Our Curriculum Choices for Math - Pre/K to High School

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Math has always been a mainstay in our homeschool.....  From playful learning approaches during preschool/K, to challenging courses in Algebra 2 and Geometry in high school, we have always taken a solid, hands-on approach. Sometimes our curriculum included living math, and when it didn't, we added it in.

Here are our favorites for math, starting with preschool/K:

                                                Early Math      

In the early years, we did not use a curriculum, as when you are four, everything is math!  Toys can be counted, towels sorted and put into sets.  Cookie making became a lesson in adding and subtracting, and beads got sorted into patterns as well, as making necklaces.  Also, buttons, shells, rocks, sorted by shape, color, size, what have you.  Even laundry could be sorted into sets. All of this is good early math learning.

Math Play

Our little ones learn best through play.  Basic math concepts, such as counting, sorting, bigger/smaller, same/different, adding, subtracting, etc can all be learned through play with manipulatives. 

 Manipulatives can really be any small object that you have around your house.  Buttons, shells, rocks, etc, can be sorted by shape, color, or size, and grouped into sets. This teaches early math concepts, as they are play!  Even laundry could be sorted into sets, or by size, small, medium and large, such as with towels. 

Making a Manipulative Kit


A full description of it is here.

We also enjoyed some workbooks from Evan-Moor, including...
This book gave us lots of ideas for learning about shapes 

and basic fractions.

We would take one page at a time, with my daughter 

acting out each concept with small toys, cookies, or 

whatever was available at the time. 

Starting with a playful approach, we did not need a math

 curriculum until first grade.  My daughter

 learned to love math, by starting with a 

playful approach.

Early Elementary

Saxon k Title Pic
photo credit - Saxon Math

In the primary grades, we chose to use Saxon Math, as it 

relies on lots of hands-on approaches. Young learners need 

to see, feel, and touch objects, as they learn the processes 

of basic math.  

Amy, of the Curriculum Choice, has a review on Saxon Math 

for Kindergarden.  Saxon Math is available all the way 

through high school.

Upper Elementary

photo credit - Oak Meadow

In fourth grade, we switched to Oak Meadow Math.  It is 

based on Saxon Math, but has a few less practice problems, 

which felt less 

overwhelming to my student.  It is child friendly, and is not 

at all associated with common core.

Oak Meadow Math uses the spiral learning approach, with 

lots of review.  Through this, my daughter gained skills 

that she could apply to real life activities, 

building retention. The Living Math that we added 

included helping with family purchases, making 

change, measuring things at home, etc.

Middle School
Saxon Math 54, 2nd Edition DIVE CD-Rom  -
photo credit - Saxon Math

When we got into pre-Algebra I felt the need to get some 

help with my math teaching.  We found the Saxon Dive 

dvd's and loved how they explained each problems, with a 

chalkboard approach, where the instructor

wrote out each problem as he discussed them.

Saxon Math 54 3rd Edition DIVE CD-Rom
photo credit - Saxon Math

Saxon also has another product called video education. 

sample 5th grade lesson, using this product is here. 

During these years, I also introduced my daughter to 

family finances, and introduced her to checking accounts,

how to balance a checkbook, household bills, and savings 


High School

photo credit - Teaching Textbooks

We began Algebra 1 in 9th grade, and we decided to try 

Teaching Textbooks for that.  I liked how TT offered even 

more dvd help  and we were happy using all their dvd's, 

especially the ones that explained errors in the practice 


Switched-On Schoolhouse Computer Screens
photo credit - www.aop.com

Then in 10th grade, with the ACT testing coming up, we 

decided to switch to Alpha Omega Publication's Switched 

On Schoolhouse.  These were a bit more intense than 

the Teaching Textbook approach.  That helped

with retention, which she needed for her upcoming college

testing. I also loved how SOS was self-graded, and 

included a video lectures for each lesson,  plus lots of 

practice, and some hands-on math projects as well.

Living Math activities in high school centered on...getting 

and managing a savings account, learning about taxes, car 

insurance, and compounding interest, as well as family 


As you can see, we used a wide variety of curriculum for 

math, through the years. What are your favorites for math 

in your house?  I love getting and reading your comments.

Here's my book that I mentioned above  -  Homeschooling High School with College in Mind..   

Heidi, from Starts at Eight says:

"If you are planning on homeschooling high school then Betsy's book is the one that you want to have on the shelf"......click here to read the rest of her review."
Available on Amazon

Have you seen my facebook group called Homeschooling Through High School

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We'd love to have you!

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

Want to stay in touch?  
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Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.


  1. Lots of great math choices. We are hooked on Teaching Textbooks and Life of Fred. Both my current students are in middle school.
    Blessings, Dawn.

    1. Thanks, Dawn, for stopping by! I haven't tried Life of Fred, but I have heard SO many wonderful things about it. Enjoy your middle schoolers, and thanks for your kind comment!

  2. Love your list! I've had to try so many Math curriculums for my kids as they learned differently and had various gaps caused by public school.

    1. Thanks, Nita! Your kids are lucky to have such a great mom, to find ways to fill in those gaps from public school!

  3. We love Saxon math! As a math major who finds it hard to see the point of "new math" I love that it is solidly focused on the essentials!

  4. Me, too, Branson Merrill!! Saxon is so well done, don't you think! NIce of you to stop by and leave a comment...wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!


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