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I'm considering a change in math. We're currently using Horizons 1 and Singapore 1A with my 6 yo K/1-er-we used Horizons K last year. The pace of Horizons has become a little overwhelming for ds (and I don't feel like he's truly learning the concepts), so I think we're going to focus on Singapore for a little while-but I feel like Singapore by itself might not be "enough". I'm looking at MUS, and while I like it, I'm not totally convinced-it seems kind of expensive, and (after watching portions of the primer video that someone lent me-although I'd be doing alpha with ds) some of the memorization tricks seem forced.

 

So I'm curious what else is out there that people have really, really liked. I'd love to hear what people have found effective in really helping their kids learn math.

 

What is the best math you have used?

Thanks in advance,

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I agree with Jessica--some people love one thing, some hate the very same thing!

 

I happen to love the early Saxon math. If you have done Horizons 1, you can go into Saxon 2 or even 3--it starts very gently. There's a placement test on the Sonlight site. But even NOT using it a year ahead (I did, and many do, because it's so gentle) will get your kid to Calculus by 12th grade. I just find it cleverly done, thorough, interesting, and helpful (it's scripted). Some find it tedious and boring--it's not colorful on the workbook page, but the activities often use colorful pattern blocks and other materials (you play store, you use counters, etc.). My dd knew all her math facts (+,-, X and div) by the end of Saxon 3, as well as basic squares and square roots (and understood them), beginning work with the coordinate plane, and many other concepts. She could tackle a word problem, and felt very confident in math. YMMV, of course! Adding in some work in Singapore would be wonderful, but Saxon is a lot on its own.

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I agree with Jessica--some people love one thing, some hate the very same thing!

 

I happen to love the early Saxon math. If you have done Horizons 1, you can go into Saxon 2 or even 3--it starts very gently. There's a placement test on the Sonlight site. But even NOT using it a year ahead (I did, and many do, because it's so gentle) will get your kid to Calculus by 12th grade. I just find it cleverly done, thorough, interesting, and helpful (it's scripted). Some find it tedious and boring--it's not colorful on the workbook page, but the activities often use colorful pattern blocks and other materials (you play store, you use counters, etc.). My dd knew all her math facts (+,-, X and div) by the end of Saxon 3, as well as basic squares and square roots (and understood them), beginning work with the coordinate plane, and many other concepts. She could tackle a word problem, and felt very confident in math. YMMV, of course! Adding in some work in Singapore would be wonderful, but Saxon is a lot on its own.

 

:iagree: I used Saxon 1, then changed to Horizons 1 (for 2 weeks), and holy smolly, I'll never give up on Saxon again, for everythinig Chris said. My DS knows all his math facts inside and out. And the clincher for me is that it is totally scripted, providing me with a way to teach him concepts like a pro. I have confidence that I'm not leaving anything out. He understands math. And doing well.

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Funny Jessica, I was just at that site! It was very helpful in giving me ideas.

 

I do know that what someone else likes I might not-last year we really liked Horizons-but I think now some of my problem with it is the lack of teaching suggestions with Horizons-and that the amount of work has begun to feel onerous to us.

 

What I'm looking for is something that doesn't "kill with drill". I'm not exactly looking for something "fun", but I would like something that has varied kinds of activites, and incorporates some fun. But at the same time, I want something with content, something somewhat rigorous. Rigorous but gentle. Does that make sense?

 

I think that's why I just want to hear about people's experiences with the math programs they liked-I'd love to hear the pros and cons of different programs.

 

Thanks,

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For K-3 we highly prefer Abeka. For 4th and up, we are finding that Saxon is working wonderfully (and I do have a child whom struggles horribly w/math).

 

We have tried Rod and Staff, Singapore, and BJU. I also looked extensively at MUS. MUS wouldn't work in my home, and the other 3 didn't work for any of my kids.

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And I've also realized that I rejected Saxon out of hand as "not for us" just based on things I've heard about it. But Katherine, I think I need to take another look at it (really, a first look, because I never even considered it before), because it kind of sounds like what I might be looking for-less hands-on than MUS or RS but more hands-on than Horizons....

 

Thanks!

