With its clear explanations, spiral review component, and its hands-on, activity-based approach to teaching math, Math With Confidence can help students develop a solid understanding of math concepts and applications, while making the subject a bit more approachable and even enjoyable…for all involved.

**What We Like**

**But Be Careful**

## What Is Math With Confidence?

Created by homeschool mom, educator and author Kate Snow, Math with Confidence is a homeschool math program aimed at kindergarten and early grade school students.

The program helps parents teach their young students critical math skills and concepts through a combination of engaging, hands-on and multisensory activities and clear and straightforward lesson plans.

## What Ages Or Grades Is Math With Confidence Intended For?

Math with Confidence is a relatively new math program that is intended to teach students from kindergarten to sixth grade (K-6).

At time of writing, the program currently has material for kindergarten and first grade, with plans to expand the line as time goes on.

Although it isn’t designed to align to common core standards in math and uses its own scope and sequence, Math with Confidence is about grade level in terms of difficulty and the topics it covers.

As a result it isn’t too hard to figure out where a student should begin with the series, particularly given that each book clearly states the grade for which it is intended pretty prominently on its cover.

Consequently, parents new to homeschooling or those shifting into Math with Confidence from another program should have a fairly easy time figuring out where to start.

That said, given the program’s emphasis on hands-on learning, engaging activities and clear teaching instructions and guidance, these books can be students should be quite able to use these books outside their intended grade.

Precocious preschoolers, for example, who have mastered some counting and have the manual dexterity to engage with the activities or hold a pencil, should be able to start the Kindergarten book without much of an issue.

Similarly, students in grade schools who need to brush up a bit on their math can make use of earlier books in the series to review key concepts, something that is also helped by its unit structure (where each topic is more or less contained in its own unit) that can help provide more targeted review for those that need it.

As with other homeschool programs that make obvious reference to grade-levels, however, parents should make sure students don’t feel embarrassed using materials designed for a grade (or more) below them.

## What Is Required To Teach The Program?

In terms of required books, Math with Confidence is pretty lightweight overall.

Parents essentially just need two books – the Instructor Guide and the Student Workbook.

The Instructor Guide is printed in black and white and contains everything needed to teach the program.

They include overviews of each week’s lessons, outlining the teachings and expectations for that week, materials needed and, of course, full and detailed lesson plans including step-by-step guides for each activity.

The Student Workbooks are where students do their practice and review and are little consumable booklets where students complete various exercises.

They are printed in full color and contain a variety of illustrations, which is a nice change of pace from most programs that can serve to keep kids a little more interested and engaged compared to standard black and white practice books.

Beyond the required books, Math with Confidence uses a variety of hands-on activities to introduce and explore math concepts.

Some lessons include the use of standard manipulatives, which need to be purchased separately. These are pretty standard and easily found as a set online, and include things like clocks, counters, pattern blocks, index cards, money, coins, dice and playing cards.

Beyond these manipulatives, Math with Confidence also makes use of a variety of hands-on games and activities, which make use of various household items. Although these activities do make use of pretty common household items, this does mean that parents may have to go out and find them from time to time.

Helpfully, the lesson plans do a good job at outlining what materials are needed for each unit, so parents can more easily make sure they have everything ahead of time and not be rushed at the last minute.

Finally, Math with Confidence offers a variety of weekly enrichment lessons. Some of these include the use of picture and living books, which can help further explore certain math concepts and present the information in a slightly different way, which can sometimes be very helpful for students.

This introduction of math-linked readings can be quite nice and can help the program better fit a variety of literature-based homeschool approaches, such as Charlotte Mason-style homeschooling.

However, as with the hands-on activities, it does mean that interested parents will have to purchase these books (or a selection thereof) separately.

## How Does Math With Confidence Approach Math?

### Mastery with Spiral Review

Although not explicitly stated, we feel that Math With Confidence is something of a mastery program that also incorporates spiral review.

Math With Confidence divides its topics up into individual, separate units.

Over a period of several weeks, parents and students delve into each math concept and don’t move onto a new one until the student can demonstrate a level of proficiency as laid out by the program at the end of each unit (i.e. demonstrate some mastery of a concept).

This is as opposed to spiral curricula, which tend to break each topic down into smaller bits and teach a little bit at a time, regularly introducing new material and revisiting previous topics in greater depth as time goes on.

