Does anyone use Khan or LOF for their MAIN elementary math program?

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  • I’ve been using Math Mammoth with my elementary crew and I think it’s very solid, but… IDK. It’s been a couple of years and it’s just growing…boring? repetitive? We also use some Life of Fred and Khan Acadmeny. In fact, my 7yo is just thriving with Khan. For the past few weeks my 2nd & 4th grader haven’t done any Math Mammoth and just been doing some LOF Elementary books and some Khan.

    Does anyone use either of those as their main math curriculum? It had been my intention to keep MM the main one and supplement with the others, but…ya. And then we have Primary Challenge Math which never gets done because there’s no time for more math with everything else. I am torn because I think part of what needs to happen in math is lots of repetition and I don’t feel like they will get that with Khan or LOF. Well, maybe Khan because of the “levels” working towards mastery.

    I’ve read some old threads along these lines but would love to hear of anyone doing this now or any thoughts on doing it this way in a long-term scenario. I do have Strayer-Upton’s Practical Arithmetics that I used with my now-college kids, so that’s another resource I have. Just trying to figure out how to plan it out and have a really strong math program instead of just the usual “do the next thing” math curriculum. Thanks!


    We are using LOF as our main curriculum, 3 times per week.  Then we do Primary Challenge Math once a week and Hands On Equations once a week, and various math facts drills a few minutes a day.  DD8 is in grade three, working on “Ice Cream” and DD6 is in grade one, working on “Honey” (he’s a bit of a math geek).  When we were doing Fred everyday, we were moving so fast that I worried about hitting skills sooner than my kids were developmentally ready for them.  This slows it down and gives them time to apply the concepts they have learned.  I’ve tried Khan, but my kids think it’s boring.  It’s on my radar for more practice if we need it, though.  Ditto for IXL.

    I plan to take a break from Fred once we get through the first 10 elementary books, which is what we own so far.  Then I’m going to have them do the SCM Pet Store Math to work more on applying the skills and to see what they might need more review on.  Then I’ll decide whether to continue with Fred or do something else.  I also own Math on the Level, which I refer to as needed, and we may go to using that as our main curriculum.  I always thought math was going to be the easiest subject, because it’s my favourite, but there are just so many fun options, that I can’t limit it to just one!  I’ve spent more on math than most other subjects put together.  I can always resell things later, right?  Right?  Innocent



     I can always resell things later, right?  Right?  Innocent

    You just keep telling yourself that, Joanne. 😉

    How long have you guys been following this plan? Do your girls do the PCM and HOE together? I actually think I have HOE  (yes, that’s right, I’m not sure Embarassed) — what level is that written to? And yet one more question: how do you use PCM with the 3 levels of problems? (Do your girls read it together, then each does a different level of problems, or do they do multiple levels of problems, that kind of thing.)

    And finally, how long do you guys spend each day doing math this way? Sorry about all the questions, but I’m very interested in your experiences!


    First, a correction.  I typed it wrong.  DS6 is a boy.  In case it matters.

    Anyway, we’ve only been doing this for this school year.  We are in week 6.  So it looks like this:

    LOF – done separately, each in a different book.  We do one chapter, 3 times per week.  That takes about 10 minutes.

    HOE – The materials say Grade 3 and up.  As I mentioned DS6 is a mathy kid, so he tags along and keeps right up with big Sis.  We all watch the video together, discuss the example given, and make sure everyone knows what it going on.  Then they use their pawns and dice to work through the questions on the lesson sheet independently (with guidance as needed).  They do the questions in random, different order, because otherwise they compete.  DS6 is FAST FAST FAST with mental math, and DD8 gets frustrated that her little brother figures it out faster.  She, however, writes the answers down more quickly.  So they generally finish about the same time.  DD6 sometimes complains about having to do all the questions (mostly because of the writing), so I just let him do a few until he tires, or he just models them, and I write the answers down.  He is very young for this program, so I’m okay with him just picking up whatever he does.  We can do it again later as needed.  This all takes about 15 minutes, sometimes 20 if DD8 wants to do all of the review questions. (I don’t require them all, but she loves the program, so often does them anyway.)  Once we complete Level 1, we’ll do the verbal problems.  I don’t know how long that will take.  We’ll work through all of the questions, about 15 minutes at a time until we are done.  Then I’ll see if I think they are ready for Level 2, which introduces negative numbers. 

    PCM – My kids do this one on different days.  Did I mention competition?  Sigh.  The first day we read through the ‘story’ and examples together, then the child does Level 1.  The next week, we review as needed, then do Level 2.  The third week, I give the child the option of attempting Level 3.  So far DD8 has done Level 3 for the first 2 lessons, but not Einstein level.  DS6 hasn’t wanted to try Level 3, but also took 2 weeks to get through level 2 for each lessons, so they are at the same point.  When each is done the book, I plan to have them go through again and try the higher levels. This is probably about 15 – 20 minutes as well.

    Basically, we just keep moving forward in each book and we’ll see how far we get.  We school year round, anyway, so we’ll just going.  The HOE is totally cool.  (That’s my highly sophisticated analysis.)  Not only are they learning algebra concepts, but it’s great practice for skip counting and addition, without the monotony of drill.  They are both working on the multiplication tables in LOF, so it’s perfect.  PCM gives them a chance to see how math is applied to real life, as well as figure out things like addition with fractions (1/2 and 1/3) even though they haven’t done them before, just by relating to what they already know from life experience.

    Then we also do some basic facts review, probably about 5 – 10 minutes.  So we might do 30 minutes a day total, but usually not quite that much.  For facts review we’ve done flashcards, Timez Attack (stresses my kids out, but they keep wanting to do it anyway), and card games.  We also just finished making Multiplication Clocks, which are a fun visual way to work with the facts.   

    It’s a bit of an eclectic mix, but it’s all meshing together nicely so far.



    My youngest is using LOF exclusively this year. We started off by trying Liver just to see if we liked it. Well, she LOVED it. So, since she is in 4th grade, I went ahead as the author suggested and ordered the first 10 elementary books. We are sailing through these and once completed, we will continue with Mineshaft and…whatever “N” is. Can’t recall off the top of my head. But I anticipate these being completed in the spring. We will then do some consumer math and Kahn Academy exercises before continuing on with the LOF series.

    My daughter went from anxiety and tears when the math book came out (last year) to looking forward to math every day since switching to LOF. Since we are really at the beginning of our LOF journey, I can’t provide you much more info beyond initial enthusiasm. Prayerfully, part of our success will be measured in how she does in the end-of-year assessment. I am hopeful!

    I love reading about both of your experiences with this — thank you! It’s good to hear from others, even if you’re at a similar point on the path as I am. 😉  And thanks, Joanne, for all the extra explanations about how you’re handling your weekly schedule. 

    Math facts drill are my lingering concern. Joanne, you mentioned your kids do 5-10min — that’s each day, right? We have used those triangle flashcards (which I do love as far as flashcards go because it gets them seeing fact “families”), but I am going to have to consider what else to do for that. Is Timez Attack an app? I’m not familiar with multiplication clocks but I wlll look into that. If anyone has any great ideas for strengthening math facts through games, apps, etc., I’d love to hear them.


    Rapid recall(little giant step) was recommended here before, it looks like a good program for math facts. I am considering using that w/LOF.

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