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We've tried Abeka, Saxon, and Math-U-See. I love, love CLE math. It has lots of built-in review and it's a workbook format, rather than copying problems. We will use it until we get to Algebra. Their Algebra and other upper levels are not as rigorous as I'd like.

Edited by Rhonda in TX
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I like the Saxon-Singapore combination. With Saxon you get the constant review of concepts and all the stuff that Singapore doesn't cover. With Singapore you get more challenging problems and an excellent presentation of concepts.

 

The downside of this combination is that it is a lot of work!

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Up until April of this year I was using Singapore Math with my dd (7). We had gotten to book 2A, but I was getting apprehensive about whether my dd was actually "getting" it.

 

A fellow AO user directed me to MEP. I saw a difference in my dd immediately. She used to consider math a chore, but with MEP she actually enjoys our lessons.

 

I decided to start at the beginning of the program, Yr 1A, and we are currently in Yr 1B. I have noticed that my dd is much more comfortable with numbers and that she is growing along with the program as opposed to being above or beneath-level. It's a good fit.

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I agree with Jessica. Look at all the reviews by parents that are out there to match up your needs with the curriculum.

 

We picked Rod and Staff because there were only 3 negative reviews about it. The rest were positive. I felt that that meant that most kids were able to use it, regardless of their learning styles, personality, etc.

 

For all the other math programs there were about 2/3 positive reviews and 1/3 negative-that meant, to me, that the program only worked for certain types of kids.

 

We've only been using R&S math since June but so far we love it. I absolutely feel my ds is very solidly learning his math. Very solid.

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What is the best math you have used?

 

Best was Singapore, worst was Saxon. My visual-spatial 12 yo loves Life of Fred. With both Singapore, we add math fact drill (which they do in Singapore, too), and with LOF Fractions, I've added some extra practice.

 

If you're worried Singapore isn't enough - my oldest used SM exclusively for grades 3-7 and has always scored in the high 90's on the math sections of standardized tests. She went back to public school this year and currently has a 104% average in her Algebra class. Her Algebra teacher has even emailed me to comment on her strong math abilities.

Edited by LizzyBee
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If you like Singapore but are just worried it's not "enough" alone, we've used it straight on through from Earlybird through now 5A, and we'll continue through 6B.

 

I did use lots of manipulatives when they were younger, and I have the RightStart abacus book (much cheaper than the whole curriculum), and we've used other supplements like Math Detecitve and Math Mosaics, but have never felt like we needed a whole 'nother curriculum.

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We are new to classical homeschool....new to real homeschool period! We have been playing around with hs forever, but now we are in it "for real!" We have tried Math U See and RightStart, and the only thing that I can say about them is that THEY DID NOT WORK FOR US! We struggled with the abstract concepts. My boys are concrete little men and they just weren't getting the connections. I just ordered Saxon, which I think will be better. We needed to soak up the information, know it backwards and forwards before we begin to draw BIG connections. Does that make sense?

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Well I just dropped Horizons 3 for Math on the Level b/c it incorporates everything I want: manipulatives, real life application and we can use the program in both a mastery and spiral approach at the same time. We have used Horizons 1-2 fully and 3 up to lesson 34 and I decided to try something else for the same reasons you stated.

 

I'm getting to the point that I don't want to suggest anything unless the person knows what elements they want, otherwise I think suggestions are just thrown out and the popular opinion may win although that may not be what's best for the person. I suggest picking 3 programs that are attractive to you and compare them.

Which one(s) will you feel the need to supplement? Which one do you feel the most comfortable with teaching? Don't forget to print any samples out and let your child help with the decision! Most programs have sample pages.

 

Wishing you the best,

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I don't agree that Singapore would not be enough. It does pack a punch.
I agree, and I wouldn't base my opinion of the program on the 1A/1B; Singapore starts off in a very gentle way. If you're not using the Home Instructor's Guides already, I'd suggest looking into getting them. Most of the material is designed to be used before looking at the the textbook lesson. They contain schedules, activities, mental math exercises, and games.
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Well everyone has an opinion ;) so what are you looking for? What elements do you want in a math program? That will help you narrow down the choices. Look at www.homeschoolmath.net for curricula reviews on math programs, as well as homeschoolreviews.com, cathyduffyreviews.com.

