The Best Math Curriculum – Mr D Math Pre Algebra
Do your kids dance when they hear it’s time for math? Since we discovered the best math curriculum, M is dancing every time I hit play on a math video.
But it hasn’t always been so easy.
Until stumbling over this perfect math solution, I had a situation with math. You’ve probably been through this (with math or another subject). I just couldn’t sleep at night, thinking about how epically I am failing M at math. How every day it will be the same process of push and pull for us. And most often than not, we just kept plowing through it all: finish that lesson, finish that test, phew, we’re done! Let’s pack it up.
It’s been pure torture! And I transformed my math-loving guy into a math-hating kid because of my inability to understand math and explain it properly.
The struggle is real, but I finally found our answer! And I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much peace I feel when I think about our homeschool math right now because we have found the best math curriculum for us!
This is a sponsored post. I was given the product to review and I might have been compensated for my time. I would never endorse or recommend programs we wouldn’t use ourselves. Read more about it in my Disclosure.
- Our trials and errors
- About Mr. D Math
- Self-Paced Pre-Algebra
- What we love about Mr. D Math
- ✏️ Confidence booster
- ✏️ Comprehensive math
- ✏️ Independent
- ✏️ Parent updates
- How we use Mr. D Math
- Over to you
Our trials and errors
For the past 6 years, I’ve been scouting the internet for something good for math, always trying out, always reading, and sometimes even impulse buying something that looked good. We finally found our match in Mr. D Math, the best math curriculum we’ve tried so far, and one that fits M’s learning style like a glove.
We’ve been doing Math in Focus for 5 years and for the last couple of years I’ve started seeing a certain adversity to this program taking root. It might have been me. In fact, I am more than certain that my way of teaching hasn’t been great. To top it all off, I kind of hate math, and more often than not, M understood a problem before I did.
OK. I have to admit that I truly just wanted to leave math instruction on someone else’s shoulders. But I was wracked with guilt at the same time. M didn’t seem to have patience for online classes and we have no hope for outside help in the area where we live. So I’ve been dragging my feet until he was old enough to go online.
Testimony to this are the many math programs I have clogging my shelves and the ones that left burning holes in my pockets: Singapore Math Primary, Math in Focus, Beast Academy (all the offline plus online collection). Even the free ones like Khan Academy or the countless ones we just tested like Aleks, Prodigy Math, Saxon Math, Math Mammoth… The list is long, my friends!
We’ve hit it very close with CTC Math this year and I still think that CTC is going to be a great fit for a lot of families out there. But we needed more from our program.
Our checklist for the best math curriculum
We just needed something else, something that would take M’s hand (and wave goodbye to me)… like those friendly teachers that you entrust your little kids with. I wanted it all, and I wanted to do NOTHING! And voilà! I found it in Mr. D Math! ❤️
Here’s what I wanted:
- Independent – the program needed to be 99% independent. Because I can’t help him with math anymore.
- Affordable – unfortunately I can’t afford 1 on 1 tutoring, so the program would need to be affordable for us.
- Graded – we need to submit tests and grades to our school. These need to be part of the program we’re working with. And if I can’t do the work, how would I grade it? Everything needed to be right there, grades and tests and all.
- Comprehensive – I wanted a solid program that had it all. It had to be mastery-based because that’s how M learns best and has the work done offline for most of it.
I have found ALL this and much more in Mr. D Math.
We love this program so much, that we are SKIPPING a few grades in math to be able to do it now, from 6th grade! If you want to find out more about that keep reading.
About Mr. D Math
There’s so much to love with Mr. D Math and for us, it’s been love at first try! It’s so very rare that both homeschooled kid and parent agree on a program, but this was the program for us!
Who’s Mr. D?
Behind every great program, there’s a greater mind. This one goes to Dennis DiNoia, a math teacher with over 30 years of experience that loved teaching so much he created his own program, well-loved by teenagers around the world.
