Inside: What would it be like to have fun teaching math at home? We tried the Apologia Math Curriculum for elementary grades and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up!
Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. As always, I’m honestly sharing my opinions and experiences. All product links in this post are affiliate links.
There are times when you want teaching math to be quick and easy (preferably done independently while you’re doing something else). And there are other times, which I promise are possible … times when you want to take it slow, enjoy the teaching process, and welcome an opportunity for bonding over math (even if you are not a “math person”).
Whether it’s your first year teaching math to your children, or whether you’ve done it a couple of times already with your older kids, the curriculum I want to talk to you about today could turn the chore of math into an enjoyable bonding experience you might just find yourself looking forward to.
I’m tickled pink that I get to share our experience of using the Apologia Math curriculum with you. Spoiler alert: We all love it!
If you don’t know much about Apologia, let me describe it in a nutshell. Apologia offers profound yet straightforward solutions to your homeschool challenges. What’s on your mind: Science? Math? High school classes? College prep?
Apologia can help.
Besides textbooks, Apologia offers live classes, video lessons on demand (you can rent them digitally), and self-paced courses (we’re thinking of taking the Precision & Significant Figures class, a prep course for high school science and math).
Today I want to share our experience using Apologia Math. It teaches math through a combination of bite-size lessons, short practice sessions, engaging games, hands-on activities, and the application of newly learned skills to real-life situations (i.e., lemonade stand).
So far, we’ve tried grades 1, 2, and 3. The first thing I tried to do when we finished grade 3 is to buy grade 4, but it’s not ready yet. You can be sure we buy it, the moment it’s published! Do you hear that, Apologia? Put us on the waitlist!
Ever tried to find the “right” math curriculum?
If you ever tried to look up tips for finding the best homeschool math curriculum for your kids, you probably saw a lot about matching your kids’ learning styles and identifying what you’re looking for in the program.
Well, to be honest, I believe that learning styles are a myth (everybody learns best under the conditions of a multi-sensory modality), and I usually have no idea what I’m looking for until I find it. And when I see the right thing, I know! Isn’t that how life works?
My Favorite Thing About Apologia Math
I love many things about it, but my favorite is that Apologia makes it easy to feel good about teaching math. While we were going through the Apologia math curriculum, I looked forward to our math sessions every day. (As I did with our science lessons earlier in the season).
I always started math lessons by making myself a cup of tea and sitting down at the dining room table with my children one at a time. I did math one-on-one (and not all kids simultaneously as we did with science) in order to turn our lessons into a bonding opportunity. Tip: having a treat like tea every time you teach math makes the whole experience feel like a treat.
Between the sips of my tea, I would read aloud the explanation for the main concept of the day, ask comprehension questions, and go through demonstration problems. Then while my child did the independent practice problems, I prepared for the Hands-On part of the lesson.
It usually involved pulling the pages out of the teacher’s guide (there is one for each grade) and doing a bunch of cutting to put the games together.
In this way, I was available to answer any random questions from my child while getting myself ready for the next task.
I love the lesson structure and pacing. It was just the right amount to foster learning but still keep me stress-free.
The mindset of the teacher can provide an ideal setting for deep mathematics learning. It’s because when you are a motivated and engaged teacher, you create motivated and engaged learners. These math lessons gave my kids and me the perfect opportunity to team up every day and make sure both our mindsets stayed positive and enthusiastic.
And of course, often a lesson or a problem would start another discussion or lead to a side topic. All good stuff because it helped my kids deepen their understanding of mathematics, broaden their view of the world, and synthesize the newly learned facts. Another tip: new information sticks in the brain better if you relate it to something you already know. And so we finished each lesson with a good feeling. We got to learn, do something productive, and get to know each other better.
If you have ever said, “teaching math is just not my thing,” you need to try the Apologia Math curriculum. Their manageable lessons and clear guides will give you a lot of confidence as a teacher.
You Can Have Fun and Play Games during your Math Lessons (and it doesn’t cost a thing)
Apologia math textbooks offer a plethora of engaging games and activities that young learners adore.
Let me tell you: Finding a homeschool elementary grades curriculum that includes plenty of math games (with none of them on the computer) is a significant and rare win. I believe games are crucial because having fun engages kids’ minds, keeps them alert, and helps them learn.
Here are some examples of the games we played:
Two-digit war (1st grade)
Double Bingo Spinner (2nd grade)
Capture the Square (3rd grade)
I love that the games either require things we have around the house (dry beans, stones, LEGO blocks) or provides all the necessary materials (just cut along the line from the teacher’s instruction book). Yes, it takes me a few minutes to put it together, but it’s not a big deal because I’m sitting next to my child helping him or her learn anyway. It’s actually nice to have something for my hands to do while I’m sitting there.
The best part of homeschooling is that we always have the flexibility to adapt to our needs. We can only engage with games that we find interesting and skip those that don’t appeal to us. But I found that with Apologia math, there was virtually nothing to skip.
In a Nutshell
Apologia math is a beautiful curriculum that has it all: clear lessons, fun practice problems, fetching graphics, games, hands-on pages, and opportunities to bond with your child.