My mission is to help you teach math with confidence. I’ve organized my articles by topic to help you zero in on the information you need most. The ones with an asterisk are some of my favorites–I hope you enjoy them, too!
P.S. Not sure where to start? I recommend my Homeschool Math 101 course. It’s a free email course that covers all the fundamentals of teaching elementary math. The ten emails walk you through the all my best articles so you can see how all these concepts work together to help kids become capable and confident in math.
Teaching with Confidence
*What to Do When Your Homeschooler HATES Math
*5 Changes (Easy, Medium, and Hard) That Will Help You Teach Math Consistently
How to Teach Multiple Grade Levels in Math without Losing Your Mind
5 Easy Ways to Prevent Word Problem Panic
*How to Avoid These Common Mental Math Myths
How to Teach an Excellent Homeschool Math Lesson
Videos and Books that Will Help You Teach Math with Confidence
Teaching the Math Facts
*Everything You Need to Know to Teach Your Child the Addition Facts
The Benefits of Teaching Your Child the Addition Facts to 20
A Parent’s Guide to the Most Useful Addition Fact Strategies
Quick, Parent-Friendly (and Free!) Printable Addition Facts Test
Free Printable Addition Games That Make Learning Addition Fun
The Best Addition Facts Practice for Every Learning Style
*Your Complete Guide to Teaching Your Child the Subtraction Facts
Quick, Parent-Friendly (and Free!) Printable Subtraction Facts Test
A Parent’s Guide to the Most Useful Subtraction Fact Strategies
*Multiplication Facts That Stick: How to Teach Your Child the Times Tables
Free & Printable Times Tables Test (Multiplication Facts 1×1 up to 10×10)
Multiplication Strategies That Will Help Your Child Master the Times Tables
3 Fun (and Free!) Printable Multiplication Facts Games
How to Use a Multiplication Array to Help Your Child Master the Times Tables
The Mental Addition Game That’s Really a Multiplication Game (Race to 100, Advanced Version)
Free Printable Multiplication Table (Completed and Blank)
*How to Teach the Division Facts
Free, Printable Division Facts Test (1÷1 up to 100÷10)
Free, Printable Division Facts Chart (Completed and with Missing Dividends)
Preschool and Kindergarten
*4 Essential Math Skills for Preschoolers
“Onetwofreefourfive!” 2 Simple Fixes for Teaching Your Preschooler or Kindergartner to Count Correctly
How Preschoolers Learn to Compare Numbers
Why I “Do Homeschool” with My Preschoolers
*Preschool Math Activity: Fingers Up, Fingers Down
Common Problems and How to Deal with Them
*How to Teach Your Kids to Read Math (and Be More Independent, Too!)
How to Teach Long Division with Monopoly Money (Video)
The Easier Way to Teach Fractions (with Video)
*Race to 100: Place-value Game for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade
Help Your Kids Reach Their Full Potential with a Growth Mindset
10 Practical Ways to Create a Homeschool Math Growth Mindset
Help! My Kid’s Numbers Are Backwards
4 Simple Steps to Prevent Sloppy Mistakes
Choosing a Math Curriculum
*How to Choose Homeschool Math Curriculum
*Why It’s Okay to Switch Math Curriculum
How to Gear Up for the Year in Just 60 Minutes
*Do I Have to Finish the Math Book?
*Should I Supplement My Math Program?
Singapore Math Review (U.S. and Standards editions)
Dimensions Math Review (Singapore Math’s new program)
How to Create Your Own Free Math Manipulative Kit
*6 Things You Need to Know About Math Manipulatives
How to Use (and When to Stop Using) Math Manipulatives (Video)
How to Use the AL Abacus with Any Curriculum (Video)
*The AL Abacus: My Favorite Homeschool Math Manipulative
28 thoughts on “Articles and Reviews”
Firstly, thank you so much for the wealth of knowledge you share on your site, I have felt so encouraged by you.
