The “M-Word” in homeschooling. Math can be the bane of teaching for some home educators. Over the past 17+ years, our family has used an assortment of math curricula:
Miquon (confusing manipulatives)
MCP (straightforward, one topic per chapter, I liked it)
Horizons (moves very fast & spirals a LOT)
Math-U-See (one main topic per year with limited review; solid instruction method lessons on DVD)
BJU (one topic per chapter with limited review)
Teaching Textbooks (spirals a bit but good focus on new topics, built in review, on computer w/tutorials)
Saxon (spirals a lot, dry, some instructions are hard to understand; my kids hated it.)
We always went back to Math-U-See, because we all loved the method and the blocks. This year though, both boys got bogged down in multiplication. They really struggled with it, mainly because it was taking so long to get through, and the topics reviewed were far back in their memories.
I switched D1 over to Teaching Textbooks this spring, using their computer curriculum. He loves it! Not only that, but he is doing really well. It’s not that he couldn’t DO the MUS, but that he was forgetting a lot of other things while focusing strictly on his times tables. Now, he gets a good balance and instant feedback too.
When it comes to math, stick with something as long as it’s working for your kids.
If you have a program like BJU or MCP, where there is good topic coverage but the amount of work is too much, cut down the # of problems they do each day by having them do only the evens or only the odds. If they’re understanding it there’s no reason to beat them over the head with it. I would often use a few of the evens to teach the topics and have my kids do the odd problems for practice.
What it boils down to is that there is no perfect math curriculum, just as there are no perfect math students.
Use what works, sell what doesn’t, and use the money to buy something that will.
Be careful about changing programs do your research when it comes to math in particular. Different programs have different scopes and sequences, and your child may land ahead, behind, or on grade level depending on how they do things.
The way MUSee’s program is, D1 is now a year behind, but only because he got so bogged down. That’s okay, we just work with him where he’s at and don’t stress about it too much.