My choice for math is Singapore Math. We use the US edition. We started with Saxon, my math brain brain hated it, and my creative child was overjoyed when we started Singapore Math with all the pictures.
Explanation of Singapore Math
I like how Singapore starts with concrete objects, then pictures and then translates it to math symbols. Moving from one concept to another seems to move very fluidly. The concepts build on each other each level, making it simple for the kids to just add one new concept at a time. The explanations and pictures really help in teaching the concepts to the kids. The down side is that I do have to find extra problems for some concepts depending on the kid. My oldest who is not math-minded needed a lot of extra problems. The other kids have done fine doing the workbook problems on their own with a little help from me and then going back and doing extra problems from the textbook and doing all the reviews in the textbook.
Math requires practice. Singapore provides me with a good outline and as we need help, I find random worksheets or make up my own problems as we go along. http://themathworksheetsite.com is a great place for extra help with adding, subtracting and multiplication. We do the 5 minute drills daily until the kids know those times tables. http://education.com also has all kinds of worksheets that have been helpful.
I usually have the kids compete the workbook. We then use the textbook as necessary when they need more practice. When they finish the workbook, we go through the whole thing and they have to fix any problems that are not right. I then print off the placement test for that level on the Singapore math website. That is the final test, if they get 80% or higher, we move on to the next level. If not, we go back and do more practice problems from the textbook, if they need even more practice, then there are several extra practice problem books that I’ll have the kids do.
Once they complete the whole series, they have to go back and take and pass all the placement tests. This is actually pretty fun for them, because they can see how hard it was at the time they learned it, but now it seems so easy.
Middle School- High School
Our curriculum choice for math is a series we found at a thrift store. It is the McDougall Littel series. Pre- Algebra, Teacher’s edition, Geometry, teacher’s, Algebra book, Algebra 2, teacher’s. This series is really good, we also ordered the teacher’s edition so we will have answers for the even problems and the chapter tests.
We also tried having the girls take BYU Independent Study for Algebra, mostly so they would have a transcript, but it turned out that the course only had 6 chapters with very few examples and hardly any practice problems. Then the whole grade was based on 6 chapter end tests and a final exam. If they wanted to retake any of the chapter tests it would be $10 and there was very little help, there was no teacher assigned to the students. If they needed help, there was a number to call, but it’s hard to help someone with math over the phone.
We also sent them to school that year. Math was very easy for both of them as we had already covered most of the material at home.
This year they are taking Geometry through an online school through our state. It is much better than BYU Independent study with a pace chart, assignments to do along the way and a teacher to keep them on task and help them when needed with an online classroom. However, there is a lot of writing, projects and some busywork. So it has been good for them this year, but for the other kids, we’ll just stick to the textbooks. Those focus only on math and it is more efficient, although it is a little more work for me.
We have not settled on a Trigonometry, pre-calculus, or calculus curriculum, but I will update that when the time comes.