 

:iagree: I totally agree with Jessica. Not only are you looking for a math program that fits the needs of you childrens' individual learning styles, you also need to have a math program that fits your needs as a teacher.

 

I am using Singapore math with my oldest and Horizons K for my Ker. In considering a switch for my oldest to Horizons, I borrowed the IG and found myself *very* thankful for Singapore's way of teaching me how to teach my son math. I purchased an Extra Practice book to help fill in for concepts my ds might need extra practice with.

 

I can't even begin to tell you how valuable the HIG are. However, there are lots of SM users on the boards that will disagree with me, and that is OK -- it is a resource that I find handy to have if my ds is not not clicking with my own explanation of the new concept. And, there are lots of extra drill practice sheets and game suggestions to help in mastery of a concept.

 

If you don't yet have this resource in your home library, I highly recommend Kathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. The beginning section is IMHO invaluable for beginning and seasoned homeschoolers as she has inventories to help you identify both teacher and student learning styles. Then she attempts to match the top picks to those different styles.

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... different programs will connect for different people. Just my opinion, but especially in those early years, I think it is important to see math from more than one viewpoint, so we have always used a spine, plus either a supplement program or supplemental short booklets with matching manipulatives. That might also be something to consider is not switching math programs, but just augmenting what you're already using.

 

Below is what we've used and what worked or didn't work for us about it. Hope something here is of help! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

Miquon

Depending on the child, we used Miquon as a main math program (gr. 1-3) , and as supplement (gr. 3-4). Miquon was a great fit for our math minded son. For our math struggler, it was just "okay" -- but was definitely the best of anything we tried for him up until 5th grade.

 

Miquon

- can be used K-4th grade

- flexible: can be used as spiral or mastery program

- discovery style of learning

- short and simple (use as much or as little in a day as you want)

- an open and go program

- slightly colorful (colored rods; single color of ink on workbook page)

- not overwhelming -- not too many problems on a page

- manipulatives: cuisenaire rods

- non-traditional style can take time to adjust to; traditional students/teachers may not connect with this program

 

 

Singapore Primary

Worked very well for our math-minded child. Math struggler child crashed and burned with this one in those early elementary years. Later on, in 6th-8th grades, he very successfully used the Singapore 4A/B, 5A/B, 6A/B workbooks as supplement.

 

- K-6th grade (program changes for middle/high school levels and becomes NEM -- New Elementary Math)

- mastery program

- excellent at teaching mathematical thinking and problem solving

- clean, simple layout of pages in B&W, with occasional second ink color

- not overwhelming -- not too many problems on a page

- workbooks throughout

- can move too fast for some children

 

 

Math-U-See

We discovered this for our math struggler in 5th grade. We started him with the old MUS "Intermediate" program (covers grade 4, 5, 6 topics) in 5th grade; in 6th grade we backed up for more review and he did the new MUS levels Delta and Epsilon, plus Singapore as supplement; in 7th grade he did new MUS level Zeta, plus Singapore as supplement; and in 8th grade he did new MUS level pre-Algebra, plus Singapore as supplement, along with some "Keys to Decimals" and "Keys to Percents" workbooks.

 

- K-12th grade

- mastery program, with some built in review

- very visual program with both manipulatives and teaching videos

- short teaching video for every lesson

- manipulatives: rods

- very gentle, incremental program; excellent at explaining the "why" of math concepts

- not overwhelming -- B&W; not too many problems on a page; not busy looking

- workbooks throughout

- can adjust the pace to fit your student

- difficult to move forward if your student gets "stuck" on a concept

 

 

Saxon

Math minded child used parts of Saxon 54, 65, 76 and Algebra 1/2 as supplements to Singapore. He found Saxon somewhat frustrating due to the way they break down a concept into too many tiny chunks and then spread them out too far apart between lessons, and due to too much review (once he gets a concept, he's ready to move on, not drill and kill). We ended up having to adapt Saxon for him by reading 3-4 lessons in one day to cover the entire topic, and then I just had him do a few problems to practice. Also, I felt the higher the Saxon level, the more abstract the explanations became -- the MUS explanations really show you the "why" things work, while the Singapore really teaches mathematical thinking in problem solving. Younger son used Saxon 3 in 4th grade and was overwhelmed by the worksheets: too much variety, too many problems.

