I've been on the search for the perfect home school math curriculum. You know what? After this many years I've discovered there is no such thing. Some are better than others but the "perfect" curriculum is the one that teaches your boy!
Each curriculum has its own strong points and there are differing methods of instruction. Your job is to figure out what works for YOUR boy. And be warned... if you have more than one boy, each may learn better with a different approach.
Home school math curriculum seem to be formatted in two different ways. Some are what is called spiral... some are mastery learning.
Mastery textbooks will focus on one subject at a time until it is mastered, then go on to another subject. For example an entire chapter may be focused on fractions and nothing else. When that chapter is finished the next chapter may be on division.
Spiral learning means that the book reviews constantly what has already been taught. Adding information gradually and going over previous lessons with each lesson. So one lesson will be on fractions. The lesson is taught and practiced and then a set of problems is also done that review subjects taught previously. The next lesson may introduce division. Division problems are practiced and a few fraction problems added as well.
My personal preference is a spiral approach. But I've read enough folks who say that their child really needs to focus on ONE thing until they get it. This type of child will get confused when too many different topics are in a single lesson.
I don't know that one way is better than another... just different.
My personal favorites are saxon math for elementary through pre-algebra.
At that point my personal weakness at math shines through! I've realized that I need more than just an answer key. If you like me are weak in certain academic areas, don't beat yourself up. Just recognize it and do what is needed for your children.
In our case my first son had a family friend tutor him. For my next two boys the tutor was not available. For them the solution was to get a program with lectures and complete answer keys that solve step by step ALL problems. It works for us.
Teaching Textbooks has fit the bill very nicely for us for highschool math.
We have just recently discovered an online math program. Aleks Math. This online program has math available for the little guys through college levels. We have only used it for upper levels, one of my teens is doing college statistics with great success. (he is so beyond me!)
Saxon - some folks love it.... some don't. It works well for us.
Teaching Textbooks - This is the math curriculum that saved our high school math classes. Lectures on CD. Complete answers with each and every problem worked out step by step. It saved the sanity of this math challenged mom, and my boys have done well with this program.
Switched on Schoolhouse Math - I'm not a huge fan of doing an entire school program on the computer. I think kids need time away from the screen with real live paper books and actual pencil writing. However this math program was given to us and at the request (read begging) of one of my sons, he tried it for the year.
It worked well for him! Students know immediately if they get a problem incorrect. That immediate feedback was very good for my son. It also saves mom from needing to grade each lesson. You still need to be available to help when needed but it is mostly independently done.
Aleks - This program has online math for all grade levels from first grade through highschool and even some college level math. It has served one of my sons well. He is just finishing up college statistics and will get college credit for this class. My other high schooler is looking forward to doing Algebra 2 with Aleks next year. I've not tested out the lower levels but it might just fit the bill for your guy.
Time for Learning- This is another popular online math curriculum. I have not personally used it but I've heard good things about it.What home school math curriculum has worked well for your family? Share a curriculum review and help other moms make informed decisions. Submit your homeschool curriculum reviews here.