Dennis DiNoia (or, as most of us know him, Mr. D) has an M.A. in Education from the University of South Florida certified Secondary Mathematics Teacher since 1988.
Mr. D Math Classes
Despite the name, Mr. D Math offers more than just the best math curriculum. Their offer includes SAT/ACT prep, LA, ASL, economics, and more.
Within the math section, the offers are as follows: pre-algebra, algebra I, algebra II, and pre-calculus. Unfortunately, there are no classes for elementary.
There are just so many options and combinations possible, but I will talk to you about pre-algebra in this post.
Live or Self-Paced classes
I love how flexible this program is and that we can choose from two types of instruction. I think the live classes are perfect for kids that like math and need to feel like they are part of a classroom.
– 1 hour per week
– live teachers
– small classroom size
– keeps on a schedule
– not all problems will be solved step by step
– weekly homework
– questions can be asked during class in the chat box
– not all classes are taught by Mr. D
– access to pre-recorded classes as well
– NCAA approved
– expensive version
Self paced classes
– no set schedule, work at your own pace
– videos are around 30 minutes
– every single problem is solved step by step on screen
– questions can be asked in email or during live help sessions
– all pre-recorded lessons are taught by Mr. D
– lesson can be reviewed as many times as needed
– cheaper version
Both Live and Self-Paced give you access to the awesome curriculum developed by Mr. D. You get access to:
- step-by-step lessons
- online quizzes
- online help
- practice problems
- step-by-step solutions
How to purchase
In order to buy any of Mr. D‘s programs, you first need to create a free account. Once logged in, you can see the offer and browse their catalog, adding the classes that interest you to the cart.
The whole interface is very easy to navigate and intuitive and it stays the same throughout the whole experience.
We’ve received access to self-paced pre-algebra. M is still on the young side since pre-algebra usually starts in 7th-9th grade, but he loved the format of the classes immediately!
We were just planning to test-drive the program but we immediately discovered that this was what we’ve been looking for. This was the best math curriculum for us!
So even if I had already purchased all Math in Focus books up to 8th grade, we turned 360 degrees and switched the official math to Mr. D Math.
See inside pre-algebra
All the classes show up inside the dashboard so children can easily navigate between them. There’s also a calendar for easy planning and announcements from the teachers.
I love the interface of Mr. D Math! It’s just so intuitive and easy to navigate.
The pre-algebra course is broken down into 12 chapters which are further broken into lessons. The chapters covered are:
- The Tools and language of Algebra
- Integers and Intro to Real Numbers
- Linear Equations
- Number Theory
- Number Theory Decimals
- Ratios, Proportions, and Percents
- Graphing Linear Equations
- Relations and Functions
- Square Roots with Application
- Statistics and Probability
Lessons and course work
Each lesson has 3 parts to it: video instruction, coursework, and solutions. Everything they need to successfully complete a lesson is inside the platform.
- Kids will watch the online video. Videos usually last about 30 minutes and are taught in a fun, step-by-step way.
- After watching the video, they will complete the coursework offline. The worksheets for each lesson can be downloaded and printed out.
- Kids are encouraged to correct their own work by using the provided step-by-step solutions.
Mr. D Math offers online testing and grading which was a big win for us because our school is asking us to submit tests and grades.
Testing is done online and there are 5 ways of testing:
- Course work result (20%) – kids will have to calculate and input their grades after solving and correcting their coursework.
- Online quiz (30%) – this is usually 5 questions long and it’s just reviewing the lesson.
- Chapter test (30%) – at the end of each chapter, there is a review test that covers every concept in the completed chapter. There are about 20+ questions in this one.
- Spiral review– this happens every few lessons and it’s just 5 questions long, but it helps refresh the concepts and discover any possible holes in knowledge.
- Semester exam – there are 2 exams like these, at the end of each semester. These are 54 questions long and they cover a full semester of concepts.
