Guide To Picking The Best Homeschool Math Curriculum (For You)

There’s no doubt that math is an important subject. 

Critical to STEM and coding, as well as business and even many trades, helping your kids develop a strong understanding in math can give them a real boost not only in school, but in the real world as well. 

Taught well and students can eventually become comfortable, even fearless, with tackling even the most challenging puzzles and problems school (and life) can throw at them. Taught poorly and…well, there probably isn’t another subject in school that will generate as much dread and fear in both students and their parents.

If you’re a homeschooler, then, finding a homeschool math curriculum that fits your needs as well as your student’s can be a challenge.

The decision is an important one and there can be a lot of factors to consider, which is why we created this guide – to help parents find the best math curriculum for their homeschools. 

Is there a best homeschool math curriculum?

Put simply, no. There is no best homeschool math curriculum.

Very simply, this is because there’s really no best way of teaching math. 

Math is a language and a way of thinking about the world, and the exact way in which skills and mathematical thinking are instilled can differ very widely between teachers, between schools and even between cultures. 

Even schools in the top performing countries differ quite substantially in how they approach teaching math. Singapore, China, Finland, South Korea and Japan all teach math very radically differently, for example, yet their students all outperform in math rankings. 

In addition to how math is taught, kids themselves tend to learn differently and respond differently to different teaching styles. 

Coming as no surprise to parents, Children have their own challenges, their own strengths and their own preferences for how they like material presented to them, all of which can affect how they absorb material, how they respond to lessons, and even their motivation to continue learning. 

And even if there was a best way to teach math, it might not fit how some parents want to teach their kids. 

That choice and consideration of the individual’s needs and preferences can be really the core of what homeschooling is about and why parents choose to homeschool in the first place. 

For all these reasons (and more), we didn’t entitle this article how to find the best homeschool math curriculum, but made sure to emphasize it’s to help parents find the best homeschool curriculum option for them.

What curriculum considerations are there when thinking about homeschooling math?

There are a lot of math curricula out there that encompass a wide variety of teaching methods. 

And while pretty much every company will tell you how effective they are and how they are certain to improve your child’s understanding of math, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right for everyone. 

There’s a lot to consider when picking a homeschool math curriculum for your student, and with math being such an important part of learning, it’s worth carefully considering the many factors that make up a homeschool curriculum to make sure it’s really the best fit for you and for your child. 

Price 

With textbooks, workbooks, instructor’s guides, assessments and more to buy, it’s important to find a math curriculum that can fit your homeschooling budget. 

After all, there’s not much point in considering a curriculum if their instructional material is unaffordable to you personally. 

Ranging from free to $200 or more for a yearly set of math material, on top of all the other subjects that need to be purchased for that year, a math curriculum can be a significant investment for a family. 

That said, it’s important not to get too carried away thinking about dollars and cents. After all, math is a core subject that is critical to a variety of educational fields (and everyday life) and can be a subject that kids can easily develop phobias about. 

While price is a factor, it should only be one factor of many with the quality of the program and its effectiveness for a student being the main concern. 

At the ended of the day, remember that even a $200 dollar set should give a full year’s worth of learning and if you have multiple children, they can often be used again (minus consumables of course),

Which leads us to….

Reusability

The good thing about math is that the concepts that kids will learn up until grade 12 most of its concepts have been around for some time. 

If you’ve ever taken a school math class and were shocked to see that the textbooks provided were from 1976, chances are good you’ve realized it is quite possible (and common) to reuse a curriculum set. 

Given that many complete math curriculum sets can be a significant investment, if you have multiple kids that seem like they may benefit from the same style of teaching and curriculum, you may want to look for more durable or reusable options that can be used by older siblings. 

Reusing parts of curriculum sets can help spread out their upfront cost a bit more. 

The only issue that tends to affect the reusability of math sets is that some companies use softcover and spiral bound textbooks to save printing costs, so you might have to be a little more careful with those sets. 

