Before
you purchase math textbooks, take some time to compare them.
Take a copy of 2 or 3 textbooks that you are considering (all
at the same grade level) and compare what concepts they are
learning at the beginning of the book, the middle of the book,
and the end of the book. You'll see that there are big differences
between publishers. For example, Bob Jones math tends to go
at a very slow pace in the early years. A Beka goes at a faster
pace and Horizon Math (published by Alpha/Omega) proceeds
faster yet.

You
also need to consider learning styles. Some curriculums include
a lot of hands-on manipulatives which are great for the Kinesthetic
learner. Math curriculums are now available on online, on
video or CDs which benefit the Visual
and Auditory learner. Your Read/Write
child can use just about any curriculum, but usually prefers
workbooks and traditional textbooks. See Learning
Styles
for more information.

My
own son struggled with reading, writing, and arithmetic until
he was 9-1/2 years old, so I used very few textbooks from
K-5th grade. (The fact that there were very few textbooks
available to homeschoolers in 1980s had something to do with
this also!) Once he learned his basic math facts at age 9-1/2,
I put him into Saxon
Math 76. (This was the earliest grade level available
at the time.) He went through that book in one and one half
years; then he went into Saxon Algebra 1/2. (There was no
Saxon 87 at the time.) We did Algebra 1/2 in two years. Then
we did a year of Saxon Algebra I; however, we did not complete
the book. Because he was going into a graphic arts career,
we decided he did not need the extra math, and instead, spent
the time on Business math and art courses related to his career.

Most
states now require that students take three or four years
of math, Algebra I level or higher (Algebra I, Algebra II,
Trigonometry, Calculus is the usual college-prep sequence).
Moms with children struggling with math and who, like my son,
do not need this advanced math, have asked me how to deal
with these requirements. The key word here is “years.”
You can use one Algebra book for two years, doing one-half
the book per year, and that will satisfy a two-year requirement
for these students. Another alternative is to use books that
teach specific math skills (geometry, probability, statistics,
calculus) in a simplified manner. (See Recommended
Math Curriculum for 7th-12th for suggestions.)
Textbooks specifically geared for students with learning disabilities
are a good resource. These high-school level textbooks are
written at 3rd-6th grade reading level and are much easier
to understand than traditional curriculums. One source of
these books is Globe
Fearon. (Even though my daughter did not have a learning
disability, I used Globe Fearon's Science Workshop Series
to help her get a good grip on biology before she took the
real thing. It really simplified it. I wish more textbooks
were like that!)

Taking
this slower pace or using specialized curriculum will
not satisfy college entrance requirements for advanced
mathematics; however, if your child does decide to go
to college, he can make up the missed course(s) during
his college years. This will cost him more in time and
money; but, for some students, this is the best option.
If you prefer to struggle through the advanced math, get
a good curriculum. The ones I recommend would be Math-U-See and VideoText
Algebra as these are helpful for Visual,
Auditory and Kinesthetic
learners. I also like ALEKS -
an online Math Tutor for
kids who like to learn on their own and on the computer
or for parents who need extra help teaching math. It
cost $19.95 month, and they offer discounts for multiple
students and yearly rates.

In
addition, if your child is planning on re-entering the local
high school to graduate, he may also have to make up these
missed courses. Be sure you take all this into consideration
before deciding on the best solution for your child.