Homeschool Math Curriculum for Kids With Disabilities

Parents have many options to choose from

mother and child with abacus
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If you are homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, selecting a math curriculum is an important decision. Fortunately, there's no shortage of math programs to choose from, but there's also no easy way to decide which one is best. Perhaps more important is how you use the curriculum you choose.

Before delving into some of the resources available, first explore which teachers and curriculums make the best fits for children with learning disabilities.

Recognize the Child's Needs

Be aware of the child's needs and respond to them when needed rather than following a prescribed curriculum to the letter. It's also important for the teacher to instill a love of math into children. Be excited about math and find creative and fun ways to practice and explore math concepts.

It may be challenging to do this if you didn't enjoy math in school, but making math fun for children with learning disabilities is essential to engage them in learning. What's more, it's important to take time to explain math concepts in different ways. Use drawings, manipulatives or household objects to demonstrate math concepts. Using these strategies will help you make the best of whatever math curriculum you ultimately choose.

In fact, you should probably expect that you will need to supplement whatever curriculum you choose with additional explanations, demonstrations and materials to help your child understand math concepts.

In short, the more creative and responsive you are to your child's needs, the better your results will be, regardless of the curriculum chosen. If math is not your best subject as a homeschool teacher, consider:

  • Partnering with other homeschool parents who are stronger in math skills. They can teach your child math, and you can teach their children in subjects in which you are stronger;
  • Hiring a tutor; or
  • Choosing a good basal curriculum, and learning to teach your child as you go. Naturally, if math is not your strong point, this will seem daunting. If you choose this route, be prepared in advance to study up on math yourself and make sure you fully understand concepts before attempting to teach them to your child. And don't be afraid to bail. If teaching your own child is not working out, it is important to find another way.

Exploring Homeschool Math Curriculum Programs 

Saxon Math uses a step-by-step approach in a spiral model, while Math-U-See uses manipulatives to teach math concepts for children in grades K-12.

Horizons Math is a book-based spiral curriculum. Lessons include exercises for different concepts. Switched-On Schoolhouse is a computer program produced by Alpha Omega publications. Abeka Math is part of a comprehensive full curriculum. It is a spiral.

Lastly, Singapore Math is a mastery-based program that focuses on mental math and problem-solving skills.

You may have noticed that some of the programs above were either mastery-based or spiral.

The latter first introduces concepts and then extensive review problems. Mastery-based programs, in contrast, are chapter books that focus on a few concepts at a time. Review is practiced separately in a mastery-based program.

Questions to Consider When Choosing a Curriculum

  • How much preparation do lessons require? Do you have time to adequately prepare before presenting each lesson?
  • Will it be necessary for you to familiarize yourself with both the teacher's edition and the student's book to deliver the lessons?
  • What type of support materials are available? Will you need instructional videos to help you implement the curriculum?
  • Does the curriculum use scripting? Some curriculum programs fully script out everything the teacher is to say and do. This takes the guess work out of instruction.

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