When I began homeschooling, Math was one of the subjects that I wanted to make sure I got “right” from the start. I wanted to pick a curriculum and stick with it for the long haul. *chuckling to myself in retrospect* Everyone says not to switch curriculums because of the need for continuity; you can have gaps because of the differing scope & sequence between different companies. It’s good advice to consider. Well, we chose one and stuck with it for 6 years, but it’s no longer working for us. So here I will explain our choice for 2023-2024 Math: What We Picked and Why.
What We Have Been Using Up Until Now
When we first started homeschooling I ended up choosing Singapore Math for my Kindergartner and we stuck with it for six years. Later, I also started my two younger kids on it as well. My middle child (7yo) did both the Kindergarten level and Level 1A&B. My youngest (6yo) has only done the Kindergarten level.
It’s a solid spiral math program, but it wasn’t a good fit anymore. My oldest was begging me to find something different. If you’d like to see a post about why it didn’t work for us any longer then let me know in the comments below. For now, let’s get into what I finally ended up choosing, which I considered, and which curriculums I immediately dismissed.
What We Chose for 2023-2024 and Why
I chose Strayer-Upton Practical Arithmetic for our family this year. If you haven’t heard of it yet, I’m not too surprised. It’s definitely not one of the big mainstream Math curriculums you hear most people are using. It was originally published in 1934 and has since been republished. It is a 3-book series, the first book covering 3rd + 4th grade, the second covering 5th + 6th, the third covers 7th + 8th. Strayer-Upton is considered more of a “mastery” approach meaning that the student studies a new concept and doesn’t move on until they have that concept down sufficiently. There are “tests” in the book that help ensure that the child is in fact understanding the material, retaining the information, or has an area that needs review.
One review of Strayer-Upton mentioned that some of the measurements were out of date, specifically a bushel and a peck being antiquated and no longer used. However, we live in apple country and my kids see and hear those terms often, especially when we go to the orchards. So, I’m excited that their books will refer to these terms and I think the kids will get a kick out of it. Maybe we’ll even do that lesson AT the apple orchard! Hmmm…
For My Younger Kids
Since Strayer-Upton only starts at 3rd grade, I need something for my youngest two children. I’ve been following Mom Delights on YouTube for a while now and she was the one to first put the idea of a Historical Math book in my head. I love how full of wisdom she is and she has such a sweet demeanor. She mentions Strayer-Upton in her video about Math but she also recommended another one called Wentworth-Smith School Arithmetic, or simply Wentworth. It is an out of print series that can be found on Google Books. She goes into a lot of detail about why she likes it and I suggest checking out her YouTube video review about Wentworth. The covers I used are inspired by the Wentworth covers she has on her blog for free. Since my kids will only use two levels they picked their favorite covers of hers and I recreated them in Canva, but be sure to go check out hers! Being that my younger two kids have had some introductory math, I decided to print out the first two levels of Wentworth, which again were a free download and I had them spiral bound at my local UPS Store. I’ll use these books until they are ready to begin with Strayer-Upton.
Also, one reason I chose Strayer-Upton over Wentworth is because, from what I could tell, Wentworth did not really cover geometry. Since my oldest has already had some geometry I wanted to make sure she continued geometry lessons and Strayer-Upton has that built into their books.
I feel I’ve gone a bit off the beaten path with our Math choice of Wentworth and Strayer-Upton this year. And because it is a bit intimidating going “homeschool rogue” and using historical curriculum, I want to mention another company that I’m keeping in mind.
Bridging the Gap
One company that is bridging the gap between historical curriculum and modern day users is Beauty and Truth Math . They have created Math “guides” that pull from several historical Math curricula, one of which is Strayer-Upton. Their guides add in some fun elements such as games, manipulatives, and printables.
Beauty and Truth covers the three streams of Math: Arithmetic, Geometry, and Algebra. I plan to use their Geometry as an affordable supplement to Strayer-Upton if I feel we need it.
What I Considered, Dismissed, and Why
I have done a lot of research to finally come to a decision of what we will use this upcoming school year. In the hopes that that research can benefit you as well, I’m adding in a section here on what other curricula I had looked into and why I ultimately decided against it.
Ambleside Online (AO – the “curriculum” we are using) has a page of suggestions for Math curriculum that they recommend, you can find it here. Here are the few I considered and why I didn’t choose them. Please note: I have not used any of these, I’m simply stating why I didn’t feel they would work for our family in case this might be helpful in your decision making. These are very popular, which is why I looked into them, so maybe the issues I had with them may not be an issue for you.
- Math With Confidence – I have used Kate Snow’s “Math Facts That Stick” series since my oldest was in first grade. I love those books and highly recommend them. So when I heard she had a full Math curriculum I was super excited. The main issue is that she hasn’t finished the level I need for my oldest yet. At the time of writing this only k-2nd is out with 3rd grade coming out later this month. When I realized this I didn’t bother researching it any further, I’d rather have a program I can use for all three kids.
- The Good and The Beautiful Math – I considered switching to this when it first came out but I generally don’t like jumping into a curriculum that is brand new, especially for something like math. I like to wait and see what others think of it first. Then they revised it and I was seeing that while people really loved the first version they didn’t like the second version so much. All this didn’t instill any confidence in this option for me. I have an upcoming post about why I’m no longer using any TGTB curriculum so be on the lookout for that.
- Right Start Math – Honestly, it just seemed really expensive. Possibly even more expensive than Singapore Math. I also looked at the sample lessons for my oldest child’s level and it was a bit overwhelming to me. I know many people love this one so check it out for yourself. But for me I wanted to get away from this type of curriculum and just simplify which led me to consider some older options.
- Ray’s Arithmetic – This one seems to be popular with those that like the more historical curriculums and I was interested. However, while researching these historical options I saw that many felt that this one was a bit too antiquated and there were other options that, while historic, were a bit more up to date.
I hope to write a review mid-year about how it’s going with Math once we’ve gotten into a groove. In the meantime, as always, feel free to reach out with any questions. you can do that here by filling out a contact form. Or you can DM me on Instagram. And make sure to sign up to join my newsletter list at the bottom of the page to be notified when a new post comes out!