Most curricula make use of consumable booklets and worksheets, that is books that students can write in. Obviously these can’t be reused easily, but most companies offer the flexibility of buying their books piecemeal, so you can buy the consumable books while keeping the main instructional books, saving a bit of money. 

With digital math curricula, things are a little different. 

Although they tend to give access to most grade levels at one time, are a lot easier to keep track of and often a lot more material due to being digital, digital curricula tend to have licenses that let you access them for specific periods of time, which can make it a little trickier to reuse with other children in the future and is something to think about.

Teaching flexibility

Depending on your homeschool and your experience teaching, you may prefer to have more or less guidance on how to conduct your lessons.

On one end of the spectrum, some math curricula have lessons that are highly structured, timed to fit a particular pace with specific (sometimes word by word) explanations and specific times allocated for similarly structured activities.

These are known as scripted lessons and some parents do prefer them, either due to feeling inexperienced in homeschooling or feeling rusty at math themselves, or due to the fact that they may just be busy with several other students and would prefer a more guided lesson.

At the other end of the spectrum there are math curricula that provide a minimum of lesson instruction beyond perhaps explaining math concepts to the parent, leaving it up to parents to decide how to execute a lesson plan and giving them a lot of freedom to do so. 

These tend to be great for homeschool parents who have a strong idea of how they want to teach math, or those who prefer a great deal of freedom and flexibility in lesson planning.

Lesson Formality

Some programs teach math more formally, teaching math much as it would be done in a classroom or classic textbook. These curricula view math as a pure discipline and can put an emphasis in teaching math terminology and diving into topics in a very precise manner. 

Other programs may teach in a more casual, almost folksy manner, taking a more common sense, straightforward approach to explaining math concepts and trying to connect math to the real world in a way that kids will more readily understand. 

Some students, especially those with an aptitude or talent for math and particularly those who are seeking enrichment or want to pursue higher math education or competitions, may prefer more serious, academic instruction, with a stronger emphasis on learning and applying math terminology and using very theoretical examples. 

These students may find folksiness or attempts at humor to be a bit cringey or annoying in the long term. 

Other students, on the other hand, particularly those who are intimidated by math or are just starting out, may appreciate an approach that connects math concepts to things they know in an easy to grasp manner.

That said, the formality of a program doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with its rigor. There are many very rigorous and advanced math programs that take a causal approach to explaining math with rather down to earth explanations and examples that involve pop culture and day to day situations. 

Conversely, there are less rigorous, easier curricula that teach math quite formally.

So we’d say it’s up to parent and student preference, really.

Grade Levels Covered

As you probably know, math is generally broken up into elementary, middle and high school levels. 

The exact grade levels can vary to the consternation of parents trying to keep grade standards, particularly with middle school that, depending on your are, can be grades 5-9, grades 6-9, grades 7-9 or even just grades 8 and 9. 

When it comes to homeschool math curricula there are, roughly speaking, two kinds of grade level coverage. 

A complete K-12 curriculum is one that tends to cover all the topics normally covered in K-12 math, divided up into a variety of levels. 

This is as compared to other curricula that may cover K-8, only high school, or some other combination of grades

While it’s natural to lean towards a K-12 curriculum, the completeness of a curriculum doesn’t have much to do with quality or appropriateness. 

A complete curriculum certainly lets parents and students use (more or less) the same methodology, feel and pedagogy from start to finish, reducing the need to change programs midway through a child’s educational career and providing more stability and familiarity to their math education. 

But that stability may backfire, as a child develops their attitude towards the curriculum may change or it may not suit them after a while. A math approach they took in elementary school may not work for them in high school, for example. 

On the flipside, a math curriculum that stops at a certain grade level may be more annoying in the fact that it abruptly stops and parents may have a harder time finding a similar, replacement math curriculum. 

