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Economical Math Curriculum Options for Middle & High School

This post was sponsored by Homeschool Buyers’ Co-op. All opinions are my own.

I can actually say I love math. Crazy, right? There is just something so satisfying about crunching numbers and achieving an accurate result. It may be something about how there is usually just one right answer — I’m sort of a black-and-white person, and objectivity is calming to me. LOL.

Math curriculum can be tricky to shop for, because there are so many options out there. Here I've given recommendations for several, plus a place to buy them at a discount!

ANYWAY, that means I really enjoy checking out math curriculum. And I have recently become familiar with a place that sells most of the biggies for great prices! It’s called the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. They are able to get discount pricing because they get group deals from many of the major publishers. They also have all other subjects and then some — but I thought I’d highlight some of their math options for you today.

Math Curriculum Options for Middle & High School

1) Saxon Math

I personally LOVE Saxon. I know there are people that don’t, but for me, you can’t beat the spiral review and the way he explains how to do new things. It is great for teaching your kids how to learn independently.

Effective, Easy-to-Teach Homeschool Programs

With Saxon Math Homeschool, you can help your child develop a mastery of math language and concepts, from kindergarten to advanced high school levels.

Saxon Math Homeschool is based on the teaching principles of incremental development, continual practice and review, and cumulative assessment. The programs are organized by:

  • K–3 teaches basic concepts, plus geometry, patterns, and time
  • Math 5/4–8/7 transitions to textbooks, plus algebraic and geometric reasoning
  • High school texts prepare students for college, from Algebra 1 to Calculus

2) Life of Fred

True confessions: we’ve never used it. But I recently got to see it and touch it (and read it, lol) at a friend’s house, and I have to say it looks like a lot of fun! I’m guessing my kids would have loved it through middle school (it only goes through 8th grade).

Join Fred in a Math Adventure!

Life of Fred is a series of math books designed to give students a break from the old pattern of drill and kill. Instead of nothing but dry exposition and endless drill exercises, they contain fun stories about Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters situations that call for solving math problems. Given Fred’s hilarious adventures are written to draw learners in to read the character’s next steps, children will soon be asking to read their MATH books!

The stories continue through the exercises, leading the student through their math lessons, all while reading Fred’s travels. Many of the books have a series of quizzes called ‘Bridges’, every few chapters. Passing a quiz means the student is ready for the next chapter. Some books have all the problem solutions in them, while others have separate answer keys or companions.

3) CTCMath

This is an online math curriculum that I have heard great things about. It sounds like it would be great for the kid who is frustrated with math. UPDATE: I have written my own review of CTC math — you can see it here: Online Math Curriculum: CTC Math vs. Aleks.

Why Homeschoolers like CTCMath

CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials which take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your student break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way!

The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test”.

Each one of the video tutorials are taught by internationally recognized teacher, Pat Murray, who is known for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). Even students who struggled with math can get great results.

Some key benefits of CTCMath:

  • 1,400+ animated and narrated math lessons are short and easily digested (only a few minutes each). Students can replay each lesson as many times as needed until they “get” it.
  • 57,000 interactive questions to ensure students get ample instruction and practice
  • Diagnostic tests to make sure your student is on track
  • Instant feedback to students and regular reporting to parents
  • Algebra, statistics, geometry, trigonometry, probability plus more
  • Detailed progress reports for parents.

4) Catchup Math

Wow, this sounds wonderful for the student who is struggling and you can’t figure out why. This program has diagnostic tools to help identify exactly what your kid is missing in his math understanding, and then it teaches to those weaknesses.

Why Catchup Math?

Catchup Math is designed for students in grades 6-12 who are struggling with math. It covers Grades 6-7 Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Graduation Exam Prep.

It begins by identifying your student’s learning gaps using short quizzes, and then provides personalized review and practice based on the quiz answers. The quiz-review-practice cycle continues until the student achieves mastery.

