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Do you fall into the rut of buying 101 books to ”help with homeschooling”, and soon turn into ”the book people” rather than a homeschooler with a vision? Then you realise, once it’s out of the shop and on the bookshelf. It begins to gather dust, like an abandoned toy in the Toy Story series. Every once in a while, you are reminded in the middle of night panicking; if you’re homeschooling ”the right way” and think about that book.
P.S: There is no right way of homeschooling
What if there was a way you could get others opinions on the book before you bought them? Not having to rely on Bitesize for a large part of your homeschool maths curriculum? What if there was a way you could have a review of these books before you bought them? Welp! Roll intro! (I know this isn’t a youtube video, can I some fun? please? No? Okay…)
After speaking to a fellow NQT (A How To Teach My Child Member) who was new to homeschooling, she wanted to begin her journey following along text books. My child-led loving self, surprisingly, agreed with her. It can sometimes be overwhelming planning hours on the weekend and become exhausting. There no harm in using text books to help plan your next activity or following textbooks until you find your feet.
I decided to review 5 maths book series with a homeschool perspective in mind. There is a very new and worthwhile book series that will knock your socks off!
DISCLAIMER: If the new math book series does not knock your sock off and your socks stay firmly on your feet, it’s not my fault…have you TRIED to knock someone’s socks off? It’s hard, okay!
Well here’s the NEW ONE!
Type of homeschooler: Traditional homeschool, Electic homeschool, and homeschooling with unit studies
Strengths: Power Maths, a part of the Whiterose maths scheme, breaks up mathematical concepts so even those teaching from it will have a clear idea on how to teach. The books are especially for children struggling with mathematics and can be highly effective if they are accompanied by good maths resources. They are available from year 1 to year 6. Power Maths teaches in topic blocks, they focus on a child mastering a topic rather than jumping from one maths topic to another. To challenge children’s mathematical ability they work to teach the depth of mathematics using an approach that breaks down each topic into hands-on activities, moving onto pictorial and finally to abstract (working out in their head) learning.
Type of learner: I feel as though this curriculum is very good for children who are hands-on learners.
Resources: The Power maths curriculum can be accompanied by math resources, I wrote about some in my blog Top Maths Toys for homeschooling.
Teaching: The curriculum follows these simple steps: Discover, Share, Think Together, Practice, and Reflect. The diagrams and examples are clear and easy to understand. These White Rose maths books are tailored for Home Learning.
Weaknesses: The Power maths curriculum might feel like slow progress for some of you and you may feel that it is not challenging your child’s strong mathematical skills. The process is slow but worth the wait. It also fills in any gaps of learning, however, some people like a more traditional approach to learning mathematics and if that benefits your child, scroll down for a math book that caters to your approach.
Now, when it comes to mathematics ”Maths -No Problem” was the first to introduce me to the maths mastery world. I was astonished at how simple mathematical equations could be! I have memories of being six years old with tears at the brim of my eyes trying to figure out why we needed to divide. When I met ”Maths! No Problem” it was literally like I had met an old friend too late! Until….homeschooling came to mind! Muhahahaha…okay, I’ll stop…no wonder I had no friends as a child… Maths no problem runs on two books that cover an academic year.
The book is essentially sectioned into 10 chapters, but it can be flexible for use and doesn’t have to follow a rigid routine unless you want it to! Once you complete the teaching in the Teachers Book, it directly refers you where to work in the accompanying workbook, which you can photocopy or write directly in the workbook.
Type of homeschooler: Traditional homeschool, Electic homeschool, and homeschooling with unit studies
Strengths: If you do plan to send your child to school in the future, you will feel more relaxed about using this curriculum. Your child will be able to keep up with the Mathematics terminology or Lingo (In plain English) that will be used in school. Maths! No Problem is recommended by the department for education and other maths experts. The best thing is that the whole curriculum for each year is in just two books! The book helps you understand where your child is working and how to fill in the gaps in their learning.
Types of learner: Children who enjoy using worksheets really benefit from the book and hands on learners if you can make the lessons come to life.
Resources: You need to familiarise yourself with maths resources and manipulatives (toys), especially if your child is a hands-on learner. The activities usually start with the material, then pictures, and finally abstract learning (Doing it in their head).
Teaching: My honest perspective is that it isn’t a book you can pick up and start teaching, even teachers need training but before you get disheartened, it’s at no fault of your own! We’ve been programmed a certain way to understand mathematics. Whereas ”Maths – No Problem” breaks this down in very specific and effect ways. Try and research what maths mastery is before using this book. If you already know about it, go ahead! If you feel researching maths mastery isn’t a mammoths task, GO FOR IT! In the end it will definitely be worth it.