But these companies may have invested far more of their time in creating a higher quality, grade-limited curriculum, and a change in curriculum may be natural, if a student is developing an aptitude towards math, for example.

Common Core Alignment 

One of the more tricky questions is whether to pursue a common core curriculum or not. 

This is a personal choice and far beyond this article or website to make an argument either way. but it is something to consider as there are many that do and many that don’t align to common core standards.

Some programs even offer both common core and non-common core aligned materials, for that matter. 

With all that said, when looking at a curriculum, particularly with math education, it’s important not to rush to judgement if a program  you’re interested in does correlate with common core standards. 

Many programs pre-date the move to common core and simply happen to meet those standards by happenstance or with minor modifications. In some cases they may go well beyond these requirements, exploring more concepts in far more detail and rigor than what is required by state education. 

Similarly, if you are interested in following a standards-aligned math curriculum and the one you are interested in is not known for being standards-aligned, often times these companies do offer help or guides to modify their curriculum to meet common core standards, which can sometimes just be a matter of shifting the scope and sequence around. 

Conceptual versus Procedural 

When it comes to teaching math, there are two big philosophies that relate to developing an understanding of math – Conceptual Math and Procedural Math.

When people refer to math being conceptual, they tend to mean that it focuses on math concepts, dealing more with why math processes work and why they’re being used, rather than focusing on the steps needed to solve them.

When people refer to math being procedural, it’s generally the opposite. They mean that it is focusing on how to solve math problems, memorizing and learning how to apply algorithms and steps to quickly figure out answers.

A more conceptual math curriculum will try to develop a deeper understanding of math, working more on developing critical and mathematical thinking, and generally letting students apply these skills to explore multiple approaches and solving math problems.

A more procedural, or computational, math curriculum, on the other hand, will often focus more on teaching math facts, memorizing procedures and generally working to get students to solve different problems quickly and efficiently. 

There’s no hard and fast rule as to which is better, or even which type of curriculum produces better results. Really, it’s a philosophical difference that educators frequently argue about. 

Some say that procedural math offers better results on tests and assessments, at least at lower levels, while others argue that conceptual math is more valuable to students in the long run as they will be able to apply the critical thinking skills to a wider variety of problems, especially if it’s something they haven’t seen before. 

While there are nuggets of truth to both arguments, in the real world there are relatively few, if any, “pure” procedural or conceptual math curricula out there. 

And there is a good reason for that –  students need to understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and they will be called upon to be able to actually do math calculations on occasion.

That said, most curricula do have a reputation for learning one way or another and so it really is something that parents will have to assess based on their personal philosophies.

Spiral or mastery

In addition to conceptual and procedural math, another big division in the math teaching world is between spiral and mastery approaches to teaching math.

In short, Spiral approaches to teaching math tend to break big math concepts down into smaller bits and then teach them a little at a time, periodically introducing new concepts and ideas, and spreading the learning out over the year. 

In this way, concepts are constantly introduced and kids have a lot of opportunity to revisit and review older ideas.

In contrast, a Mastery approach goes deeper into a single concept, taking time to explore all it in its entirety, only moving on to another concept when a student demonstrates proficiency at it, or mastery. 

In this way, the focus is more on understanding and mastering one concept at a time, for as long as that may take, and then moving out with fewer opportunities in the future to review and revisit.

Most curricula tend to favor one approach or the other and, unlike the conceptual/procedural debate, there are those that can be characterized as a “pure” masteral or pure spiral approach. 

In this case, it’s mainly about how a student learns best and how they prefer to explore math. 

Some students get bored of exploring a single topic for a long time and want some novelty, they may forget concepts over time if they don’t pop up now and again, or they may better understand math if they see how different topics relate to each other holistically. For those students a spiral approach may be best.  

Others, however, may find they need time to explore concepts and work on one skill at a time, or prefer to do so deeply and thoroughly, or just find moving from topic to topic jarring or annoying, in which case they may do better with a mastery approach curriculum.