 

- K-12th grade

- spiral program, with much review

- manipulatives: many items for the 3rd grade program

- teacher intensive and long lessons in the early years

- thorough; covers all math topics

- familiarity for testing; most national tests are worded and laid out in a similar style to Saxon

- incremental steps are helpful for some students, while others students are frustrated that the incremental steps are spread too far apart (ex: step 1 of a process shown in one lesson; step 2 not shown until two to ten lessons later)

- can be overwhelming -- B&W; lots on a page; many topics covered on one page

- workbooks up through 3rd grade; textbook with student writing out the problems starting in 4th grade

- becomes increasingly abstract in presentation/instruction after 3rd grade

- relies more on formula memorization rather than mathematical thinking in the higher grade levels

 

 

Other Supplements

We found all of these enjoyable, and a good "break" or supplement to spine math:

- The Complete Book of Math (gr. 1-2) (gr. 3-4)

- Math Discoveries with Pattern Blocks

- Math Discoveries with Geoboards

- Cusienaire Rod books

- Dot Paper Geometry

- Geometry and Fractions with Tangrams

- Mathlink Cubes Activity Book

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I started off with Saxon K... brought my oldest to tears (not because it was too difficult, but because of the seemingly endless repetition). Some children thrive with this program, others do not.

 

We moved to Singapore Earlybird & went through book 3B. Singapore was just what we needed K-3rd, but I wasn't doing very well with it towards the end. Again, this was MY issue, not Singapore.

 

We've been using Sadlier-Oxford for my oldest since 4th, through K12 and both of us are much happier. It's more of a mastery approach than the incremental/spiral of Saxon and Abeka --a system in which at least two of my children seem to thrive.

 

With the middle two children, we started off with Abeka workbooks. That was fine for my dd until about 1/3 of the way through Book 2, at which point the method became very tedious for her, we switched her immediately to the Sadlier-Oxford book 3, and she's been blossoming.

 

My Ker, I'm hoping he'll be fine through Abeka 2 or 3 (because it will be MUCH easier for me), but if not, I'm tempted to try chalkdust (Math Matters) 3 with him -- only because I don't want to sign him up for K12 for just one course (since he's doing the history, etc. with his older sister).

 

I'm toying with trying RightStart Math with the next two girls... I have 2+ years before that happens, so I guess we'll see how we're doing at that point in time. Although, if she starts "demanding" to do school work before I'm ready to teach her, I'm 99% sure I'll head back to the Abeka workbooks because they are just so easy for me to implement.

 

Our plan is to complete Pre-Algebra B with K12, and then have the children move into Chalkdust Math Algebra 1, and following courses.

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The pace of Horizons has become a little overwhelming for ds (and I don't feel like he's truly learning the concepts)...

 

This is exactly why we switched to MUS. (Although we used another traditional text.) My eldest ds could not master a concept before the next was being introduced. We actually used MUS for both ds's one year and when they started saying how "easy" it was I became concerned it wasn't rigourous enough. So, we switched back to a traditional text and I was quickly reminded of the need my guys have for mastery. We are back to MUS and math is no longer a stressfull subject in our home.

 

As for the instruction from Mr. Demme, it has been a Godsend for us. Both boys have done well with his explanations. There have been very few times that I have had them watch it over, but when that's necessary it does the job. (And fwiw, I watch it with them.) I also like that they watch it on Monday and the rest of the week the concept is cemented through the exercises but with plenty of review. Also, if someone else hasn't mentioned or you haven't already viewed them, they have excellent video samples on the site.

 

I have to admit that the unconventional sequence was something I had to get over. Once I did, I realized that this is the math they both needed. We are happy again with math and there are no tears!! Now, when they say it's "easy" I just smile because I know they understand the concept and will master it. :)

 

All that being said, I agree with the other ladies. You have to find what fits your and your children's needs.

 

hth,

Edited by angela&4boys
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We switched to Right Start after struggling with the pace of R&S - RS has by far been the best fit for us; I tried a couple of others and they all had more drawbacks than positives in my experience. I do have a visual-spatial learner, though, so it may not work as well with one who is auditory.