Weaknesses: In my opinion, it is always good to have manipulatives (Maths Toys) but if you’re not careful you might find yourself relying heavily on the worksheets, which is not what maths mastery is about. However, they also balance this out by suggesting games to play with your child. At times the books have activities aimed at pairs, whereby if your homeschooling one child, can be tricky because sometimes children just don’t wanna be pairs with the coolest parents in the world. (They don’t know what they’re missing…)
Now, I have a long history with these books and remember sitting with my own mum working through these maths books. Yes, they helped me immensely growing up and improved my understanding of maths. Did they make me feel absolutely confused at time? Yes! However, with the help of my mum we got through! My books also had big gold stickers (I don’t support the use of stickers but that’s another story for another blog or DM me on Instagram to find out why) and THAT WAS MOTIVATIONAL.
Anyway! Into the nitty gritty: CPG Maths books have been around for years and almost everyone I know have used them to either for homeschool or to help boost their math skills.
Type of homeschooler: Traditional and Classical homeschool
Strengths: I would say that CPG books are best for revision, for example; if you have been taught a topic and need to revise for an upcoming exam. I would aim this towards homeschoolers with older children. This would be best for secondary school maths, in my opinion. They also have many books available and years of experience.
Types of learner: This is preferable for auditory (Children who learn by listening) and visual learners (Children who learn by photos or videos etc…)
Resources: The best thing about CPG books is that they have books available from preschool all the way up to A levels. With a plethora of books available, you could use the same scheme for many years to come, unlike many other math schemes that are only available to primary school ages. Over the years, CPG books have upgraded to having a youtube channel and an online system called maths buster. They also have books that prepare you for 11+ exams and so on.
Teaching: I find that CPG books don’t always clear explanation on how to teach a topic, when explaining the text, so you need to have a good understanding of mathematics or prepare yourself prior to your homeschool lessons.
Weaknesses: I would say although this book series has many years of experience under its belt. It isn’t really with the times when it comes to online programs and videos. You also have to do A LOT of research for any maths topic you feel unprepared to teach, as it can be very difficult to break down.
Collins have a range of books excellent for maths practice! They are usually engaging and fun to complete accompanied with challenges that really help enforce understanding of specific maths concepts.
Type of homeschooler: Traditional, Classical and child-led homeschool.
Strengths: Their books have a lot of fun games and extra ways to implement specific maths concepts. They are colourful and enticing and focus on particular skills in different ways. I’m also really impressed with their Letts Wild About Maths series as it looks really fun for children who love animals and mathematics or even love animals but struggle with mathematics.
Types of learner: Revision of topics or using the book for more practice.
Resources: The formal Collins curriculum available is heavily aimed at a school setting. However, the rest of the books are heavily reliable when it comes to revision. They also have Collins at Home currently available but I haven’t really used it, so let me know in the comments if you would like a review on it!
Teaching: I wouldn’t follow Collins as a homeschool curriculum but it would come in handy when working on aspects your child may be struggling with. To give them that extra practice!
Weaknesses: I used Collins Busy Ants Maths Curriculum for over a year to teach in my Reception class. I, personally, wasn’t fond of the teaching style. I felt as though it wasn’t very clear regarding the structure of teaching, especially, not for preschool and Reception age. It was much challenging for older years, however, you really need have your teacher head on to implement the curriculum. Their other series are really fun and amazing!
Type of homeschooler: Traditional, Classical, unit based and child-led homeschool.
Strengths: My favourite aspect of Usborne mathematics is it’s beautiful. and enticing colour schemes and creative activities. It seems that these books can make Maths fun! There are a plethora (A lot) of books to choose from and one thing Usborne books does that not a lot of other series do is MATHS DICTIONARIES!
Types of learner: Visual and hands on learners; those revising topics or using the book for more practice and children who easily grasp mathematical concepts.
Resources: I wouldn’t follow Usborne as a homeschool curriculum but it would come in handle to work on aspects your child may be struggling with. To give then that extra practice!
Teaching: Usborne maths is great to get children interested in a topic and can be easy to refer to if you want to plan any extra activities. Some activities mean you need to be prepared to extend the topic and have a good understanding of what you will be teaching.
Weaknesses: It’s hard to find a weakness when it comes to Usborne Books but I wouldn’t recommend to use it solely as a homeschool curriculum, unless you believe in unschooling and free schooling and have it as an option for learning.
I hope this blog post helps your child on their learning journey! If you want to be notified about more blogs like this. Place your email in the subscription box below and leave a comment if you want me to review any other homeschool resources.
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