A significant concern that parents have with mastery curricula is that they tend to include less review and repetition than spiral programs, as once proficiency in a topic is reached the student effectively moves on completely and doesn’t revisit it later.

Students who tend to need a little more practice or who have a harder time remembering facts and information without periodic refreshers can have a harder time with these programs, as they may forget what they’ve learned (wholly or partly) and lose topical or skill proficiency with time.

Addressing this concern, Math With Confidence has added a spiral review component to their program.

In other words, the program has added a lot of opportunities for comprehensive review sprinkled throughout the text, testing not only new knowledge but revisiting and refreshing previous concepts and skills, which can help students solidify knowledge in the long run.

### Balances Conceptual and Procedural Math

Math With Confidence spends a good deal of time helping students develop an understanding of the concepts behind the math they see and why it is doing what it is doing, i.e. the *why *behind the math.

Through the use of hands-on activities and real life demonstrations, students are introduced to important concepts in math and come to understand the reasoning and logic behind them, rather than being expected to memorize math facts and solve endless computational math problems.

In this way, it can be said to be something of a conceptual math program, similar to curricula like Singapore Math or Math U See.

Math With Confidence is not, however, a pure conceptual math program.

Lessons integrate a good deal of skill-building computational problems in the workbook, math fact memorization, some drill, comprehensive review and even mental math practice.

The program therefore address a key criticism of conceptual math programs, in that it not only teaches students to understand what they are doing when it comes to math, i.e. building deeper understanding, but also helps them develop the ability to accurately and quickly solve math problems when they need to, i.e. develop what is called skill fluency.

### Hands-on Learning

A big part of Math With Confidence is its hands-on, tactile learning component.

Rather than a top-down traditional math lecture or demonstration of an equation on a board, students learn math concepts through an engaging dialogue with their parents and a series of various parent-led learning activities and even physical games that they play throughout the lesson.

During a lesson, for example, students might end up exploring math concepts by flipping coins, making their own graph, playing card games with numbered index cards and more.

With these concrete, tactile experiences, Math With Confidence can help students more easily come to terms with and absorb the more abstract ideas of math, something that younger children are known to have a harder time with.

It also makes the program fairly multisensory.

With Math With Confidence, students listen and discuss things with their parents (auditory), watch demonstrations (visual), read and write their responses in their workbook (visual), and also engage in kinesthetic and tactile activities and games.

This multisensory learning can activate a greater number of cognitive pathways, resulting in deeper learning and better retention, and can be very helpful to students who prefer to learn in a more tactile way.

## How Does It Work And What Are Lessons Like?

As we discussed above, Math With Confidence divides math up into units, each of which are based around a particular concept.

Each unit is designed to be covered in about 2-5 weeks, is divided up into several topics and has about 8-16 lessons in total, depending on the complexity of the concepts at hand.

Math With Confidence is based on a 4 day week, with an extra, optional fifth day dedicated to enrichment learning (there are optional suggested schedules for 5 day a week families, as well), and each grade is designed to last about 32 weeks in total.

The program divides lessons up into 3 parts- a warm-up, the lesson itself and workbook practice, all of which is detailed quite clearly in a little chart offered at the beginning of each lesson, alongside other helpful information such as materials needed and tips for integrating concepts into everyday life for more relevant learning.

### Warm Up

As with some other programs, like Saxon, Math With Confidence offers a bit of a warm up at the start of each lesson.

These are some brief activities, games and reviews that are designed to help refresh a student’s memory from previous lessons.

An example of such a warm up might be, for example, doing some counting exercises, repeating a game from a previous lesson, doing some mental math exercises, light manipulative work and so on.

We tend to like curricula that offer warm ups in this way, as it can sometimes be a little tricky to get kids into a “math mindset” before they start a lesson, particularly if a day’s math lesson follows a totally different subject, such as language arts.

### Lessons

Following the warm up, parents and students dive into the day’s lesson.

Math With Confidence teaches math a little differently than other math programs.

In particular, it tends to use a lot of hands-on activities and demonstrations using physical objects to introduce and explore math concepts.

For example, when exploring the concept of finding the numerical combinations that make up 10, a student might take 10 counters (or candies) and work out on a chart how many different ways they can split up the total between parent and child.

A discussion may take place thereafter discussing how numbers can be split many different ways.

An activity may then follow, where parents reinforce this concept in another way, for example by playing the card game Go Fish with the goal of finding and putting together card values that make up 10.

At the end of each unit is an evaluation that parents need to look at.