Rigor

When it comes to math curriculum rigor, generally we’re talking about how a particular curriculum compares to other homeschool math curricula, and more particularly how it compares to the average public school curriculum

Some homeschool curricula are appealing to parents because they introduce more advanced topics more quickly, or go into greater depth, and therefore can challenge students with more complex or unusual exercises. 

As a result, those following these curricula can find their kids a grade level or two ahead of their peers. 

Other curricula may take their time, explaining things more simply or in a common sense manner, providing more exercises and activities to give kids more of an opportunity to explore them. 

As a result, these curricula may be on or even a little behind their peers when assessed with standardized tests. 

There’s no real hard and fast rule to which is better for a student. 

A very rigorous and challenging curriculum may sound like a good idea at first, every parent wants their child to be advanced after all.

But if a student has had a hard time with math in the past, or has significant skill gaps, or even has dyscalculia, a challenging curriculum can often end in tears and deepen any negative attitudes to math or even harm their self-esteem. 

Consequently, in the long run such students may actually be better served by a more gentle and slower paced math program that gets them where they need to be with a minimum of trouble.   

Digital learning options

Digital learning is another factor homeschoolers will have to consider, especially as technology continues to play a central role in our lives. 

Some math curricula have digital learning options or are themselves purely digital. These digital math curricula can have many advantages over traditional, text based learning.

They can include far more engaging multimedia and video instruction, they can monitor and track student performance in a more granular way and they can include far larger question banks and include adaptive technology to really hone in on student skills with more precision.

On the downside, the increased screen time can be an issue for some parents, the quality is usually more variable, they tend to use limited time licenses (which means they can’t be as easily passed along to younger siblings), and sometimes their tracking and adaptive technology can be far more stressful for parents and students alike. 

Ease of entry/exit

One factor many parents don’t consider until it is too late is how easy it is to transition into or out of a particular math curriculum, with many curricula following their own pathways and methodologies. 

Some may be far in advance of grade level, while others may not map much to grade level at all. If you have a student switching into it from another program it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. 

The better companies out there recognize this challenge and provide free and easy access to their own placement tests, which let parents find out for themselves where their child stands with regard to the scope and sequence of the curriculum. 

This can prevent situations where time is spent reviewing concepts the student is already familiar with or, worse, prevents them starting at what they think is their grade level, which proves to be too advanced and ultimately damages their self-esteem in math.

Similarly, if a curriculum is too far out of the mainstream and a parent wants to leave the program, there can be a great deal of confusion and anxiety if they are not adequately prepared for the transition ahead of time. 

What about our child’s needs?

A math curriculum doesn’t exist in a vacuum. 

No matter how well a curriculum works for other homeschooling families there is no guarantee that it will suit a given child’s needs, and trying to force a way of learning math onto a child is usually a recipe for disaster (and tears). 

In order to properly select a curriculum that will work well, a parent needs to consider their own student and how they are likely to react to the math curriculum’s teaching style. 

Age and grade level

Before starting any curriculum, it’s usually important to assess a student’s skills at math. 

Whether a student is advanced or behind in terms of skill for their age and grade level can have a direct impact on how rigorous and fast paced a curriculum you should choose. 

Attitude towards math in general

Very rarely do we hear of someone with history-phobia or someone responding to a question with a shrug and “I never was very good at social studies.”

When it comes to math, however, student’s previous experiences can have a dramatic effect on shaping their attitudes to it.  

For example, students who have had negative experiences learning math in the past or are phobic about it may not be as open and receptive to a math curriculum as others, and may benefit from a more informal style and a gentle approach. 

In fact, many homeschooling parents have found that simply changing their curriculum and their approach to math have yielded sometimes stunning results, transforming their child’s attitudes completely. 

And of course the opposite is true, as well. Students who love math and show a great aptitude for it can become bored and disinterested if not challenged, perhaps even losing their interest and passion for it.