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And I'll just add:

- our math-minded student is an Auditory-Sequential learner (intakes info best auditorily, and processes that info sequentially/abstractly/parts-to-whole)

- our math struggler student is a Visual-Spatial learner (intakes info best visually/somewhat hands-on, and processes that info globally/concretely/big picture-to-parts)

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I especially recommend Right Start when you can start from the beginning (or close to it). We were lucky enough to discover it the spring before first grade. We started with "B" and are now a good way through "E." It is extremely thorough, and ds has not forgotten anything he has learned so far.

 

"For the Boys" says that Right Start was too abstract for her boys. I can't tell how old her boys are, but in Right Start "B" there is no such thing. The only thing I can think of is that she didn't have an abacus? There is nothing abstract about Right Start math in the lower levels. My son still "sees" his math facts by visualizing the abacus rather than memorizing them. He did have to memorize the multiplication facts, because you can't "see" them as easily on an abacus.

 

Good luck with whatever you choose! Be sure to read the statement of philosophy on the Right Start website. At least I hope it's there.

 

Julie

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If you don't yet have this resource in your home library, I highly recommend Kathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. The beginning section is IMHO invaluable for beginning and seasoned homeschoolers as she has inventories to help you identify both teacher and student learning styles. Then she attempts to match the top picks to those different styles.

 

:iagree:

 

Math is one of those subjects where there is no one "best" curriculum, just what's best at meeting the needs of the individual student and his/her parent educator.

 

However, I do highly recommend the Right Start Math Card Games set as a supplement to whatever curriculum you decide to go with. It's a bit pricey but can be used throughout the elementary years so you'll really get your money's worth.

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We love Right Start! I love the "base 10" approach and playing games to cement learning. Works great for my wiggle worm boys!

 

I also have ds7 doing the Singapore Challenging Word Problems.

 

In fact, I stared ds7 out in Saxon 1 and then switched to RS level B a little through mid year last year. Due to circumstances, we are just now a little over half way through Level B this year. I started ds5 on Level A this year and will be finished with it real soon...he just "gets it"! I have a feeling he will be catching up to ds 7 quickly!

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I'm considering a change in math. We're currently using Horizons 1 and Singapore 1A with my 6 yo K/1-er-we used Horizons K last year. The pace of Horizons has become a little overwhelming for ds (and I don't feel like he's truly learning the concepts), so I think we're going to focus on Singapore for a little while-but I feel like Singapore by itself might not be "enough". I'm looking at MUS, and while I like it, I'm not totally convinced-it seems kind of expensive, and (after watching portions of the primer video that someone lent me-although I'd be doing alpha with ds) some of the memorization tricks seem forced.

 

So I'm curious what else is out there that people have really, really liked. I'd love to hear what people have found effective in really helping their kids learn math.

 

What is the best math you have used?

Thanks in advance,

 

 

We started the year using RightStart. I really think I could have made it work and I love that children get a true understanding of math and how to apply it. However at the time it didn't work for us. I think that is partly do to the fact that I am math phobic. I always did good in math...but I am still paranoid about teaching it.

 

We switched to Math U See and all our children are doing great...even our eight year old that has autism. I do not make them watch the DVD. I watch it for me...it helps me understand the concept to teach it. All my kids are doing great right now with MUS...and it really helps me as a parent understand the concepts to teach them. At the moment I would hate to think of teaching math without Math U See....but RightStart would be a very close second.

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:iagree: I totally agree with Jessica. Not only are you looking for a math program that fits the needs of you childrens' individual learning styles, you also need to have a math program that fits your needs as a teacher.

 

:iagree:

 

So true. This is the reason I did not pick Singapore, even though it seems very attractive, well done and people seem to have good results with it. However, I feel I need more direction, examples.. not enough for me. These are the four programs I come back to over and over again in my research:

 

MCP (Modern Curriculum Press)

Miquon

Power Mathematics/Professor B

Math on the Level

 

I'm using MCP Math right now, and we like it thus far. Solid, not too much for ds, good presentation of facts. Next year I'm adding in Miquon to alternate with MCP. If something is not working for us, I have back-ups: Power Mathematics and Math on the Level.