This contains a list of objectives and concepts that students should be familiar with by the end of the lessons, and is designed to help parents decide if the student is ready to move on to the next unit or needs more revision.

Overall, through the use of hands-on activities, manipulatives and games, Math With Confidence does a pretty good job at helping younger kids come to understand and absorb some of the abstract ideas and concepts at math.

In working with things that kids recognize, can hold and play around with, it turns math work into something that’s a little more intuitive and understandable than simply presenting information numerically on a board, as more traditional programs might.

The concept of adding three plastic counters together can be a lot more easily understood and explored by a child, and parents can slowly move the child towards more formal representations of numbers and math once they understand the overall concept.

The use of games and activities also makes math a lot less stressful and more engaging to students.

Rather than having to sit and be lectured to, they can be active participants in their own learning and engage in somewhat exciting activities and games that get them up and moving, which can turn math lessons into a more positive experience overall.

One thing we really liked is how the program keeps the lessons quite short and to the point. Math With Confidence Lessons generally take less than 30 minutes to complete at the K-1 level (including warm up) which is ideal for younger students who, let’s face it, don’t have the longest attention spans.

The only real issue with this method is that, with several activities and/or games per lesson, in addition to warm ups, there can be a lot of parts and pieces for parents to keep track of in each lesson.

This is not really a simple pen and paper curriculum, we believe parents will have to read ahead a little bit before each lesson to organize, gather and prepare the components so that they are ready to use.

### Workbook

Finally, at the end of each lesson, students are assigned a couple pages of exercises from their workbook to complete.

These start off fairly light at the kindergarten level and, obviously, increase in length and complexity as the student develops and is capable of handling a greater workload.

Printed and illustrated in full color, these workbooks are fairly interesting to look at and use, and provide essential and constant practice to help students remember what they are learning and learn how to use what they’ve learned to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Combined with the warm up that students will encounter in the next lesson,this helps Math With Confidence provide a good deal of practice, review and repetition, something that is often lacking in conceptual math programs, and can help students better retain information and develop skill fluency in the long run.

Parents should note that the workbooks are consumable and therefore will have to buy new or separate copies if teaching multiple children, which can raise the cost of the program for families (although the workbooks aren’t really all that expensive, to be fair).

As with the lessons, the workbooks aren’t that time consuming and are fairly child-attention-span-friendly, with each page only taking about 5 minutes or so to complete.

### Enrichment Activities and Learning

Finally, at the end of each week parents have the option of adding an additional enrichment or extra learning day.

These more or less follow the same structure as a regular lesson.

They start off with a warm up and have an activity-based teaching component.

Where they differ is that they also include the use of picture books or living books, which parents (or students, depending on ability) can read aloud.

The books serve to explain and further explore the math concepts touched upon in the unit. In addition to helping students with their literacy skills, they also can be helpful in explaining and presenting information and concepts in a different, more interesting and fun, way.

Rather than simply doing another counting exercise, for example, students can follow along as Lyle the Crocodile walks an increasing number of dogs and practices counting to 10, or work on their counting to 20 by reading about the massive traffic jam caused by a broken down ice cream truck in 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street.

This addition of books to the Math With Confidence curriculum is nice and is something we appreciate.

Living books can be a more engaging way of presenting information to students, it integrates reading practice into a wider variety of subjects, and it can be a nice break from the rest of the week’s work.

It also can be of particular interest to homeschools that use a literature-based approach to learning, such as those trying to implement a Charlotte Mason-style of learning.

## How Easy Is Math With Confidence To Teach?

Math With Confidence is quite easy to teach.

Although its lessons are short, the Instructor’s Guide is very thorough and well-scripted, meaning it guides parents clearly through lessons in a very step by step manner.

The Instructor’s Guide does a good job at letting parents know how they should present material, what to say, what to expect in terms of student response, how to interpret and react to student responses and what to do next, so it is a very open and go curriculum all things considered.

In fact, at times, the Guide even provides parents with an exact dialog they can follow and contains sections that are written to the parent and provide a general overview of the math concept in question.

As Math With Confidence does use a lot of activities, one thing we liked is the fact that, in addition to providing background information on math concepts, the Instructor’s Guide spends time explaining the rules of games that parents may not be familiar with.

In addition, it also provides a variety of diagrams and drawings, which can make hands-on teaching easier and more intuitive compared to being presented with simple paragraphs of text.