We have decided to homeschool our son, he will be entering gr2. After reading so many of your helpful articles/comments on your website, I have a few thoughts and questions. My son did A Beka math for gr1 by mid year he had an A in math, he seemed to have solid understanding of addition/subtraction #1-6, we also supplemented with games at home. However the other half of the year we weren’t able to do any supplemental math games/work at home and in turn, he did not continue to progress, with addition/subtraction with the higher 6-9#s or double digits at the end of year, he is a strong reader, but could only do the word problems with the teachers help, he consistently did not progress in coin counting, thermometer reading, measuring, the workbook was using US coins (we are Canadian) and had many distracting illustrations/poems that didn’t always have to do with the work.
I think a program that will offer manipulatives, which he didn’t get with math at school will be very beneficial for him, he loves to tinker. We would like to see him experience and retain a much stronger math foundation in his early years. My husband will do the math with him 4x a week, time is not a concern for us and his Dad is an engineer, he has very strong math knowledge but zero teaching skills and is very anxious about how he will teach math. I was hoping you might suggest a curriculum from your top 5.
I personally have leaned towards Singapore, Math U see and Right Start, but we are having a very hard time choosing between these. I am also considering to start him now for the summer with your supplemental addition and then subtraction series you offer. If you think that is a good idea, then should I wait to have him take the chosen curriculum placement test until after he finishes your addition/subtraction program? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
I love what a strong commitment you have to giving your son a strong math education! If you want a manipulatives-heavy program that provides a lot of guidance for the teacher, I would definitely go with RightStart. Based on what you’re saying, I bet you’ll want to start him in Level B and then work from there, but take a look at the placement test.
Thank you so much Kate 🙂
I don’t know if you remember me, but our kids did HsAP together a few years back. I also organized the Homeschool Spelling Bee that Henry participated in.
The reason that I am contacting you is because I help organize a tutoring program for Rwandan refugee kids. They range from 6 to 16 years old. Last year, we mainly focused on helping with homework, but this year, I’d like to add a little structure to the sessions. Most of them do not have strong math fundamentals, and it is hindering their progress as they continue on. I would like to solidify the fundamentals, and I think I will start with your math facts method. After that, though, I am not sure what best to target. I know you are super busy, so please say no if you are not interested, but I was wondering if I could get your opinion on what areas to focus on. I know how I’d teach them if they were mine, and I had many years. But I feel as if this a different situation.
Thank you very very much!!
Sounds like a wonderful program! Starting with the basic math facts is an excellent plan, since they’re so important for any other math work. (If you’d like to give the students a quick assessment to decide which math facts they should start with, search my site for “test” for printable assessments for each set of math facts.)
After you’ve shored up the facts, I’d suggest looking at the RightStart Math Card Games set. It would give you a ton of options for fun ways to reinforce everything from basic place-value to fractions, decimals, and percents. Games are such a good way to keep kids engaged when they’re tired after school, and the RightStart games are well-sequenced and include just the right amount of instruction for the tutor. (I also wonder if RightStart might be willing to donate some of the card game sets or sell them to you at a discount because it’s a charitable purpose. If you decide that’s the direction you want to go, don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask–their customer service is wonderful.)
Best wishes with this endeavor, Vicki! If I can be of any other assistance, please feel free to send me an email at my Contact form in the top menu.
I would LOVE you critique of higher math…middle and high school. I would also love to know your thoughts on Teaching Textbooks. I have three pulling their hair out (I’m practically bald myself!) using Saxon in 5th and 8th grades. My concern switching is scope and sequence but I also must face the facts of our daily struggle! We now have hired a tutor to help. More $$!
Teaching Textbooks works well for some families, but some find that their child learns to match the instructional patterns without really understanding the math. If you go that route, definitely keep a close eye on your children’s progress and level of understanding, and make sure she’s doing math on paper regularly. You might also take a look at Khan Academy, which offers a similar style of instruction (and for free!)
