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How do you choose a math curriculum? May 18, 2009

Posted by inspiremath in Curriculum, Q&A.
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That’s a question I get a lot.   Everyone wants to know what I, someone who actually likes math, use to inspire my kids.  I do have my favorites, but I do change around, depending on each kid.  When I look for math curriculum, I consider the following:

  • Price – I prefer inexpensive over pricey, flashy curriculum.
  • Teaching methodology – I prefer math programs that emphasize applying what you’ve learned, rather than just all memorization.  However, sometimes I’ll use workbooks that are simply for practice in a certain area.
  • Teacher involvement – Some people prefer to have a lot of teacher resources, including DVDs and scripted teacher plans.  I would rather have books that allow the student to teach themselves.  That’s because when you figure it out yourself, you understand it better than having someone tell you how to do it.  Plus I’d rather spend math teaching time playing games.  Some people don’t feel comfortable and want more direction – and that’s fine too.
  • Appealing to Senses – I like math programs that are visual and kinesthetic, but of course it varies from kid to kid.  Some prefer colorful workbooks, others don’t care.   I do like the problems to be explained visually and/or in a hands-on manner.

Based on the criteria listed above, these are some of the programs I like.  Not every kid uses every one of these math books!


1,2,3 – Miquon Math

1,2,3,4,5,6 – Singapore Math (I get the workbooks only)

4,5,6,7,8 – Keys To… (good for extra practice)

1,2,3,4,5 – Math Mammoth (good for extra practice)

6,7,8, 9 and on – Life of Fred (not a complete math program, but excellent at explaining math for those that don’t like it as much)

5,6,7,8 – Challenge Math & Challenge Algebra

8+ – Jacob’s Math

8+ – Art of Problem Solving