
As your student gets older, LOF offers Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, and Calculus. There are several Pre-Algebra and Algebra books and Advanced Algebra. The one thing I didn’t personally like about LOF is that it seems if you don’t start with LOF in the beginning, it’s kind of hard to just “jump in” at any spot.
Because the curriculum teaches other subjects (such as Biology and Economics) alongside their upper-level math, some parents view it as an opportunity to tackle multiple subjects in one book. It won’t meet the “lab” component that’s required by many states when your teen takes Biology or Physics, but it will give your teen a basic understanding of the topics. If your student isn’t necessarily going to go take the SAT/ACT or is already a math-loving type of person, then this could be the perfect curriculum for you. It’s not too overwhelming and the stories keep their attention.
There’s a reason this program gets so many rave reviews from homeschoolers. Starting with 3rd grade (or whenever your child is ready for Math 3), you can use Teaching Textbooks all through high school graduation. I have to say, out of everything we’ve tried, this program has been the best fit for my kids. We started using it a couple of years ago and the kids fell in love with it right away. At the time, half of my children were in middle school and half were in high school. My kids love the way the program’s narrator walks them through EVERY problem and EVERY lesson. If they miss a problem, they can elect to see the step-by-step instructions on how to solve that specific problem. This is the case for all problems.
The program does not assume your children learned various concepts in previous homeschool math curriculum. Instead, it takes the time to explain the concepts your students might not have learned. If your students have already learned the concepts, they can skip ahead to the practice problems. Furthermore, the new 2.0 versions take the load off of me because they’re self-grading. We absolutely love Teaching Textbooks for homeschool math curriculum.
When my kids were younger, I really, really enjoyed Bob Jones. I didn’t always have time to pull out every manipulative the teacher’s edition called for, but I did my best. Basically, I’d have my kids get out the manipulatives I thought would be most beneficial to them understanding the lesson. As they got older, we pulled away from Bob Jones for a couple of years and tried other homeschool math curriculum. When we returned to Bob Jones in 2016, it was a mess for us. By then, some of the kids were in high school which meant they were doing higher-level math. The problem? Bob Jones is designed in a way that assumes the children have been using Bob Jones their whole lives. This is a likely assumption and one I don’t blame them for making. After all, if I were creating homeschool math curriculum, I might assume my customers have been with me all along, too.
This is a problematic assumption, however. Because of these assumptions, the curriculum doesn’t really reiterate math steps or review how to use them. The teachers (we used the DVD program when we returned) continuously repeated things like, “You learned how to ___ in ____(previous math level), so we won’t review that now. Instead, we’re moving on to (new math concept).” This was very frustrating for my kids who actually hadn’t learned the assumed concepts. A few months of dealing with frustrations led to us using and loving Teaching Textbooks instead.
All in all, what works for you may not be what works for us because students are different and learning styles vary. While we found Teaching Textbooks to be the best math program out there (for my textbook-loving and independent children), your mileage may definitely vary. I hope these three reviews have at least given you a closer look at what it’s like using these programs on a daily basis from a mom who has been homeschooling for 14 years now!