Before selecting any curriculum, therefore, it’s critical to assess a student’s attitudes and past experiences with math. 

After all, it’s much easier to fit a curriculum around a child than the other way around. 

Preferred learning style

Although the concept of learning styles is often overstated by educators, often kids can have a way they prefer to learn, whether that is by seeing something being demonstrated (visual), being lectured to or talking things through (auditory), or taking a hands-on, experimental approach (tactile).

While kids may be able to learn with pretty much any or all of their senses, it never really hurts to consider curricula that have an approach that they would enjoy and feel excited about.

Practice Requirements

Another factor that parents should consider when it comes to their kids is to try and assess how much practice they might need before they “get” a concept.

Some students simply have a knack for some subjects or skills. They are able to learn concepts quickly and thoroughly and don’t really require a lot of drill and practice to become fluent in its application.

If they are given too much practice, these types of students are prone to becoming frustrated or disengaging from the material completely. 

Other students, on the other hand, tend to take their time retaining information and reaching fluency and do in fact prefer lots of opportunities for drill and practice.

Without enough practice, they tend to have issues with recall and can develop skill gaps that are magnified over time. 

While it’s not always easy to determine how much practice a student may need, especially if you’re starting a curriculum in early childhood, past behavior in other areas can be a clue. 

As a parent do you need to explain things over and over until they understand, do your children master activities quickly, do they like repeating something until they “get it right,” and so on. 

Independence in learning

Finally, as we mentioned previously, some curricula can be quite scripted and may involve a lot of teacher involvement, meaning there isn’t a lot of room for students to be free to learn on their own.

Other curricula encourage the development of student independence, gradually encouraging them to teach themselves with the provided material. 

Some students do better being taught in a more formal way and do poorly in a self-paced study program, where they may slack off. 

Others, on the other hand, may look forward to the freedom and responsibility that comes with learning and exploring the material themselves.

Once again knowing how your child may respond to the increasing responsibility that comes with a shift to self-paced learning is critical to success.

Changing behavior, math curricula and the developing student

As we all know, child development and learning is something of a moving target. 

As kids grow their abilities mature and their tastes and preferences can change quite substantially. 

Homeschooling parents, therefore, should be prepared to change curricula when it no longer suits their students’ needs.

This really reinforces the idea that K-12 complete curricula may not as clear cut a choice for every family and why parents should consider how easy a curriculum is to transition into and out of, as they may have to do so at some point. 

Some of Our Homeschool Math Curriculum Recommendations:


Singapore Math 

Best Overall PreK-8 Homeschool Math Curriculum

Set Price: From $98Grades: Pre-K to Grade 8
Spiral/Mastery: Mastery ApproachConceptual/Procedural: Conceptual Math
Manipulatives: ✔Rigor: About a grade level ahead`
Common core option:Non-common core option:Ease of Teaching: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

The math program that transformed Singapore into a world leader in math, Singapore Math is a well-known Mastery program that has quite a strong emphasis on developing a thorough and flexible understanding of math concepts and tends to eschew drill and repetition..

If you have a preK to grade 7 student who prefers a hands-on, concrete or visual approach to learning new things (especially math), and don’t generally like a lot of repetition and drill in their learning, Singapore math might be the right method for you. 

Most well known for its CPA ( Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach, Singapore Math aims to make abstract concepts in math more concrete and understandable to young kids and thereby develop their overall understanding of math concepts. 

It does so by gradually moving them from hands-on, real life examples of a math concept, usually with manipulatives and activities, then shifting into pictorial format and finally turning these ideas into abstract equations. 

This approach can be quite effective in quickly and effectively developing a conceptual understanding of the material, particularly with young kids, although it can take a little bit of time for parents to get the hang of. 

Despite often introducing topics earlier and going into some depth, Singapore Math is actually a math program that can be used by most students. 

After all, it is used to great success for kids in Singapore’s public schools. 

