It is common to be intimidated and confused when it comes to choosing the best math curriculum for your children. We want so much for our children to have a solid foundation in math. For many, who do not consider math their strong point, choosing how to build that solid foundation can make you anxious. Thankfully, if we take a step back and take a deep breath, we can choose a math curriculum that works for our families.
However, it is very important to note that if you are not happy with your choice it does not mean you or your child failed. Remember what Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It won’t take you 10,000 tries, I promise, but any time you find something that doesn’t work it is not failure it is a step closer to success.
Let’s explore five steps to help guide you into making this decision.
5 Steps to Choosing a Math Curriculum
- Does it match up with how your child learns?
- Is it mastery or spiral?
- How much teacher prep does it require?
- Does it need supplementation?
- How much does it cost?
Does it match up with how your child learns?
Learning style is a major factor in choosing a math curriculum. Some programs are for visual learners and some for auditory learners. Some children need a hands-on approach which uses manipulatives and blocks while some thrive on flashcards and worksheets. Your child’s learning style trumps any recommendation or trendy program you may encounter. Use your instincts on what you feel will work…you may surprise yourself on how often you are right.
Is it mastery or spiral?
Mastery approach: A math program which focuses on a particular topic for a period of time before moving on to a new topic.
Spiral approach: A math program which has review built into the course and will teach multiple skills at once before any one skill is completely mastered.
You may be asking yourself which is better at this point. The answer isn’t as simple as which is better, but which is better for your child. Yes, math is a very personal thing and even the approach used needs to line up with your child.
However, it is important to know which approach a math program uses. Some children get bored quickly using mastery while others find it a blessing. Some children find a spiral approach moves too fast or they get confused while others thrive on it.
How much teacher prep does it require?
This is very important to the success of any curriculum. Are you willing or able to prep 45 minutes for each math lesson? Are you comfortable enough to become your child’s math teacher and present all the material? Now, even if you are comfortable enough and are willing, do you have the time? How many kids will you be teaching on different levels? It can be difficult to fit in full math lessons for multiple kids on multiple different levels. Pay attention to how much prep is required of you.
Does it need supplementation?
Some math programs will require supplementation. You need to decide if you are able to provide the supplementation or if that is the route you want to go. Supplementation is not always buying another curriculum but it can involve buying extra workbooks or printing off practice pages from the internet.
How much does it cost?
Like the teacher prep question, this is another reality check. You may want the newest or so-called best on the market but can you afford it? Is it worth the money? Your child will not fail in math because you stayed within your budget.
Download this free printable math curriculum comparison worksheet (pdf) to help you choose a math curriculum! Just click the button and follow the prompts:
Have you found your “ideal” math curriculum yet?