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Horizons Math

We have really struggled with math in our homeschool. I think that it is partly because math just isn’t our strongest subject. For a few of my children it is also from not learning certain concepts thoroughly in public school.

Because of these things we have also struggled to find the right math curriculum.

We have recently gone back to the math we started with – Horizons Math. I think leaving it the first time was because of the number of children needing one-on-one help. I wish we had stuck with it!

We have been using Horizons for a few months now and the children are doing really well with the spiral approach in math.

Sam’s Noggin

Horizons Math covers much in each level. It also covers some concepts like beginning algebra sooner than in other programs we have tried. The good news is that these concepts won’t be scary later on, as they are introduced very gently.

Horizons is a bit advanced, so we are not using per the grade level our students are in necessarily. They would have been further if we hadn’t tried other curricula but we live and learn I suppose.

Kindergarten level

Sam's Noggin

I rarely have to use the teacher’s manual because Horizons does a great job at self-teaching with examples and brief explanations. The lessons themselves are in-depth and cover new concepts as well as reviewing things previously learned. I know my children forget concepts without the spiral approach, so this is a great fit for us.

Sam's Noggin


  • Spiral approach works for our family.
  • The workbooks aren’t overly busy, with enough color to make them friendly.
  • Teacher involvement is low – I have only needed to reinforce a few concepts on the board.
  • Thorough – you won’t wonder if your child is getting enough.
  • Covers time and measurement.


  • I would love to see the price drop a little. {I feel the full kit with teacher manual is needed for most levels but can run up to $80 without a sale.}
  • Some lessons are a little long, I mark out sections my children can skip.

Horizons Math is the strongest math curriculum we have used. See the scope and sequence, starting on page 5. Timberdoodle has a sample of each level.

I suggest using the placement test before jumping in to buy a level.

~Written by Sam of Sam’s Noggin.

Sam (12 Posts)

Sam is a Christian homeschooling mom of six, married to Rick, her high school sweetheart. Rick was called to be a preacher, Sam was called to homeschool, and loves blogging about their journey. Her family leans on the Charlotte Mason, literature-based side of eclectic home education. Sam is interested in Bible study, photography, exercise, organizing, and sweet tea. You can find her blogging over at Sam’s Noggin.

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Mary May 21, 2012, 5:58 am

    Sam, this is the ONLY math curriculum we have used with success since we started homeschooling. We’ve done K,1,2,3 and 4. I will agree that it is very challenging – my current fifth grader is just finishing level 4, and I’m ok with that because it is so comprehensive.

    I appreciated this review!
    Mary´s last blog post ..And The Winner Is….

  • Christina Vickers May 21, 2012, 6:30 am

    I have been hearing wonderful things about Horizon math. We will be starting on the Kindergarten Math books in June. I realize the kindergarten books are probably less expensive than the upper grades, but I did find mine for less than $60 on CBD.com. That was both workbooks and the teacher’s book. We are doing Classical Conversations, so we will stick with Horizons through about 3rd grade and then hopefully switch to Saxon, just because the CC program is so heavily weighted toward Saxon. I have heard from fellow CC moms and read reviews on line that past 3rd or 4th grade, that Horizons Math kind of loses its value, its potency, so to speak. It becomes less effective. Have you gotten to those grades yet? What has been your experience with it? Thank you! :)

    • Sam @ Sam's Noggin May 22, 2012, 9:09 am

      Sorry Christina, I responded to you, but it ended up not attaching to your comment. Here is what I said: We are using grade 4, and I would disagree. Everyone has an opinion I suppose, but that wouldn’t be mine. :)
      Sam @ Sam’s Noggin´s last blog post ..Loving Our Path

  • Sam @ Sam's Noggin May 21, 2012, 7:08 am

    We are using grade 4, and I would disagree. Everyone has an opinion I suppose, but that wouldn’t be mine. :)
    Sam @ Sam’s Noggin´s last blog post ..Paths of Exploration Q&A- Part 3

  • Becky May 21, 2012, 8:52 am

    Horizons is the only Math we have used. My son is finishing 2nd grade now, and I was surprised at how much he was learning esp. compared to the CAT we just took. Starting Horizons K with my daughter this Fall, and going on to 3rd grade with my son. I average the cost of the teacher’s guide among 3 children and buy the workbooks when they are 20% off in April. Thanks for affirming our choice.

    • Sam May 21, 2012, 9:04 am

      I’m so glad you love it too!

  • Flamingo May 21, 2012, 11:36 am

    we used horizons and i thought it was fantastic and definitely one of the best. however, my son was giving me so much grief over math that i switched to Teaching Textbooks. TT doesn’t come close to Horizons, but for now I am letting him go with it. I plan on using Horizons with my youngest son and hoping it sticks.

    • Sam May 21, 2012, 11:57 am

      I found TT less helpful than I hoped. Going back to Horizons has been great!

    • Rachel May 21, 2012, 9:38 pm

      My daughters actually requested to not continue using TT. They wanted more review and to be able to skip questions they already knew how to do. My son has been using Horizons all along. My daughters used it for one year. I considered switching to something else but after looking at MANY other options I came back to Horizons. It has exactly what I’m looking for.

