Among the many other wonderful things I have learned about my children since I started homeschooling, one thing I’ve learned is that one size does NOT fit all. I figured that I would just get “the best” curriculum for my kids and that would be that.

Just one set of math books, one way to teach them to read and one way to show them how to write.

Um… that was mistake number 1. First of all. There is no “best” curriculum. There are really good, really bad and various in betweens but no “best”.

When I bought 1st grade math for Lucy, I got what was most recommended. And it worked great for Lucy. Emma… not so much. She did really well on the days when we played with the manipulatives, but when it came to any oral instruction, she completely zoned out.

So I went back to the drawing board and came across Singapore Math Earlybird Kindergarden Math. I could tell right away, by looking at the sample pages that is was RIGHT up Emma’s alley. I went completely against my common sense; I already had kindergarden and 1st grade math. But I bought it anyway. I’ll be completely honest. What had been a fairly stressful (for me) struggle to get through one work sheet with her (explaining EVERY single thing) has turned into “No really Emma, 20 worksheets is enough. You can do more tomorrow!”

“Mommy, I want to do these papers FOREVER!”

“I NEVER want to stop!”

I’m sticking with this. I’m switching Lucy over as well, since she is such an easy learner. And I don’t want to have to use two different kinds. And for those who are wondering, students go straight from Singapore Level 6 to

Saxon Algebra 1 with ease. That being said, I’m not ruling out having to have two different sets of math. So if Lucy doesn’t thrive with Singapore (her workbooks should be here Monday, in the mean time, she’s having all sorts of fun studying the texts), then I’ll go back to what I was using before. I just hope I don’t have to. No point in spending the extra cash if I don’t have to.

And as far as reading is concerned, I’ve had the same reaction to

Explode the Code. Lucy can read pretty well, but she is pretty rusty. Explode the code has been been really helpful for her to brush up on her skills. And the best part is I she can do them on her own with little or no instruction. The words “Mom, I’m bored.” now has a default response.

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I'm getting ready to homeschool Carlise for Kindergarten next year. How much do you think you end up spending on curriculum for 1 grade so far?

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Hey Courtney, I just read your more recent review of math curricula that you posted on the TJed facebook page for me. I’m wondering how you feel about Singapore as far as “fuzzy” math. I’m considering trying Singapore hand in hand with Life of Fred. I was previously leaning toward MUS, but I really want to avoid the fuzzy math stuff, so although the hands on stuff sounds really good for teaching the “why” of math–I am hoping that that can come more through the math classics. What do you think? Can you e-mail me or pm me on facebook!?

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Hey Amber! Thanks for your comment :) I personally didn’t care much for Singapore but my daughter loved how colorful it was. My sister swears by it though. I think if you can get pre-common core stuff then Singapore with LOF would be an awesome combination. I tried it back in my pre “you are smart enough to do math” days and right before I switched to MUS. It’s possible that if I were to try it again I would love it.

The WHY of math will come naturally as they grow and their brains become more and more capable of abstract thought. Things like LOF, Math Doesn’t Suck, Euclid, and beginners guide to the galaxy will serve that purpose. “Deep conceptual understanding” of math just isn’t possible for your average six year old. They will make those connections on their own when they are ready as long as they have the algorithms down.

Hope that helps!

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