As part of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew, I received a chance to review a level of Horizons Math by Alpha Omega Publications. We received the 1st grade math set, which is the teacher’s manual and two student workbooks.
About Alpha Omega
Alpha Omega Publications is a Christian company that offers print, online, and computer-based homeschool curricula. They have won quite a few awards, including being included in the top 100 picks by Cathy Duffy. The company has been producing curriculum since 1977.
About Horizons Math
I had heard about Horizons Math way back when I first started looking for a program for Boobear. I had been told that it was advanced, that the first few grades moved very quickly (sometimes too quickly) and that the teacher manuals lacked any real help. At the same time, I also heard the complete opposite.
After researching, I really wanted to try it. But I didn’t have the money for it. So we went other ways and while they worked (He really loves Ray’s, of all things!) there was always something missing. I tend to go for mastery programs and time has proven over and over that mastery doesn’t work with him.
So needless to say, I jumped at this. (Ever see the lady in the crowd jumping up and down yelling “Pick me! Pick me!” Um, yeah.)
The program is spiral, meaning that concepts are constantly reviewed. Everything is presented in a small chunk and then revisited for a long while. Then there’s a break as other new concepts are visited and the first is brought back for review. It may sound like it would be disjointed and annoying, and I would imagine that it would be for someone who doesn’t need that kind of constant review. But for someone who does and a parent who has a hard enough time keeping track of socks? Built-in review sounds like a great idea.
About the Teacher’s Manual
So, let’s talk about the teacher’s manual. This is a great big book that is perfect-bound. There’s all kinds of info in here! Suggestions and helps on how to know the level is right for your child, including pretests to make sure and suggestions on how to get them caught up to the level you have before any kind of frustration sets in. You’ll find lesson plans that tell you the concepts that are to be covered, objectives, has teaching tips, a suggested supplies list, and will walk you through teaching as much as you need. There are worksheets for extra practice in the back you can copy, an answer key, and pages that tell you exactly where to use what manipulative, worksheet, or where a concept is taught. Tests are done about every ten lessons.
About the Workbook
There are two workbooks. Both have 80 lessons to make 160 lessons for the year, leaving you some wiggle room as needed. The pages are colorful but not overly so so they are not distracting. There’s plenty of room to write answers and enough white space to avoid the cluttered look that sends Boobear into a panic. I’ve found I can simply say “now, in the blue oval they want” or break a section up like “okay, let’s do all the red ones in this section as fast and careful as you can.” Pages are perforated if you prefer to tear them out.
For my part, I love this program. While at first glance I was a little leery that it was too light, it actually covers everything needed and over the years it covers it all quite well based on the scope and sequence. I find the teacher’s manual helpful, though some things I see as busy work and designed more for the classroom. I simply skip that if it’s not needed. While Alpha Omega is a Christian company, I think secular schoolers can use this math without an issue. Yes, we have come across Christian references in the program, but these are easily skipped, done, or discussed depending on your style of teaching. So, I honestly think this is a program that could work for anyone who needs a spiral math. I also like that the workbooks are simple, clean, and easy to see without any kind of cluttering.
And Boobear? He requests that we do math at the end of our day, because it’s his favorite subject. He likes the review, he likes the variety in the lessons (for example, one lesson may have number order, lines, and sets while another has sets, word problems, and number order. Each lesson is a bit different, each concept is reviewed, and I feel like there is enough challenge. Boobear just likes that he’s not bored and he likes the color. He also says the pages aren’t “jumbled” and “don’t my eyeballs want to run away.”
I think we might have found our math, as long as it keeps working.
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