  • Eva Marina May 22, 2012, 9:19 pm

    I love Horizons Math! We used it for Kindergarten this year. It can be expensive, but I found mine (in like new condition) on eBay for $36! I just posted a pretty detailed review of the Kindergarten set on my blog, included some sample pages. You can read it here if you’re interested: http://emhomeschools.blogspot.com/2012/05/curriculum-review-horizons-math-k.html
    Eva Marina´s last blog post ..Curriculum Review | Horizons Math K

  • Shawn-Lynn August 30, 2012, 2:55 pm

    Hi ladies, I am still a relatively new homeschool, one yr. under my belt. I used Abeka 5 math last yr. with my 5 th gr. DD, It was very oriented to the independent student. I would like to do a math program next year where I had a teacher manual, where I could present the lesson and be somewhat more involved in the teaching; but with a program that is not too time consuming…..like Bob Jones math…..something like Rod and Staff but more academic. since you have had experience using Horizons….does Horizons math 6 look like it may be what I am looking for? ANY input would be greatly appreciated….. Thank You So Much fellow homeschoolers. In Christ, Shawn Lynn

  • Shannon Rivera November 16, 2012, 4:41 pm

    We have used nothing but Horizon’s math- K-6th grade. My older girls started with H2 and are now in H6. My youngest daughter is in H2 and started with HK and my son is working his way through HK. I love the spiral approach to math learning, especially for my girls. My son is feeling a little bored, so I let him go at his own pace.. He will more than likely finish early and start into H1 before Kindergarten’s end. The only cons I have with Horizons are with the Teacher’s guide. I would like to see it have a little bit more explanation of concepts, especially at the higher grade levels. I have to google math help sites to find a clearer way to explain vague explanations the book gives (this is at the H5 and H6 level). I do have to do “class” lessons in math with this math program.. especially as the work get’s a little more advanced. The explanations in the books can be difficult to decipher for kids – like LCM or Base 2. I would encourage parents to do some research on the weekend before the math week to make sure you know the concepts. As long as you are a weekend prepper, you will do fine with this curriculum. I also found that pulling the worksheets out of the back and storing them in a folder lets me make copies for my kids every year without having to buy loose leaf worksheet (save money). If you have more than one child who can use the curriculum, you can put the Teachers Guide into a Notebook and pull the worksheets out (as I mentioned) so that you only have to re-order student workbooks. This has worked for our family of four.

    I do have friends who have successfully navigated and preferred Teaching Textbooks and Math-U-See. Try a program and if it fits, stick with it.. if not, there are plenty of options available out there!

  • Sara December 19, 2012, 10:21 am

    Bravo on finding what works best for you family! So many people second guess their choices or go with something because someone else – or the group they belong in – did.

    Horizons Math did not do well at all with my son when he was in first grade – it was too colorful for him to concentrate. He’s a black and white kind of guy – so he was on Saxon (which I feel is a strong math curriculum), but got bored, acting like he couldn’t do the work, and we switched to Math-U-See. That worked great for a little while, until he got bored with it. I finally realized that he needed to go deeper. When he learned a concept, he needed to take that concept further than early elementary takes it, so I decided I would just look at what concepts from Saxon he should be learning and teach him my way (after all, I do have a degree in mathematics).

    Half way through second grade we switched to Teaching Textbooks 3. This has been wonderful for him! He has already learned from my coaching how to take a concept further, so he will do that on his own after he finishes the rest of his schoolwork. Although I can see how TTMath would not work for some children. It is about a semester behind than where I would like my children to be, so we start the next grade level of math mid-year. Teaching Textbooks does not introduce everything in the same order as other elementary books, but it does eventually get to them. I feel it is very important to also supplement some hands on math when you get to measuring length as well as angles.

    Now my third child is having problems. None of the curricula used of the first two worked for her, so since she is a colorful child, I have put her in Horizons. She is in second grade, but we started with Horizons 1 and do three review lessons a day until we get to a new concept. She is doing wonderfully this way, and with Horizons being a half semester ahead and Teaching Textbooks a half semester behind, I can try her on TT Math by the end of this school year and see how she does on that over the summer.

    We, too, are doing Classical Conversations, and I have found that TT Math at the early levels seems to go quite well with Saxon, which we will switch to in sixth grade. But as the teacher, I hold all rights to switching curricula when something does not work – even mid-year. =)

  • Sparrow June 19, 2013, 5:11 pm

    I absolutely love Horizons Math! I was a decent math student in public school (averaged A’s and B’s) but never felt that I actually understood what I was doing. My son and I have been using Horizons for 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd grade, and I feel like I am learning right along with him, filling in all those gaps that my own early education left out. I would recommend this math course to any homeschooler. For kindergarten, I struggled to find appropriate material and I always felt that my son wasn’t getting a good math background; thank goodness I found out about Horizons Math. It is a wonderful program that teaches about the actual concepts so things make sense instead of merely having students memorize facts.

  • Ingrid May 5, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Has anyone else ever found a significant amount of mistakes in Grade 4? I was really surprised when I marked that on a good handful of occasions we have found the answer text incorrect.

    We are international, I’m from New Zealand and my husband is from the UK, and we find the strategies for learning from Horizons quite different from how we learnt when we were at school. Which isn’t a complaint, just an observation.

    We very much appreciate the cyclic nature of Horizon learning. I do agree with a comment above that the further up the grades you go the less explanation and guidance of the concepts they give you, which is kind of scary for a non maths person like myself.

    We have very much enjoyed Horizon Grade 2 and 3 though.

  • Amy Morgan June 8, 2014, 4:53 pm

    I left and came back to Horizons also. My daughter is nine and she gets bored easy. I added Kumon workbooks to the mix. That seemed to break it up enough to keep her interested.
    Amy Morgan´s last blog post ..What we are doing now.

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