Each year homeschoolers choose a homeschool math curriculum. The challenge can be easy and smooth or difficult and frustrating. Even the most experienced homeschoolers can struggle with math curriculum selection so if you’re new at homeschooling and don’t know what math program is best for your child you are not alone. In my position as the founder of TabletClass Math I speak to many, many homeschoolers about what type of math course is best for their child. You may be surprised that I will recommend programs other than TabletClass if I think that a child will do better in that course. However I have strong feelings about the benefits of homeschooling with TabletClass but I never try to pressure a parent to invest in our program. My approach is simple- give homeschooling parents enough information about my program, let them try it (demo or free videos like on this site) and answer their concerns. In the end homeschoolers should invest in math curriculums that fit their needs and they feel comfortable using. To help make your search easier I recommend focusing on 4 things that can really help you find a great math program for your child.
1. Your Child’s Learning Style
When searching for a math curriculum you want to focus on programs that best match your homeschoolers learning style. Example if your child likes video based instruction rather than textbooks than you should narrow your focus only to video based math courses. As you know there are many homeschool math programs on the market so you need to start filtering out programs that don’t fit your child’s learning style. Trust me there are enough programs to consider for each type of learning style so don’t be afraid to eliminate programs from your selection. The main benefit to narrowing your search by learning style is you can spend more time evaluating programs that likely are the best option for your child. The biggest mistake a homeschooler can make is trying to consider too many programs at once. So don’t be shy about focusing your search on a fewer products- it’s a step you have to take to get closer to a final selection.
2. Homeschool Reviews and Recommendations
Once you have narrowed your list of programs based on what’s best for your child’s learning style you want to start researching reviews. There are many, many homeschool forums and review sites on the internet with all types of information, comments and opinions on math curriculum. Read as much as you can about other homeschoolers experiences and see if you can detect a trend. Now you should always be cautious about blindly believing everything you read on the internet but that does not mean you should not read what others are saying. Your goal is to obtain as much information on a math curriculum so you can make a final judgment on if you will try it. One last suggestion when you do your research, try not to be overly influenced about extreme negative reviews. There are many good math programs out there but because of circumstances a family may have had a terrible experience and in turn blame the curriculum.
3. Free Trial / Demo
The next step you want to take in your quest to find a great math curriculum for your child is testing. Go to the website of products your interested in and see if they have offer a free trial or demo. Most programs have some sort of limited trial or demo so take advantage of using these free ways of trying a course. You don’t even need to see the entire course just enough samples to give you a good sense on how the program teaches math. Sometimes homeschooling parents evaluate a program without their child involved – big mistake! You always want your child to be the one that sits down and tests a learning program. Also you and your homeschooler need to talk about the pros and cons of each program you test. If you are interested in a math curriculum that has no free trials, demos or samples then you need to be very cautious. Unless the math program is very inexpensive where you don’t have to spend a lot to try it I would not spend big bucks on a program untested.
4. Start Early And Look For Sales
My final recommendation for getting that perfect math program for your child is to start early. Math curriculum selection can take months and you don’t want to be rushed into getting any program. Start early and evaluate each program in detail with your child. Remember the math curriculum your homeschooler uses on a daily basis will have a tremendous impact on their education so you must do your best to find great programs. As such you want to give yourself enough time to conduct excellent research and evaluation. Another great reason to start your search early is discounts. The earlier you can identify a math curriculum that for sure you plan to use the better chance you have on saving money via sales. Often times a company will hold sales during various times of the year so you can save money if you have enough time to seek out and find discounts.
Knowing how to choose a math curriculum is critical to successful homeschooling. The key is to give yourself enough time and understand the types of programs that best fit your child’s needs. Of course no process is perfect so even after excellent research you can end up picking the wrong math curriculum. If you think you have made a mistake with respect to your math curriculum you may need to change programs- it happens. If you have to change go back to the other programs you where researching as your first candidates. Last word: homeschool math curriculum selection is not always easy but if you follow the 6 P rule you should be fine “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.