Aside from the classes, and access to the problems and solutions, a subscription to Mr. D Math also offers access to:
- Live help sessions – if your child is stuck, they can choose one of the live help sessions from the calendar. They get 2 live help sessions every week. Kids can ask the teacher to explain concepts they didn’t understand.
- Message help– at all times, kids have the option to message their teachers directly from the platform. Teachers are very quick to respond.
- Contests – I love this part! Every month, there are math contests where kids can get a $5 Amazon gift card. M is looking forward to these and he even won once.
What we love about Mr. D Math
I am warmly urging you to consider this program for pre-algebra and up. It’s got everything we need and if your wishlist looks a bit like ours, chances are that you will love it, too. Try it out today to see if this is the best math curriculum for you, too.
We love Mr. D Math because it’s a very flexible program. With choices between live and self-paced, you will find it works for both math-loving kids and math-reluctant kids.
The fact that it doesn’t require any extra textbook makes it easy to carry around and use from anywhere.
Can you say that about a lot of math programs? Mr. D Math is fun because Mr. D. Mr. D keeps things light and he is so good at keeping kids engaged and paying attention to the classes.
Even I love listening to Mr. D’s classes ❤️.
I always liked clean and to-the-point books and Mr. D has minimalist worksheets. I love that there are no frills. Math is to the point and the simple format doesn’t distract at all. I haven’t seen M work so neatly for math before and it’s been a great surprise seeing it now.
I’ve seen engagement as with no other math program and I don’t mean just during the lessons. By organizing monthly contests and a student appreciation month, this is one homeschool program where even the shyest of kids can feel engaged and as if they belong to a bigger community.
M managed to win $5 in a math contest. Needless to say, he was over the moon!
✏️ Confidence booster
Mr. D Math is perfect for math-reluctant kids. The lessons are very gentle and the explanations are step by step.
The tests are also not timed and best of all, kids are allowed to submit the tests two times. So kids that suffer from math anxiety would greatly benefit from this set-up.
✏️ Comprehensive math
Mr. D Math is a mastery-based program with the occasional spiral review thrown in for good measure. We are used to this type of math because it suits M’s way of learning.
In a mastery-based approach, students will focus on one concept at a time and only move on once they’ve mastered it. This works great for students that don’t need a lot of repetition and that usually understand a concept quickly.
In a spiral approach, multiple concepts are presented in smaller chunks before moving on and eventually spiraling back to the old concepts making sure the students didn’t forget them.
I love that Mr. D Math is a program focused on understanding instead of on rote learning. Learning by heart is an aspect I’ve been running from for all our homeschooling.
Mr. D Math is a compact program: everything you need is in one place! Boy, do I love that! Math in Focus used to be a juggling of the teacher’s book, textbook, workbook, test booklet, and various other workbooks for reteaching or enriching. It’s been tiring getting all these books out every time we had math.
Mr. D Math only requires a laptop, and printed coursework. I love that you can either print the sheets as you work or just take them all and print and bind them before you start the course.
Mr. D Math is encouraging students to correct and grade their own work. When I first heard this in the introductory video, I thought it was a bad idea. How can I give M access to all the solutions and be sure he isn’t peeking through them? And if he did, how can I make sure the grades he is getting are the right ones?
I then saw the benefit of this method when he started spotting his careless mistakes before even correcting his work. I’ve been trying to make him recheck his work for years with no success. Now, for the first time, he is looking for mistakes before correcting his work.
M is now working independently and I must confess it’s such a relief! He can actually do it all on his own and I can just watch from the sidelines. That’s why this program was crowned by us as the best math curriculum ever!
✏️ Parent updates
Parents are still kept in the loop. Mr. D encourages kids to invite their parents over for a lesson that they present once per week. Maybe the kids are excited about understanding a complex concept and they can explain it to their parents.
I am getting weekly emails that let me know about that week’s progress and where M should be with his work. I love how this program is so inclusive and how naturally all things fit together.
Isn’t this the best math curriculum out there? It is for us!