Consequently, we feel Math With Confidence can be an excellent resource for parents who aren’t very mathy themselves, who are new to teaching math or who are new to homeschooling altogether.

One thing that parents should be aware of, however, is that, although the lessons are short, it is a curriculum that demands a fair amount of attention and interaction from parents with regards to the student.

During lessons parents are expected to lead discussions, oversee learning, present information, answer questions and even participate in the hands-on learning activities, so it is a little more intensive in terms of parental participation than other math curricula might be.

Finally, although Math With Confidence is a very open and go curriculum as far as actual teaching is concerned, lessons do involve a variety of activities that often use a diversity of household goods.

As a result, while perhaps not required, parents will benefit from spending a little time gathering and gathering their materials for each lesson the night before.

## Pros And Cons

### Pros

### Affordable curriculum

With bundles of Instructor’s Guides and Workbooks coming in at well under $50, and making use of commonly found manipulatives and household items, Math With Confidence is surprisingly affordable as a math curriculum and should fit most families’ budgets.

### Hands-on, multisensory learning

In addition to providing direct explanations and demonstrations of math concepts, Math With Confidence teaches using a lot of hands-on activities and games that help make the curriculum very tactile and multisensory, which can suit a greater variety of learning styles.

### Simple, approachable explanations of math

Math With Confidence provides students and parents with clear, step by step explanations of math concepts, which can help them better understand why the math is working the way it is, which in turn creates a deeper understanding of math and its problems.

### Easy, Open and Go Curriculum

Math With Confidence is a well-scripted, open and go curriculum whose Instructor’s Guides provide enough detail and instruction to allow even novice homeschooling parents to use them without any real prep time or prior experience with teaching.

### Mastery that integrates continual review

We feel that Math With Confidence is a mastery program, which means students can really take their time and dive deeply into a single math topic at a time until they reach a level of proficiency and comfort with it.

Unlike some other mastery programs, however, Math With Confidence also integrates spiral review into its program, revisiting and practicing previously learned concepts periodically throughout the course so that student’s won’t forget concepts or lose their skill fluency when solving particular problems.

### Balances conceptual learning and practical skill development

While Math With Confidence does focus a good deal on helping students better understand the concepts behind math, it also provides a good deal of practice in each unit.

The program includes an assortment of practical problems to solve, mental math practice and math fact memorization, all of which help students develop and hone the skills they need to solve math problems quickly and accurately.

### Literature-based learning component

In addition to its hands-on learning, Math With Confidence also includes enrichment lessons that make use of picture and living books to help students explore math concepts in a more enjoyable, literature-rich manner.

This not only allows students to approach math from a slightly different angle, it also helps them develop their literacy skills in tandem with their math development and makes the program a great addition to Charlotte Mason and other literature-rich homeschool philosophies.

### Cons

### Not all grade levels are yet offered

Although intended to be a K-6 program, at the moment Math With Confidence is only offered for a select number of grades.

### Activities require certain items that aren’t included

Although a lot of fun and highly engaging, Math With Confidence makes use of various activities and games that will require parents to buy and use additional resources, such as manipulatives and various household items.

With the help of the lesson plans and their materials list, parents will also have to organize and arrange these before each lesson.

### Enrichment activities may entail purchasing additional books

Similarly, parents who want to make use of the enrichment lessons and their literature component will have to find and purchase various books from the book list, which is an extra cost.

## Who Is Math With Confidence Ideal For?

### Students who learn best with hands-on, multisensory and tactile learning

With its various hands-on games and activities, parental discussions and colorful workbook activities, Math With Confidence is a very multisensory program that can serve a wide variety of students with different learning styles, particularly those who prefer to learn in a more tactile, kinesthetic manner.

### Students who don’t enjoy or do well with traditional approaches to teaching math

Math With Confidence can be a great curriculum for students who don’t do so well sitting and listening to top-down math instruction and for those who might enjoy a highly interactive, get up and go curriculum.

### Students who have a hard time with longer math lessons

Math With Confidence deliberately keeps its lessons short – usually between 20-30 minutes at the K-1 level – which can be great for younger students who have a hard time sitting and concentrating for long periods of time.

### Parents who are new to homeschooling or who aren’t confident about their own abilities to teach math

With its highly scripted, open and go lesson plans that both explain math concepts and activity rules to the parent, Math With Confidence guides parents through lessons and requires very little previous knowledge, experience or preparation.