A traditional math textbook is not the answer for struggling math students. That’s why Catchup Math accommodates individual learning styles with:

  • Video tutorials
  • Written lessons
  • Animations
  • Games
  • Guided practice problems

Catchup math’s adaptive diagnostic technology helps ensure that your student will take only the lessons they need. Plus, it provides unlimited practice in basic skills such as adding fractions, order of operations, times tables, and more.

Even if you child is not struggling in math generally, Catchup Math can quickly find and remediate learning gaps for any student.

You, the teacher, can intervene as needed, and have access to both detail and summary reports on your student’s progress.

5) The Quarter Mile Math

It’s a GAME, y’all. What a fun way to improve math skills! (And the price is very reasonable; just sayin’…)

Math Practice That Kids Really Love

Math practice that’s FUN??? Judging from member comments and numerous testimonials on the Barnum Software website, The Quarter Mile Math is just that — fun math practice software that kids really love to use. Perhaps the key to that is the innovative format where kids race against themselves (the company calls it “self-competitive”). Or perhaps it’s because the software is easy to use. Or perhaps it’s because the software can detect the smallest improvements and give positive reinforcement. Or perhaps its because it appeals to boys and girls or all ages? We don’t know for sure, but we’re impressed by the fact that it has been picked up by all 1,100 Sylvan Learning Centers.

Not to mention the many accolades The Quarter Mile Math has received from other organizations:

  • “Cream of the Crop” – Annual Technology Review, Instructor Magazine
  • “Best Software” – The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
  • “All Star Award” – Children’s Software Review
  • “Mathematics Company of the Year” – The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
  • “Five Hearts (Highest Rating)” – Mary Pride, Practical Homeschooling Magazine and Pride’s Guide to Educational Software
  • “Cream of the Crop” – Annual Technology Review, Instructor Magazine

As a result, we think members should take a hard look before passing this one by.

6) Learning Wrap-Ups

I can’t not include these, because they were used A BUNCH in our house. These are an easy and fun way for your child to learn their math facts. I personally feel that not knowing math facts is perhaps the KEY reason any child does not enjoy math.

What are Learning Wrap-Ups?

Learning Wrap-Ups are a great way for both kids and parents to make practicing math drills less of a chore and more FUN! Allowing students to work at their own pace, Learning Wrap-Ups feature their own unique self-correction method. These products are compatible with all various brands and styles of math curriculum. In fact, major curriculum companies nationwide use Learning Wrap-Ups for daily drills and practice! You may have seen them in Saxon Math and featured in Sylvan Learning Centers.

Here’s how they work: Simply wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right, then simply turn the key over to see if you got the correct answer. That’s all there is to it!

As always, use your best judgment about which math curriculum might be right for your child. That’s what makes The Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op so great — you can do all of your comparison shopping in one place! And their prices are usually substantially less than buying somewhere else. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

About the author

Ann Karako

Ann has been homeschooling for 20+ years and has graduated four children (one more to go). She believes that EVERY mom can CONFIDENTLY, COMPETENTLY -- and even CONTENTEDLY -- provide the COMPLETE high school education that her teen needs. Ann's website, AnnieandEverything.com, offers information, resources, and virtual hugs to help homeschool moms do just that. 

Ann has written Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: A Step-by-Step Manual for Research & Planning and Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation. She also founded the popular Facebook group called It's Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, which now has over 27K members; and recently she started the It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Podcast.

She and her family, including two dogs and three cats, live in rural Missouri.


  • Life of Fred is not just through 8th grade. There is also Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Calculus, Trigonometry, and Logic.

  • Hi Ann I’m from India & was actually looking at what can I do to ease the stress of Math for my daughter who no matter what cannot find intrest in it she literally hates the subject. I don’t home school but have a tutor com home to teach her .Shes in the 9th grade now & would soon be going to the 10th grade.when her tutor teaches her she’s able to solve it .At school she’s unable to follow. I am equally not good at math .Do you have any suggestion .

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