Essentials of K-8 Math Topics to Teach
Homeschooling math can be intimidating – especially if you did not have a good experience learning it in school when you were a kid. While memorizing basic math facts is an integral part of traditional-school math instruction, learning how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide makes up a small part of the math curriculum.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the organization that establishes national standards for teaching math, defines K-12 math as five distinct standards. Those math standards include:
- Numbers and Operations
- Data Analysis and Probability
We created this chart as a handy reference guide to help you know what you need to teach for math. Each of the 5 standards includes a general list of topics covered from kindergarten until 8th grade. The lists are not exhaustive, but it gives you a good idea of the variety of lessons that can and should be taught in math.
How to Homeschool Math
The first few years of elementary math instruction allow for quite a bit of flexibility. Kids need to begin with learning basic number sense – such as understanding that the digit “1” represents a single unit, like one block or one apple. Once a child masters number sense and counting to 20, you have some leeway to pick and choose what you’ll teach next.
If your 1st grader has trouble memorizing basic math facts, you can take a break from rote practice, like endless worksheets and timed recall challenges, and dabble in another topic, such as geometry or data and probability.
“Teach probability to a 1st grader?” Absolutely! Even 5-year olds can begin to understand how likely a certain outcome may be based on evidence and facts. For example, take a look at the sky together and ask, “How likely do you think it will be that we’ll get rain today?” A clear warm sunny day has an extremely low likelihood of rain.
Not sure where to start with using a formal homeschool math curriculum? Begin with getting to know the difference between spiral and mastery math curricula. Once you have an idea of what program you may want to use, use a free math placement test to pick the right level for your child.