This makes it very easy for novice homeschoolers and those who aren’t very comfortable with their math skills to teach their students with the program.

### Students and parents who like delving into a single topic and exploring it deeply

Some students feel rushed by spiral math curricula, becoming frustrated by the way that these programs tend to introduce a small portion of a topic, moving on to another topic and then revisiting the first in greater depth at some other time.

Students using Math With Confidence spend a considerable amount of time (several weeks) learning units of math that are centered around a main math concept.

This allows them to spend more time and dive deeper into these math concepts, exploring them fully and allowing them to take their time to develop proficiency before moving on.

### Parents who aren’t sure if they will continue homeschooling in the future

Although it follows its own scope and sequence, Math With Confidence is about on grade level with most traditional schools.

As a result, should a parent want or need to enroll their students into a public or traditional school, there should be no problem (at least in math).

### Parents and students who are looking for a fun curriculum full of activities and games

For some parents, and their students, math learning can feel like a chore with its emphasis on lecturing, drill and review.

Math With Confidence eschews the traditional whiteboard model in favor of engaging and even fun activities and games that students and parents play to explore and learn various concepts in math, which can make math lessons a little less boring for all involved.

### Parents looking for an affordable K-6 math program

At less than $50 per grade for its books, Math With Confidence is a very affordable math curriculum that can fit within a variety of homeschool budgets.

## Who Is Math With Confidence Not Ideal For?

### Parents and students looking for a very advanced math program

Although the math learning is solid and it does offer enrichment lessons, Math With Confidence is a middle of the road math program that is about on grade level with traditional schools.

As such, parents of exceptionally gifted students in math may wish to seek a more intensive, advanced program in math, such as Beast Academy.

### Students who get bored staying with one topic for several weeks

Some students enjoy delving into particular math topics in depth for several weeks, finding that it allows them to get a deeper understanding of the material.

Others, however, get bored with mastery approach programs and much prefer rotating through new topics and revisiting older ones as they go along.

These students may become a little bored with Math With Confidence’s unit/mastery approach over time.

### Students who prefer a more straightforward, to the point approach to teaching

Not every student is a fan of learning with hands-on activities. Some prefer being taught in a more formal and direct manner and allowed to proceed to practice and may not appreciate Math With Confidence’s approach to teaching.

### Parents looking for a common core math program

Although Math With Confidence meets or exceeds the standards laid out in a common core math program, it follows its own scope and sequence and does not cover or introduce topics in the same order as a standards-aligned program.

## Price

*Note: Prices correct as of writing, all prices in USD.*

Math With Confidence is fairly lightweight as far as math curricula go, and only really requires parents to purchase an Instructor’s Guide and a Student Workbook.

It does require the use of manipulatives, although there is no real specific kit for this program, and does make use of various household items, a list of which is handily provided in the back of each Instructor’s Guide.

Parents should note that the full range of the book series has not been rolled out yet, and the exact price for each book varies a little between online retailers.

That said, as a rough guide, parents can expect to **pay about $32.95 for the Instructor’s Guide and $18.95 for the Student Workbook for each grade**.

That said, it is always a good idea to check for the latest prices and any discounts that might be available for the series.

## Is It Worth The Price

Overall, in terms of price, Math With Confidence is a fairly affordable math curriculum.

That said, although it is fairly affordable, it also offers a good deal of value to parents.

Its teaching method, which is largely done with clear explanations and lots of hands-on activities and games, is very multisensory, engaging and fun for students, helping them learn math and get a solid understanding of its concepts without becoming too bored in the process.

Unlike some other curricula out there, it also offers students a solid mix of conceptual learning, where students learn the reasoning behind math, as well as a good deal of spiral review and practice, which helps them develop stronger practical math skills.

Finally, Math With Confidence makes it very easy for parents to teach math to their students. It’s clear, step by step lesson plans are highly detailed and information-rich, making them highly usable even by parents who are uncertain of their own math ability or who have never taught math or homeschooled before.

## Bottom Line

Math isn’t the easiest subject for homeschools to teach, particularly when it comes to younger students.

Yet, it is at the K-6 level where students build a solid foundation in and comfort with the subject that can help them succeed in higher grades and, later on, with other STEM subjects.

With its clear explanations, spiral review component, and its hands-on, activity-based approach to teaching math, Math With Confidence can help students develop a solid understanding of math concepts and applications, while making the subject a bit more approachable and even enjoyable…for all involved.

**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.