Yet, students who want enrichment can enjoy challenging problem sets in the course’s supplemental workbooks, while the program’s supplements for building up mental math and other computation skills can really help those who usually struggle with math.

Bottom line: 

Singapore Math’s multisensory and hands-on approach to learning math has found great success in many homeschooling families, not only letting kids advance well ahead of their peers but helping them develop strong mathematical understanding and critical thinking/logic skills that kids can take with them into high school and beyond. 

For more information read our in-depth review of Singapore Math

Saxon Math 

For those Who Prefer a Back to Basics Approach to Math

Set Price: From about $100 & upGrades: K-12
Spiral/Mastery: Spiral ApproachConceptual/Procedural: Procedural 
Manipulatives: ✔ (K-3 only)Rigor: Average
Common core option:Non-common core option:Ease of Teaching: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you’re a parent who wants their child to focus more on how to solve math problems and don’t mind not focusing as much on the why, Saxon Math’s complete K-12 curriculum might be right for you.

Compared to other programs out there, Saxon is much more of what we like to call a back to basics program. With its strong emphasis on memorizing math facts, learning rules and techniques and  getting tons of practice, Saxon really gives students an opportunity to develop their computational math skills in ways more conceptual curricula do not. 

In doing so, it can help students develop better math fluency and help them learn to solve math problems quickly and efficiently when it comes time for assessments, albeit with less focus on exploring creative solutions to problems. 

And because Saxon math often revisits previous topics, mixing them into exercises and problem banks, it tends to keep kids on their toes while reinforcing essential knowledge and skills.

It is also one of the easier programs out there with which to get started teaching. Saxon includes guides, solutions, prompts and even full teaching scripts that can be used by unfamiliar or inexperienced homeschooling parents to help implement the program for their kids. 

Bottom line: 

If you’re looking for a math program that emphasizes the fundamentals of math, rather than a deep conceptual understanding of math, and want to keep your student practicing and able to solve math problems when called upon, Saxon might be the right solution for you. 

And with scripted lesson plans and lots of built-in guidance, it’s a snap to get started teaching.

For more information read out our in-depth review of Saxon Math

Math U See

For Those Who Prefer a Gentle (but Effective) way of learning Math

Set Price: From about $130 & upGrades: K-12
Spiral/Mastery: Mastery ApproachConceptual/Procedural: Conceptual
Manipulatives: ✔ (to middle school!)Rigor: Average
Common core option:Non-common core option:Ease of Teaching: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Math U See is a complete K-12 curriculum that is known for teaching math in a more straightforward, approachable way. 

Using videos, workbooks and a strong emphasis on manipulative blocks (that continue until Algebra 1), Math U See spends time delving into math concepts, breaking down and explaining why the math works to both parents and students in an often easy to understand way, which is great for students who are a little math-phobic.

Math U See lessons tend to go slowly, with opportunities to review previous material (unlike many other mastery options) and offers a lot more practice problems for kids to work on, which can really help students recall information and perform come test time. 

There is also a great deal of opportunity to slow down and explain things carefully to kids so they can better internalize concepts, and the combination of video, manipulative use, writing and oral summary also makes the lessons quite multisensory. 

Bottom line: 

While not the most advanced curriculum out there, Math U See is a one of the better options for struggling students and kids for whom math isn’t exactly a favorite subject. 

Its videos explain things clearly and simply, it has a slow and steady pace and it gives kids plenty of opportunity for practice, all of which should help them develop the math skills they need to succeed with a minimum of tears. 

For more information read our in-depth review of Math U See 

Beast Academy 

For Kids 8-13 With An Talent For Math, Who Like A Challenge…and Like Comics

Set Price: About $118 & upGrades: 2-7
Spiral/Mastery: Mastery ApproachConceptual/Procedural: Conceptual
Manipulatives: ✘Rigor: Advanced/Enrichment
Common core option: ✘ (loose alignment)Non-common core option:Ease of Teaching: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you have an elementary school student who is showing a particular aptitude for and interest in math, and is maybe even considering entering math contests, they may benefit from a math program that’s a bit more rigorous than most but that won’t bore the passion out of them. 