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MCP math, though I'm only using it as a supplement for drills right now. We're using Horizons right now for a faster paced mian program.

 

We definitely would not have been able to just jump into Horizons 3 and Horizons 1 without the solid facts and place value background MCP has given us. Plus, I love the MCP TM's and use them for guidelines with Horizons, which has pointless TM's imo.

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I have used MUS Primer, Alpha, Beta, and currently using Gamma. It is very easy to use, my son seems to have a good understanding of all the concepts so far. We have had to add Flashmaster for drill, as that is not built into the worksheets.

 

-Amie

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We have used many different programs, trying to find the "Just Right" program.

Making Math Meaningful, Singapore, MUS, Bob Jones, Teaching Textbooks, and Saxon.

 

My kiddos are in Jr. High now and at the moment we are using Saxon (one kid) and Teaching Textbooks(the other kid).

 

I can honestly say I love Saxon, and I never-ever wanted to use this program!!!:ack2: We will only be using Saxon when dc is done with TT.

 

Math isn't that exciting, and I think the majority of kids don't like it, but this program gets the job done

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Rod & Staff 1-3 (drill as needed). After the kids learn their math facts, we go on to Keys to Fraction, Decimals and Percents. My now 7th grader went through the entire SM and has a very good grasp of math. She's now doing Dolciani's Algebra.

 

My 4th grader is in SM4A and doing Keys to Fractions. My first grader is finished with 1B and doing Intensive Practice 1B. I do add in IP half year behind SM. It is slow going with SM until the kids learn their math facts so patience helps. So far the SM + R&S/Keys to combo has worked well for our family.

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What is the best math you have used?

Thanks in advance,

 

Right Start taught my kids very well. I was a little concerned when we were using it because it seemed like it wasn't enough written work, although that increased as the child matured. But it WAS enough - my dd sailed into Singapore 5 & Life of Fred, and my son moved easily into CLE.

 

Both kids are now using CLE; my dd hated Singapore in 1st grade and hated it again in 5th. It's not too hard for her, she just doesn't like it. So now she's happy with a CLE/LOF combo. No more tears and whining - both kids have done math with no complaints when using RS & CLE. And that makes for a happy mom! :hurray:

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I started with Ray's but it didn't work for me or dd, I found RightStart and LOVE it. I have used it for Level B,C, and D, and now I have started Level A with ds. It has been easy, fun, and effective to use.

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I'm considering a change in math. We're currently using Horizons 1 and Singapore 1A with my 6 yo K/1-er-we used Horizons K last year. The pace of Horizons has become a little overwhelming for ds (and I don't feel like he's truly learning the concepts), so I think we're going to focus on Singapore for a little while-but I feel like Singapore by itself might not be "enough". I'm looking at MUS, and while I like it, I'm not totally convinced-it seems kind of expensive, and (after watching portions of the primer video that someone lent me-although I'd be doing alpha with ds) some of the memorization tricks seem forced.

 

So I'm curious what else is out there that people have really, really liked. I'd love to hear what people have found effective in really helping their kids learn math.

 

What is the best math you have used?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

I enjoy math, so I am sure I could find something to like in each of the programs mentioned here.

 

We have been using both Saxon and Singapore from the start. We have been successful with this combination.

 

I researched both Saxon and Singapore carefully before I chose them.

 

I am comfortable teaching Math, and I think that makes a difference in which path you choose.

 

Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the program(s) you are comparing.

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We did Horizons K at first and I found it to be the same way you describe...overwhelming for my ds and he wasn't learning the concepts. We backed up and did Calvert K math which was a total waste of time. Just finished it up and we are FINALLY doing Singapore EB 2 (standards). I love love love love love Singapore and will use it until I can't use it anymore. Both of my kids are doing GREAT with it.

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Right from the beginning, I realized a spiral approach was not going to work for my ds. He chafes at unneeded practice and identical lessons over and over.

 

We tried Singapore, but like you I wasn't sure it would fit our needs. I thought of combining it with MCP, but found we weren't getting two programs done!

 

We are now doing BJU Math and it seems to balance all the components I find important.

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