I can certainly understand your children’s struggles with Saxon. It works well for some kids, but it also makes a lot of kids hate math! I have 2 main concerns with Saxon:
-The number of practice problems is excessive. Some children may benefit from so much practice, but it’s not necessary for many children. The lengthy assignments can make math very stressful for families and cause children to hate math. The long assignments also often cause families to skip more important components( like teaching the new content in depth or doing the mental math exercises) because of the time crunch.
-Saxon textbook’s focus mostly on procedural math (the “how” of math) rather than conceptual (the “why” behind the procedures). This plus the spiral format makes it hard for children to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and can lead to not understanding math very well.
That said, there are certainly families that love Saxon and have found it to be very effective in building students with strong math skills. Some kids do thrive on the huge amount of practice. And, it’s certainly possible to use Saxon and still give kids a solid conceptual understanding, but it takes a lot more effort on the parent’s part to help kids make those connections.
I haven’t done a deep dive into upper-level programs, so I can’t offer a in-depth recommendation. However, I’ve been tutoring older children this year, and here’s the progression that I’m liking best right now:
Pre-algebra: Math Mammoth Grade 7 or Dolciani’s vintage Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course
Algebra: Jacobs (with Master Books solutions and teacher’s guide) or Foerster’s Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1 (available from Memoria Press)
Geometry: Jacobs (with Master Books solutions and teacher’s guide)
Algebra II: Foerster’s Prentice Hall Classics Algebra II
(Both “Ask Dr. Callhan” and Memoria Press have videos to go with these books.)
Hi Kate! I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this, so forgive me if it needs to be moved. 😊😣 I am interested in suggestions for my 7 year old (will be 8 in May) daughter who is in 2nd grade this year. We have finished Singapore 1a but have come to a stand still because she doesn’t have her facts down automatically. She understands one digit addition but cannot recall the facts quickly and still counts on her fingers. She hasn’t done much with double addition as the single digit addition bogs her down. Should I take break from Singapore and just use the Addition Facts that stick book? I really like the idea of Beast Academy but I know she needs to be solid in addition and subtraction before starting 2a. Would RightStart B and C do this? I just started your Addition Facts that Stick book with her but am wondering if I also need to use a full curriculum before switching her to Beast Academy? She is very active and sociable and has focus issues at times with math, but is very strong in reading. She doesn’t seem to do well with traditional math worksheets as she loses focus very quickly. I hope this makes sense and I appreciate any insight you might have!!!
Beast Academy sounds like it could be a good fit for her! I’d suggest doing Addition Facts That Stick and Subtraction Facts That Stick alongside Singapore 1B for the rest of the year. (Say, 15 minutes of math facts, and then 15 minutes of Singapore each day.) That way, she can get her facts down and still move forward with a deeper understanding of place-value and the other concepts included. Once she finishes that, she’d likely be ready to move into Beast Academy 2A.
Do you have any feedback on math in focus series compared to the singapore primary math series.
thanks again for your reviews !
We are absolutely enjoying the “Facts that Stick” series you compiled. Just ordered the final part: division . With four children and one on the way, would you PLEASE consider selling the “worksheets” that are to be completed each day separately??? I’ve gone through and laminated the games, etc. in order to use them with each child. However, being able to purchase those daily “worksheets” would make life much easier :)! (Otherwise, I have to copy them down myself; making copies and storing them year to year just wasn’t feasible with our limited homeschool space.)
So glad you’re enjoying the series! I hear you on not wanting to store too much stuff. 🙂
The worksheets aren’t available separately, but perhaps it would help to buy the pdf and then print each set as you need it? (The pdf is only available at my publisher’s site; here’s the link. )
I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on Rod and Staff math? I also love all of your reviews on math curriculum it is so helpful for a new homeschooling mom.
I don’t have a full review of Rod and Staff, but here’s what I say about it in my Homeschool Math 101 Course:
“…f you feel like a more traditional, procedural program would be the best for your family, consider Rod and Staff Math. Most homeschoolers think of Saxon as the gold standard in procedural math textbooks, but I like Rod and Staff a lot better. Saxon’s jumpy spiral gives me a headache, but Rod and Staff does a beautiful job of teaching each new topic one small increment at a time, with plenty of review and practice. It’s been a fantastic fit for my tutoring students who struggle with math. (However, if you prefer secular textbooks, bear in mind that it’s published by a Mennonite company There are lots of word problems about books of the Bible, missionaries, and hours spent at prayer meeting.)”
