Are you looking for the best homeschool math curriculum for your young learner? Are you wondering what math program you should use for homeschooling kindergarten? I highly recommend Kindergarten Math with Confidence by Kate Snow!
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I’m a 2nd-generation homeschooling mom of 5 kids, so I’ve taught Kindergarten math a few times by now. And while I was pretty satisfied with what I used with my older kids, I am now so completely in love with the new Math with Confidence curriculum by Kate Snow (published by Well-Trained Mind Press) that I’m almost jealous of all the younger moms who get to use it more than once with their own kids!
Thankfully my youngest child was at the perfect age to enjoy Kate’s Kindergarten book this year. My 5-year-old son has loved Kindergarten Math with Confidence. He eagerly looks forward to each new lesson! Is Kindergarten Math with Confidence a good choice for you? Read on and find out!
How to Choose a Kindergarten Math Curriculum
When it comes to choosing a math curriculum for your young learner, you want to look for 3 things:
- Ease of Use for Mama
- Age-Appropriate Expectations for Student
- Strong Foundation in Mathematical Thinking
Ease of Use
If you’re homeschooling a Kindergartner, you may also have a toddler or baby in the mix. Or, as in my case, you may have a whole bunch of older kids, plus business and volunteer endeavors on the side!
You’re a busy homeschool mom, and you don’t have time to create a curriculum from scratch, manage a bunch of supplemental craft projects, or find space for several bins worth of manipulatives. You want to grab your cup of coffee, open up the teacher book, smile at your precious little one, and get started!
The Kindergarten Math with Confidence instructor guide is with you every step of the way! Scripted, open-and-go lessons make it easy to confidently teach new concepts.
Each unit (2 to 4 weeks in length) opens with an overview of the lessons ahead and helps you understand what your child should have learned by the end of the unit.
The introduction each week lays out in a bit more detail what you can expect in the days ahead. You’re given an overview of the goals, an explanation of any topics to be covered, a list of any household items needed for that week’s lesson, and suggestions for weaving the math concepts learned into everyday life. Each week also has a suggestion for a math picture book that might be a good supplemental read aloud to reinforce the math concepts being learned.
I absolutely love how clearly each lesson is laid out in the Instructor Guide! At the beginning of each lesson is a chart demonstrating each activity, its purpose, and any materials needed for that lesson. There’s also a clearly stated goal for each lesson.
But my truly favorite part is the clear, “Here’s what to say next” format! Not sure how to teach subitizing skills (or maybe you’re not sure what that even means)? That’s ok. Kate lays each new math concept out for you step by step. Just read the bold print in an engaging manner and you’re ready to go!
Sometimes we forget just how young our little ones are. Speaking as a Mama who has experienced a range of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, I know how easy it can be to confuse academic ability with emotional readiness for learning, not to mention the realities of fine motor skill development in the Kindergarten years.
I love that Kindergarten Math with Confidence challenges the student to think deeply and learn math concepts well, while also recognizing the limited attention spans and emotional maturity of their young age. I’ve seen too many early elementary math curricula that appear to expect the student to spend an hour a day on math! Short, manageable lessons make the Math with Confidence curriculum ideal.
A full day’s lesson can be accomplished in about 15 minutes. For a 4–6-year-old beginning learner? That is really all they probably need. We want them to finish the math lesson excited and wanting more, after all! On occasion, my son will be so excited he wants to do another lesson. But often, I encourage him to wait for tomorrow anyway. We harness that excitement and enthusiasm and remember how wonderful it is to get to study math each day!
Not only is each individual lesson age-appropriate in length, but each week is comprised of only 4 lessons. If you have a weekly co-op or other commitment, this means you’ll never struggle with that “behind” feeling trying to fit 5 lessons into 4 days.
I personally don’t worry about what week or day we’re supposed to be on. We just do the next lesson regardless of date. But if you prefer to lay out your plan more strategically, the 4-day-a-week lesson plan will be ideal for working Kindergarten math into your family’s big picture homeschool plan.
Strong Math Foundation
The foundation for mathematical thinking laid in the early elementary years matters. As you choose a Kindergarten math curriculum, you want to look for a program that teaches WHY things work and also HOW to implement the concepts.
It’s important for a Kindergartener, especially, to have concrete, hands-on application of what they are learning. I love that Kindergarten Math with Confidence incorporates conceptual understanding with just the right amount of skill practice and repetition, all in a playful, fun way.
Want to learn more about which math concepts are important for each stage of learning? Listen to my interview with Kindergarten Math with Confidence author Kate Snow on the Homeschool Conversations podcast!
Kindergarten Math with Confidence covers the following topics:
- Reading, writing, and comparing numbers (including review of subitizing skills, the ability to recognize small objects by sight without counting)
- Beginning addition and subtraction (using a ten-frame means they’re laying a strong foundation for future arithmetic lessons and fact memorization)
- Shapes, patterns, and directions
- Counting to 100
- Money, time, and measurement (this was an area of weakness in the Kindergarten math I used with my older children, and I love how seamlessly it’s incorporated into Math with Confidence)
Kindergarten Math with Confidence lessons follow a predictable, 3-part process:
- Review and Warm-Up
This is often a game or other hands-on activity that engages the senses or the whole body. It takes ~3-5 minutes (short is good; we don’t want to use up the child’s limited attention span here) and warms up their brain to think mathematically.
- Hands-On activities
This is the main content and core of the lessons. You’ll introduce new concepts, review or expand on older lessons, and use hands-on activities or simple conversation to engage with the math concepts. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Oh wow. I love how this workbook is set up! As I’ve mentioned previously, the Kindergarten Math with Confidence curriculum is so clearly designed for real-life 5-year-olds! Each lesson has a One Page Worksheet. That’s all! The illustrations are colorful without being garish, engaging without being distracting.
It takes 2-5 minutes to complete one worksheet. Isaac and I often finish the workbook with him wanting to do more math, which I think is a much better option that having to push through resistance, leaving math time feeling drained and overwhelmed!
What other supplies do you need for Kindergarten Math with Confidence?
It is super easy to create your own math kit to use alongside Kindergarten Math with Confidence. You’ll need the following materials:
- Counters: We use lima beans that I spray painted when my oldest child was in preschool. Each side is a different color. You could also use plastic bears, coins, or even Lego!
- Pattern Blocks: I got a simple, colorful plastic set
- Coins: raid your couch cushions and make sure you have at least 20 pennies, 20 nickels, and 10 dimes
- Index cards: Lay in a supply of plenty of plain white index cards! You use these for a variety of different activities and games.
- Blank Paper: my 5-year-old runs up to the printer to get some when we need it. If you were a more organized mother than I am, you could have your own stack in the math basket
- Pencils (although, to be frank, my son enjoys using a variety of writing implements in his work, and I let him. If you aren’t too worried about non-erasable mistakes, markers and crayons and colored pencils can be a fun option, too!)
The appendix of Kindergarten Math with Confidence includes a suggested supplemental picture book list, but Kate has also rounded all those books up in an easy, clickable list here.
My 5-year-old and I agree. Kindergarten Math with Confidence is a wonderful option for a gentle, delightful, thorough math curriculum for your young learner. Isaac and I look forward to using the full Math with Confidence series in the years ahead!