If there is one subject I am uncomfortable with, it is math. As an adult, I am still TERRIBLE at it. In fact, I was thrilled when I got my iphone and had several apps to figure percentages along with a calculator. I still count on my fingers in my head-math just does not compute with me!
In spite of my own deficiency, because of my experience with my own kids-I wanted to offer a little advice for beginning homeschoolers, or homeschoolers with young learners. In my opinion before you ever even look for curriculum for your child(ren), you should make sure they have memorized some things.
1) Write numbers 1-100 in standard form, expanded form, and word form.
2) know all place values from the left of the decimal up to millions, and at least place value to the right of the decimal to thousandths.
3) know all basic math facts by heart for 0-10 in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
4) have a basic understanding for simple fractions.
(edited to add)
5)Basic money skills
You can do all of this without ever buying an expensive math program. There are many ways to teach this depending on what style of learner you have. With a visual you might try using flashcards or watching videos. With an auditory learners there are a lot of cd's with memorization songs-there are thousands of online worksheets you can print, or even a wipe off board with lines.
For me, this is my plan for my four little one's. I feel I have definitely learned that these skills are essential, in my opinion. I will not purchase a math program for my preschoolers until they have this down-even if it takes until 1st grade to do so.
For anyone who is past this point-and like me with math. Don't worry. There are scripted programs like Saxon math that will tell you exactly what to say while giving a lesson. I never had an issue with teaching a concept with a scripted lesson plan. Or, you can use a program like
Math U See, where you can use the CD with a math instructor who gives the lesson through the video. This is all my opinion of course, and different homeschool parents might have different advice. :)
On a side note-I'm excited to have found an art program for Matteo that I like. I'm surprised at my choice but it is a Mcgraw Hill pick called Understanding Art. This was recommended on a Charlotte Mason email loop, and I and Matteo both think he will really enjoy it. It is art through History in a chronological time line. I really like books that go in chronological order for history, but this combines art and history both. I think it will be a great addition to his schooling.