I’d also add that Rod and Staff is pretty dry and procedural, but it’s a solid program. I’ve used it with several of my tutoring students, and I’ve found it especially good for kids who struggle because it provides lots of spiral review. I do add some conceptual teaching to help my students connect the dots between concepts and understand them more deeply. If you use it, I strongly suggest adding some manipulatives as you introduce new concepts and making sure to ask questions to help your child understand both the “why” as well as the “how” of each skill.
Hi Kate, do you sell your “preschool Math At Home” book in PDF format? We live in Europe, so it’s quite complicated to import stuff from US, moreover I don’t need the printed version of it, I would rather keep it on my PC. Thank you!
Yes, my publisher sells digital copies directly. You can find it here.
Hope you enjoy it, and happy math!
I am so encouraged by the information you so FREELY share! Thank you thank you thank you! Math has been a subject that overwhelms me. I have never thought I was a “math person” and I was the kids that needed base ten blocks in elementary and was looked down upon because “only slow kids needed to use those”. Amazing how ideas about math have changed ❤️. However, I still lack confidence as an adult and enthusiasm and my kids detest working on math too 😟. We are using Rightstart…which I really like but they act board and disinterested. They hate the warm-ups, they don’t like the repitition. My oldest can’t handle being challenged 😱 because she is very gifted in language arts and a perfectionist. I have recently tried to cut the lessons in half and do more games, which has improved their response to math time. We use AAS & AAR, both which are also parent intensive…so I’m kinda freaking out wondering what to do for next year? Should I keep trying to stick with RSM and move to level C with my oldest? I was considering Math Mammoth but am uncertain since I read in your review that it doesn’t offer parents much support. Any pearls of wisdom?
I am so encouraged by the information you so FREELY share! Thank you thank you thank you! Math has been a subject that overwhelms me. I have never thought I was a “math person” and I was the kids that needed base ten blocks in elementary and was looked down upon because “only slow kids needed to use those”. Amazing how ideas about math have changed ❤️. However, I still lack confidence as an adult and enthusiasm and my kids detest working on math too 😟. We are using Rightstart…which I really like but they act board and disinterested. They hate the warm-ups, they don’t like the repetition. My oldest can’t handle being challenged 😱 because she is very gifted in language arts and a perfectionist. I have recently tried to cut the lessons in half and do more games, which has improved their response to math time. We use AAS & AAR, both which are also parent intensive…so I’m kinda freaking out wondering what to do for next year? Should I keep trying to stick with RSM and move to level C with my oldest? I was considering Math Mammoth but am uncertain since I read in your review that it doesn’t offer parents much support. Any pearls of wisdom?
So glad you find the site encouraging! It sounds like you’re doing a great job overcoming your math anxiety to give your kids a solid foundation.
I hear you on RightStart being parent-intensive! (Especially if you’re combining with AAS and AAR.) It definitely requires more from parents than many other programs, but bear in mind that you’ll really need to be involved in your kids’ math learning no matter what program you pick. Math Mammoth is certainly *less* parent-intensive, but you sure can’t hand it to a young kid and expect that they’ll thrive with it.
I’d say my only pearl of wisdom here is to try to be as strategic as possible in how you allocate your hands-on teaching time . What kind of instruction gives you the most “bang for the buck”? In which subjects do your children really need one-one-one mentoring? Is there any way you can streamline any of the programs? If your kids don’t need all the repetition that RS includes, skip it. Or, since your oldest is gifted in language arts, maybe she doesn’t need both AAS and AAR? Only you can say. 🙂
Wishing you all the best in your teaching, and happy math!
How to help my 7 yo daughter to love again math. She was good at 4 and 5, but now she doesn’t want to do addition or subscription. Like she forgot everything.
