Homeschool Math Curriculum: Mastery vs Spiral Based Math Programs

In this article, you’ll learn about the two basic approaches to math curriculum. Some curriculum is mastery based, while other curriculum uses a spiral based approach. Be sure to listen to our podcast episode: Mastery vs Spiral Math Curriculum for Homeschoolers.

You’ll also discover the following.

  • Helpful videos and podcast episodes about math curriculum.
  • A variety of math curriculum for you to consider.
  • Additional resources about math manipulatives and games.

Finally, if you want support while homeschooling your kids, learn more about our coaching and consulting services here.

Mastery Based Math Curriculum

With a mastery-based curriculum, the student must fully understand a concept before moving on.

Spiral Based Math Curriculum

With a spiral-based curriculum, the student is introduced to an idea, works on it for a while, and then moves on to other types of math problems. Later, the curriculum circles back around to the concept, the student reviews it, and then goes a little deeper in their understanding of the math problem. This process is repeated until the student has a full understanding of the concept.

Podcast Episode: Spiral vs Mastery-Based Curriculum

Listen to this podcast episode about the differences between spiral and mastery-based math curriculum.

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Examples of Mastery-Based Math Curriculum

A mastery-based approach focuses on a single concept for a length of time. For example, a child might work on multiplying three times each single-digit number for several weeks. Your child will master their 3’s before moving on to another number. Also, your child might do various word problems that involve multiplying by three.

Do you have a child who is working on multiplication? Quick, ask your son or daughter the following question.

“If you had seven friends over to your birthday party, and they each wanted three pieces of pizza, how many pieces of pizza would you need?”

Did your child know the answer? If so, they’ve mastered this multiplication fact and know how to apply the concept.

Examples of mastery-based curricula:

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Examples of Spiral-Based Curriculum

With a spiral-based curriculum, your child might work on many types of math problems in a day. They might work on addition, subtraction, telling time, and measuring the perimeter of a square all in one day.

It’s likely that most of the items are review items with only one new concept being presented at a time.

Now, let’s look at a few examples of spiral-based curricula:

Mastery vs. Spiral Based Math Curriculum

Compare and Review Math Curriculum for Homeschooling

In the video below, you’ll learn about different curriculum. You’ll also begin to understand the differences between mastery based math curriculum and a spiral based approach to math.

Mastery vs. Spiral Based Math Curriculum

So, which is better, a spiral approach or a mastery based curriculum? Here’s our take. It doesn’t really matter how you teach your children math, it matters that they learn how to use and apply their math skills in the real world.

Whether you use curriculum, games, or a real-world approach is up to you. Just make sure your children learn the skills that they will need in the future.

Curriculum for Homeschooling. Homeschool Curriculum. HomeSchool ThinkTank.com

Literature Based Math: Life of Fred

Parents and kids alike love the Life of Fred series. You’ll find books for kindergarten kids to young adults who are entering their college years.

The Life of Fred series is known to be easy, entertaining, and downright fun to read. In the Amazon reviews, parents rave about these books. They say their kids LOVE them, that they don’t have to prod them to read, and that kids begin to “just get math.”

Head on over to Amazon and read the reviews for yourself!

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Elephant Learning Math Curriculum: Interview with Aditya Nagrath

Is your child behind or struggling with math? If so, you’ll want to learn more about the Elephant Learning math app and curriculum. In our interview with the founder, Aditya Nagrath, you’ll pick up on some ideas you can use with any curriculum.  

Elephant Learning uses its own methodology that combines both a mastery based approach with a spiral based approach. According to Aditya Nagrath, “Elephant Learning uses a spiral based approach as students answer incorrectly. Having said that, students must show mastery to get to new topics.”

Listen to our podcast interview with Adityah Nagrath.

Improve Your Child's Math Skills: Homeschool Math Manipulatives and Toys

Fun Family Math Games

Playing fun and educational math-centered games is an excellent way to help your kids improve their math skills.

Tenzi is an incredibly versatile dice game. It’s not necessarily intended for educational purposes, but it can certainly be used to help your child improve their math skills.

In other words, you can have some family fun, and your kids won’t even realize they’re practicing math.

Learn more about Tenzi here.

Fun Math Games For Homeschooled Kids - Really For All Kids... Blog, Video, Podcast

Teaching Textbooks Math Curriculum

Teaching Textbooks is an award-winning homeschool math curriculum. They offer Math 3 through Pre-Calculus. This curriculum allows students to learn independently.

Teaching Textbooks provides unique benefits like hints for tough problems, clever “buddies” for encouragement, and automated grading that allows the parent or teacher to see how the student is progressing.

This program takes the job of teaching off of the parents and encourages the child to succeed at math!

Free tutoring is available on the phone for students. In addition, placement tests are available online. These tests help determine the most appropriate math level for your student.

You can learn more at the Teaching Textbooks website or buy pre-owned curriculum on Amazon.

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