Best Homeschool Math Curriculum for Gifted Kids

While there are many comprehensive homeschooling curricula available, asynchronous learning in gifted children often makes a more eclectic homeschooling approach desirable. These a la carte math curricula are some of the best suited to teaching a gifted child at home. All age and grade ranges are approximations; appropriate materials depend on the individual gifted child’s mathematical abilities.

Kinesthetic/Visual Gifted Learners- Math Curricula Using Manipulatives and Video Aids

Does the gifted child prefer hands-on, experiential learning? Does the gifted student like to work with manipulatives? Does the learner have trouble understanding abstract concepts without concrete applications demonstrating the bigger picture? Does the gifted child prefer to learn from experts using visual media? Is the gifted homeschooler a younger child who has exhausted elementary material but is struggling with higher-level mathematics?

If so, these homeschool math curricula using manipulatives and video lessons may be best:

  • Math-U-See (K-12)
  • Right Start Mathematics (K-4)
  • Hands-On Algebra (3-8)

Math-U-See is a complete math program from addition to precalculus. Hands-On Algebra makes abstract algebraic concepts teachable to the youngest students by using manipulatives and games rules. Right Start Mathematics is an abacus-based program, utilizing the greatest variety of manipulatives including counters, games, puzzles, and geoboards.

Video lessons are available for both Math-U-See and Hands-On Algebra, though materials primarily target parent educators.

Verbally Gifted Children/Reluctant Learners- Teaching Homeschool Math through Literature

Are verbal abilities the gifted child’s primary strength? Does the homeschooler think math is boring? Is the student mathematically precocious? Is working independently from a book appealing? Does the parent educator want a rigorous math program complementing Christian family values? Did the child enjoy a holistic, story-based approach like Enki Education Math, but now needs more challenge?

Then one math curriculum stands out:

  • Life of Fred series — Christian overtones (fractions to 2nd year college)

The Life of Fred introduces mathematical concepts through the adventures of a 5-year-old boy in an eleven book series. Mathematically precocious children will relate to the character. Older kids who think math is boring or struggling with underachievement will appreciate a radically different approach written with wry humor. Gifted kids with verbal strengths will enjoy learning math through story. Parents favoring a rigorous Christian math curriculum will find Life of Fred sufficiently challenging; secular families may also consider Life of Fred for its distinct design.

Textbook and Workbook Approach- Traditional Mathematics Methods

Does the gifted student enjoy learning math using workbooks and texts? Is the parent teacher more comfortable with traditional learning methods? Does the gifted child have little trouble absorbing abstract concepts?

  • Great Sources math handbooks- Math to Learn, Math on Call, etc. (1-12)
  • Challenge Math by Edward Zaccarom(1-8)
  • Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Jacobs (7th grade and up))
  • Singapore Math (K-12)

These options include popular classroom texts, gifted math enrichment, condensed handbooks for rapid study, and complete homeschooling programs with tests, teacher’s guides, and support. All four work well for gifted students satisfied with classical methods of teaching math.

Math Precocious Children- Concrete Representations, Interesting Characters, Challenging Material

While all the reviewed math curricula are suited to mathematically precocious gifted children due to self-pacing ability, these four hold special appeal for younger learners:

  • Life of Fred (Fractions to 2nd year College)
  • Math-U-See (K-12)
  • Right Start Mathematics (K-4)
  • Hands-On Algebra (3-8)
  • Calculus by and For Young People (aes 6 and up)

Life of Fred holds appeal due to the young age of the character Fred. Math-U-See, Right Start Mathematics, and Hands-On Algebra use manipulatives to bridge from concrete examples to abstract concepts, removing a common hurdle for young learners. Calculus by and for Young People is a unique CD-rom text teaching complex concepts to the smallest mathematicians.

Choosing the Right Math Curriculum for Homeschooling a Gifted Child

Parents should focus on the preferred learning style of their gifted child when choosing a math curriculum. Gifted kids who learn best from traditional textbooks would like Challenge Math, Mathematics by Jacobs, and Great Sources math handbooks. Singapore Math supplements the text with worksheets and parent support.

Gifted students preferring a kinesthetic or visual approach benefit from Math-U-See, Right Start Mathematics, and Hands-On Equations. All three programs teach using manipulatives. Math-U-See and Hands-On Algebra offer video lessons for spatial learners. Using manipulatives also allows younger children to move from concrete to abstract mathematical concepts with ease.

Verbally gifted students, mathematically precocious children, and reluctant learners may enjoy the Life of Fred. The texts hold broad appeal, but evidence a Christian viewpoint. The perfect math curriculum for a particular child will depend on his or her personal strengths, interests, and goals.