Check out this article for some ideas on what to do when your child hates math. I also have some ideas on adding fun and joy to math here.
I so appreciate your deep dive into so many math curriculums and the how-tos for teaching math in the homeschool. We are plunging in to our first year of homeschooling this fall with three kids. A first grader who is mathematic minded but not yet a fluent reader, a sixth grader who was a year-ahead of her public school classmates in math and a seventh grader who struggles with executive functioning issues and though fairly good at arithmetic – he finds problems with multiple steps, and especially words problems indecipherable. With all of that said, if you have recommendations for specific programs to try for each I would welcome them. On first glance I was considering Dimensions for my 1st grader and either Dimensions or Beast Academy for my sixth grader and possibly Math-U-See for my seventh grader. But is it advisable to try three different curriculums all at once? We would also be taking placement tests to ensure we were leveled right in any of the choices. Any insights you can provide are very welcome.
Whether or not to teach multiple programs is a tough call. It’s often simpler for you as the parent to get to know one program well…but it will make your life more complicated to try to use a program with a child for whom it’s a terrible fit. I think you’re right on track with the programs you’re considering. Perhaps use Dimensions for both your first and sixth grader so as to simplify a little? Or, see if Art of Problem Solving has an online class your sixth-grader could take so as to reduce your personal teaching load a little?
I had used and liked standard edition of Singapore math primary mathematics books for my kid till 6th grade. I am not leaning towards Dimension math. From 7th grade I am looking for a curriculum that will help me to teach my struggling 7th grader. Please guide me to a curriculum that is similar to Singapore math primary mathematics.
I came across the ‘Learn Maths Fast System’ by Jk Mergens and was wondering if you’ve reviewed it and what your thoughts are? We’ve been using Singapore Maths for my daughter in grade 3 with mixed results and looking for a curriculum that explains the concepts in a much easier and user-friendly manner.
Would really appreciate your advice.
The Learn Math Fast system is geared more towards older learners who need a fast way to review or learn material. I wouldn’t recommend it for a third grader, since it moves very quickly, doesn’t include much review, and doesn’t include much conceptual instruction. Take a look at my guide to choosing curriculum for links to all my reviews and some other possibilities.
Thank you for all of your amazing content. I’ve been playing the “Subtraction Facts That Stick” games with all three of my kiddos (7, 4 and 3), making modifications for the little ones. They all LOVE the games and beg for more.
My oldest is working through BA2B right now. He was very enthusiastic about Beast Math at the beginning of the school year but hit a snag with regrouping and has been in a funk regarding math ever since. Math was actually his favorite subject in public school and I hate that he’s no longer enjoying it. He’s actually very capable and is ultimately able to do the BA problems correctly but he gets frustrated easily and wants a lot of hand holding. I’m on the fence about whether to continue with BA next year. I love that BA is very open and go but I think my son might benefit from a little more instruction.
I’ve considered Right Start since I know it incorporates a lot of games and he loves your subtraction fact games so much. My only hesitation is that I also have a rising Kindergartener and 3-year-old and I wonder if teaching two levels of Right Start would be too time intensive. I did think about just supplementing BA with Right Start games but I don’t know how well they pair.
I also thought Singapore Math could work but I’ve heard it’s difficult to teach.
Any suggestions? There’s a lot I like about BA but part of the appeal is that it’s somewhat hands-off for the parent. I anticipated that because my son is good at math I could let go of the reins a little and that’s not turning out to be true, at least at this age. Thank you again.
Hi Kate! I’m curious as to which online math curriculum you think would be best for my daughter who is technically behind one year in math due to not finding a good curriculum fit for her last school year. This school year we have been using Math-U-See and it did help her gain confidence in math but it is extremely mastery based which she gets tired of doing the same thing again and again. She loves to practice math on the computer using some free apps we have but I am considering teaching textbooks or CTC math for her next year unless you have a better suggestion. She’ll be 8 by then and in 3rd grade. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I can’t wait to start your math with confidence kindergarten level with my son in the fall! Thanks for all you do to help homeschoolers navigate math!
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