If that’s the case, Beast Academy might be the math curriculum you’re looking for. 

Available in book and online form, Beast Academy is designed for what the company refers to as “math beasts.” That is, young students with a talent, aptitude and interest in math.

Consequently, the Beast Academy curriculum is quite a bit more challenging than most other math curricula out there. 

Developed by a former math Olympiad winner, Beast Academy aims to instill higher order thinking skills, such as logical reasoning and problem solving, alongside mathematical knowledge, and therefore delves very deeply into math concepts. 

Recognizing that, even for so-called math beasts, it can be hard to reach young kids with deep dives into math concepts, Beast Academy engages kids and teaches them important math concepts through a clever use of comic book-style guidebooks. 

But don’t let the fanciful artwork fool you – Beast Academy tends to cover concepts in far more depth and rigor than other programs. 

In fact, because it introduces ideas and topics earlier and with less review than some other curricula, parents are strongly encouraged to use placement tests before jumping in.

There is ample practice to be had, as well. The curriculum offers relatively fewer computational problems compared to other programs and provides more complex and challenging puzzles and word problems that students will spend time thinking through.

Bottom Line: 

If you are looking to challenge your elementary school student with a deeper analysis of math concepts and help them develop the problem solving strategies and critical/logical thinking that can help them in math contests or in enriched math courses, Beast Academy might be the curriculum for you. 

For more information read our in-depth review of Beast Academy

Art of Problem Solving

A Rigorous Curriculum That Provides Much Needed Challenge To Outstanding Students In Math

Set Price: About $118 & upGrades: 8-12
Spiral/Mastery: Mastery ApproachConceptual/Procedural: Conceptual
Manipulatives: ✘Rigor: Advanced/Enrichment
Common core option: ✘ (loose alignment)Non-common core option:Ease of Teaching: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Art of Problem Solving is a curriculum designed for outstanding math students in middle and high school and is a natural progression for fans of Beast Academy (being made by the same company, although there are no comic book guides here).  

Originally designed to help talented math students prepare for competitions, Art of Problem Solving offers a problem-based and rigorous approach to math that goes deeper into middle and high school math topics, examining concepts more rigorously, more thoroughly and with more challenging problems than they would otherwise be able to do in other math courses. 

This curriculum focuses heavily on getting students to independently solve problems with the underlying belief that by discovering how to solve certain problems, kids will develop a deeper understanding of the material. 

Consequently, AoPS offers short and to the point explanations and lessons that are followed by a good deal of exercises, some of which are taken directly from previous math competitions. 

Overall, there is a far heavier emphasis on logic and proof than other curricula, making Art of Problem solving an excellent homeschool math curriculum for outstanding or talented math students looking to hone their math skills, and can be particularly valuable if students plan on taking math-heavier STEM subjects in university later on. 

Bottom Line: 

For those that can handle and appreciate its more in-depth, discovery-based curriculum, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a homeschool math curriculum that approaches its topics with as much rigor or one that gives students the deep mathematical thinking skills they’ll need to thrive in STEM or in math competitions. 

For more information read our in-depth review of Art of Problem Solving

Conclusion

Finding the best homeschool math curriculum for your needs can certainly take time, requiring a good deal of research and a realistic evaluation of both your own teaching philosophy and style and your student’s needs, abilities and sometimes even their personality.  

Yet math is a critical component of everyday life and, sadly, a subject that is often taught in a way that frustrates and discourages students. 

As parents we want our children to have the most advantages they can in school and in life, and strong mathematical confidence can certainly be one such advantage, even if the student never pursues a career in STEM. 

So as you pour through the various scope and sequences, just remember that the time spent finding a way of teaching math that fits will be well worth it in the end. 

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About the Author

David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.