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Choosing Homeschool High School Math Curriculum
The key to choosing a high school math program is recognizing that your preferences and learning style may not be the same as your teen’s. Your child may learn differently, and require a different program than you would choose for yourself.
Teenagers sometimes have pet peeves and personality quirks that interfere with certain textbooks and videos. A teen may be so annoyed by a person on video tutorial that it distracts them from learning. What if they don’t like the teacher’s accent? Or they can’t stand learning from a white board? An imitation classroom setting may even drive them crazy.
For these reasons, I suggest that parents give their children choices in math. Choose some equally good but different math tutorials, and then allow your teen to decide. My son Kevin shocked me when he chose Saxon Math. I hated the way Saxon looked. I’m a visual learner and I desired photos, pictures, and graphic illustrations. But my son loves numbers. He liked Saxon because it had so many problems on each page with no pictures getting in the way. Can you believe that? I never thought that Saxon would be a fit for my family – it never occurred to me! But I gave him the choice, he chose Saxon, and he went into engineering with a minor in math!
Here are some video samples to help you compare choices with your teen. Click on each link and open the video tutorial in each one to “Algebra 1.” Compare them with your child, and allow your child to give feedback. The differences may not matter to you, but might To your teen. Sometimes simply the ability to choose will provide “ownership.” They may (hopefully) be less likely to complain when they have chosen it for themselves.
- Saxon Teacher – created by Saxon, similar to DIVE, but more extensive and goes through every problem in the text
- Teaching Textbooks – very popular computer-based program which demonstrates every problem in the book
- Thinkwell – click on the “view sample video” button, only allows student to take a test once
- ALEKS Math – online program
- Ask Dr. Callahan
- Math Relief
- MathHelp.com - formerly YourTeacher, very affordable through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. On the downside, there are no printed materials
- Math Without Borders
Here are two options for serious bibliophiles. If you child loves literature and hates numbers, you may have success with these books.
- Life of Fred – many say these qualify as “living books” or quality literature
- E-Z Algebra- a story written by my son’s economics mentor.
There are so many math programs available and I can’t possibly list them all. These are a few that I hope will help you find a math curriculum that fits your student perfectly. Remember that it is about how your student will learn best. It doesn’t really matter how the parent learns best.
For more on teaching math and choosing math curriculum, check out High School Math Without the Moaning.
Please note: This post was originally published in March 2009 and has been updated and revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.