Math Picks for Homeschooling

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in school planning mode. We’ve only been off school for a week, but our shorter summer vacation means we’ll be getting back in the saddle in a month or two.

And I want to be ready for the new year. That means having all our curriculum ordered and on its way. After ten years of formal schooling, there’s not a lot that I need to buy in terms of math curriculum.

But, we have had some blips in our math journey over the last year. But I think that the road should be fairly smooth from now on.

Here are my picks for math curriculum:

Pre-school Math for Fun

Pre-school math is just plain old fun. You don’t need to do anything other than engage your child with the numbers around them. Numbers matter when we pay the bills, make a phone call, follow a recipe, or change the channel on the TV. Numbers are everywhere.

Help your younger children learn to count and identify the digits. Count while you climb the stairs or skip rope. Write your phone number on a piece of paper and help your child to recite it. Little ones can trace the digits on paper or learn to form them in sand or a box of dry, uncooked rice. Count out M&Ms or other treats using the M&M Counting Book.

Talk about the shapes. Sort plastic shapes and talk about their other attributes, like colors and sizes. Play with pattern blocks or linking cubes or other math manipulatives. Pre-school math is casual, so don’t sweat it.

K-3: Saxon Math

Starting in kindergarten, my kids have all done the Saxon Math program. It’s the same math curriculum that’s used in public and private schools around the country. The lower levels are completely scripted and very hands-on. You don’t need special training to teach your child elementary level math. The lessons involve lots of math manipulatives which kids love. It helps make it more real for them.

4th Grade – High School: Teaching Textbooks

As more of my children have folded into our homeschool, the day has become fuller for me as the mom. I will be working with all six kids next year on an individual basis which means that every minute of my day counts. One thing that has helped has been to delegate math lessons to the computer.

Now, I’ve flipflopped on math in the past, but I think we’ve now settled the issue. FishKids 4th grade and above are using Teaching Textbooks for their main math lessons. Teaching Textbooks is a CD-Rom program that provides a narrated lesson as well as practice with automated grading. Since a math problem is either right or wrong, this is a great subject to “delegate” to a computer.

I plan to supplement the boys’ math lessons with some real life math and other drills and practice.

Apps for All

Hubby bought me an iPad for my birthday. So, while I’m reticent to load games onto it, I have found several mathematics apps that the kids enjoy. Educational and fun? Cool.

Some favorites include

Got a favorite way to teach math at your house?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. We use a ton of music. I have to sand tons of songs with manipulatives for counting, number ID, shapes, colors… All of those preschool math skills.

    For my nine year old, we are currently using a chanting strategy to help him learn hs multiplication facts. And we still use songs for time (elapsed time and casual terms for time are so difficult!) and for money skills.

    Not only does music make it more fun (my 4 year old has no idea that he’s learning to count objects) but embedding facts (like coin values) in a melody significantly increases the speed in which kids learn those facts!

      1. Oh, um… I actually use live music & CD’s that I’ve recorded in my work as a music therapist in special education. Over the last 12 years, I’ve amassed a relatively large library of original songs for literacy, language, math, social skills, etc.

        I would be happy to share some with you!

  2. I’ve done nothing but Saxon for 10 years, but I just bought some of the Life of Fred books. I wouldn’t replace my math curriculum with them, but they are SUPER fun for my 7 and 9 year olds. She is starting Saxon 87 and is really enjoying the Fractions book, and I started right out at Apples with the little one. I figured if the story was cute, he would enjoy the review. They truly are begging to do math — even though in the summer I only require one lesson a week. (Of course, you’re probably like me. You have the next math book for Saxon already, and the little ones are anxious to start it to be like their older siblings.)
    I would recommend you give The Life of Fred a look for some fun supplementation and application.

    1. I have heard good things about Life with Fred. I want to try it out, but the books look expensive. Where’s the best place to get them?

      1. I was lucky enough to get them at my local homeschooling store so I didn’t have to pay shipping. They seem to be about the same price everywhere. I am hoping to sell mine when I am done with them, but I think if you have several smaller ones they would be a good investment.

        1. Ooh, I will look into TT and Life of Fred! We’re a Saxon family but with my eldest struggling this past year in 8/7 (he’s never before struggled in math) I’ve been questioning how well I can keep up with guiding the older kids through Saxon while teaching it well to the younger kids at the same time. I need to tweak something for sure. Do you use Life of Fred as a supplement to Saxon, or as a refresher during the summer break? And Jessica, was it an easy transition from Saxon to TT (for teacher and for student)? Does TT work well as college prep material?

  3. I taught Saxon in Kindergarten and I loved it. I will be using it with my son when he starts K in a few years! Thanks so much for all your good suggestions for homeschooling. I am doing preschool right now and love it!

  4. I don’t think of Life of Fred as being expensive since they are nice quality books and infinitely reusable. If you buy them from the link through the Life of Fred site you can also get free media mail shipping.

    I wanted to share our new favorite math app: Numbers League. Kids use strategy, problem solving, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even negative numbers to defeat the bad guys. (Super heroes and bad guys are so motivating!) My son has learned so much from this app, and it’s very customizable for different skill levels.

    1. Thanks for the app recommendation. Now that we are Marvel movie fans, the kids will probably really like it!

  5. Thanks for the Apps you listed. I’m always looking for fun games like this to put on my Ipad.

    I’m about to start 4th grade TT with my son and starting Saxon 3 with my daughter. We have used Saxon for math since the beginning and I love it.

    I’m excited to start Life of Fred as a supplement to their math this summer.

  6. For apps, my 6 year old really enjoys playing Math Puppy. Thanks for the tips. We don’t home school, but we do supplement.

  7. This year, I am switching to Math-U-See. So far, the kids (2 kindergarteners and one second-grader) love it and seem to be picking up on the concepts very quickly. If you’re not familiar with it, it uses a short DVD lesson for each concept. Then the kids practice the new concept with math blocks that are just like legos, doing worksheets tailored to work with the blocks and then eventually without them. Before you move on to the new concept, your child has to be able to “teach it back to you” to ensure they really understand it, not that they just memorized it. My autistic son is extremely visual and hands-on so he really is picking up on it. Math-U-See also offers a CD of skip-counting songs (teaches how to count by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, etc) which is really helpful for learning multiplication later.
    We are only a few weeks into it; so we will see how it works long term. It did take me a little to adjust to teaching it, as I was trained to teach math in a very different way.

  8. Thank you for the online math link!!! I never heard of it and it will be SO helpful for my daughter! I love your blogs they are so encouraging!!!

  9. This summer we’re using Quarter Mile Math for Miss 10, and either ALEKS or Math on DVD for Miss 13 and Miss 15. And Mr. 18 will be reviewing calculus in prep for university using Math on DVD as well. These are great programs! For my reviews, just go to my blog and type the program name and ‘review’ in the search bar.