How we use Mr. D Math
I love a lot of things about Mr. D Math, but what I am allergic to is having a lot of flying papers. This year had me nuts with the way I’ve planned it around binders. Papers inadvertently found their way out of these and we kept losing work or I had to constantly gather and rearrange stuff. That’s why I decided that from now on, I am condensing and binding everything into spiral books.
So the biggest change we’ve done is to gather all the worksheets from every lesson into a single book that I’ve spiral-bound.
And, I’ve created even a cover and chapter covers for each chapter. You can download these for free from my Resource Library (you just need to subscribe to my newsletter to get a password). You can see all of them below. M played a big part in the chapter covers because he chose the representative animals.
I love having it all in one place and I won’t have to keep printing the coursework for every lesson.
M can just grab his workbook and start his laptop to finish his math work.
As I’ve mentioned, I started feeling that our math lessons were dragging. Each lesson was a fight and the joy of it was long gone.
I can’t believe it now when M hears Mr. D Math music playing he will actually dance! And then come complete his work. No comments, no whining. You can see that in the video below.
I made a video to show you inside this fantastic math curriculum and to recap some of the reasons why we like this math program so much that we consider it to be our best math curriculum so far (please excuse my voice, I was super sick while recording this):
I’ve already purchased the whole set of Math in Focus until 8th grade. I wasn’t expecting to find anything better. But I’ve decided to make a drastic change and just adopt Mr. D Math for our 6th grade.
What’s more, Bridgeway Academy (our school) has Mr. D Math on their pre-approved course list. That means Mr. D Math is accepted by our school, which is perfect! It means less paperwork for me.
Because M is advanced in science, I had to inquire if there was any way we could take high school classes and actually obtain high school credits for them. The only way we can do that is if we take Algebra I. But in order to take Algebra I we have to pass pre-algebra. So that’s our plan:
- finish Mr. D Math pre-algebra before officially starting 6th grade
- start Mr. D Math Algebra I for 6th grade
- take a high school Chemistry class for 7th grade
Even if this wasn’t what I planned when I said we will just slowly move through every grade, this is what feels like the best course for M. This way he will get 2 high school credits for Algebra I and Chemistry before 8th grade. We will see how this works for us and what changes we need to make later down the road.
Over to you
What’s your favorite math program? Let me know in the comments below.
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Where do you print and spiral your books?
I print and bind them at home. But if you have a good print center in the area, that can save you a lot of work. We don’t have anything like that where we live so I print and bind everything at home.
About how many days of lessons are there? I see that there are some assignments labeled 2.1 Part 1 and 2.1 part II. Are these supposed to be done on the same day?
Only some lessons will have multiple parts and as per Mr. D, you can pause the videos and work on parts as you need to. My son is doing one lesson per day regardless of the parts and watches the full video in one go then moves on to the workbook and online quiz. Some days are super short 15-20 minutes and some are longer (up to one hour).
There are 12 chapters in all and in each chapter you will get the lessons (sometimes with multiple parts)+ online quizzes (about 5 questions)+ occasional spiral reviews + honors sections if you go for Algebra 1 and beyond. I generally calculate these as 1 lesson+ lesson quiz per day. For honors he gets one day, for spiral reviews one day, and so on. We are well ahead of the schedule with math because it’s not overwhelming.
Mr. D has an e-mail system that sends weekly reminders of where kids should be if they want to finish by a certain date – following their live classes system.
We are in Algebra 1 this year and while Mr. D doesn’t provide a lesson plan from what I’ve seen beyond the e-mails.
If you want more specifics I can count the lessons or pages we have in Algebra 1 (they don’t have page numbers because they’re meant to be printed as you go) or you can e-mail them and ask how the lessons are planned. I never thought about this aspect because I have my own planning system and don’t generally consult the curriculum suggestions anyway.
I hope this helps, and if you want me to count the pages I can do that, too.
Thank you for stopping by and hope to hear from you soon!