Homeschool Advice: Horizons Versus LifePac?

Drama Queen needs math curriculum.

She’s good on Science, History, Health, Handwriting, Grammar and Reading — all hand me downs from Princess or other friends. But math? Not a thing.

Princess didn’t even HAVE a second grade math curriculum. And I’m not kidding. We were So. Broke. I scoured 2nd grade math scope & sequence charts, I read the table of contents from a friend’s Saxon math book, I made a list of things she needed to learn and then I found games, resources and worksheets online to make sure she got all the bases covered. It was a PAIN. In the TONKUS.

I suppose I could do that again… but did I mention it was a PAIN? And now I have an older child to school and a rambunctious boy preschooler (that BOY part is important to note, see) who gets tired of school quickly and impatient waiting for his sisters to finish so I’m not quite sure I have that kind of time on my hands. SEEWHATIMEAN?

So. Drama Queen needs math curriculum. And I’m not sure which one. I *could* get Saxon (since Saxon books are what I have waiting for her for 4th, and 5th.) We could just go down that yellow brick road and stick to it.


There’s always the OR.

I’ve also been looking at Alpha Omega’s LifePac & Horizons (particularly tempting because they’re on sale right now* and I’ve been wanting to try some of their curriculum. Trying one math book first makes sense.)

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you a little bit about Drama Queen, then you’re going to leave your two cents. And your going to tell all your friends to come leave their two cents, too. Deal? 😉

Drama Queen, Age 7

  • Very active, can’t sit still for long, but is getting better.
  • LOVES MATH. Would rather do math than reading any day.
  • Does well with worksheets. She enjoys completing them. Can get on the kick of “And can I do the next one? And the next one?” and really enjoys completing an entire workbook.
  • Likes shorter lessons and getting straight to the work (doesn’t like to sit and listen for the longer lessons and then she’s tuned out by the time you get to the work part.)
  • Can read well (even if she doesn’t like it) and is able to read the instructions, etc.
  • Math comes more naturally for her and when I try to explain the “how” of it sometimes she tells me “you’re making it confusing.”

This is my tomboy girly-girl, so much like her brother, overly dramatic, short attention span, very talkative, math-lovin handful of a 2nd grader.

So now if you have a curriculum that you use/have used in the past that you think would be a good fit for her (or not, we can rule some out, too) then I would LOVE to hear from you!! Especially if you’ve used LifePac or Horizons in the past, I’m really interested to know more about those. Pretty please?

*Re: Alpha Omega’s sale, I have a sponsor link in my sidebar if you’re looking for that.
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April 28, 2010 11:00 pm

Hi! I would highly recommend – it’s been called the homeschooler’s answer to Saxon. (Timberdoodle has a great review on it.) My children have used/are using Math 5, 7, Pre-Algebra and are biting at the bit for Math 3 to come out any day now… Everything from Math 4 up through Pre-Calculus is available. At their website, they have placement tests for each level, along with sample lessons and tables of contents. What I LOVE about this curriculum is the automated gradebook on the computer up through Math 7! No grade recording for me! I just print out the… Read more »

April 29, 2010 9:42 am

Kimarie – LOL! I’ve actually looked at teaching textbooks recently, but noticed (as you pointed out) that it’s not available at the age level I’m needing. Bummer! Princess is using the Saxon Math 5/4 book right now and I already have the 6/5 book here. But maybe after she’s through with that, we’ll give the teaching textbooks a go. (It certainly seems like it would be a GREAT resource once you start getting into the higher math!) She watched the tutorial video with me and thought it looked pretty cool. =)

April 29, 2010 10:03 am

Hello there! My name is Ryan and I work for Alpha Omega Publications. I just wanted to give a little “insider” insight that might potentially help you out. I think you’d be better off using Horizons for her for a few reasons: It’s more colorful than LIFEPAC and would keep her attention. Since she likes to move quickly it would be great as Horizons introduces concepts a little more quickly – and especially since she seems to grasp math well. It’s also more challenging than LIFEPAC, which might be good for her as well. Both are workbook-based, so that’s definitely… Read more »

April 29, 2010 1:53 pm
Reply to  Ryan

Ryan – WOW! Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I really appreciate it! Knowing the Horizons is more challenging is good to know, I kind of expected it to be the other way around. I just looked over the sample worksheets for both of them with her, and I was leaning towards Horizons because I’m also concerned that there’s more reading in the Lifepac, and she’s not as good at the reading, I don’t want it to hold her back on her math learning or make it less enjoyable for her. She fell in love with the Lifepac the second… Read more »

April 29, 2010 10:10 am

Hi Amber- We used Horizons for about half a year when my daughter was in 2nd grade. It’s pretty and definitely covers things. I have looked at (physically, opened the workbooks) AO too. The main differences I see are the way the topics are approached. Horizons Math hits a LOT of concepts every day. You will have 3 problems of adding, 3 of subtracting, 4 with basic pre-algebra (solving for unknown), a small graph, a fraction pie wedge, etc ALL IN ONE ASSIGNMENT. If you child doesn’t grasp new concepts quickly she will soon get lost (which P did). She… Read more »

April 29, 2010 1:40 pm
Reply to  Dawn

Dawn – Saxon is the same way as the Horizons sounds. Introduce new concept, do some of that, and a little bit of everything else you’ve already learned. I think Drama Queen could probably HANDLE the thinking work, either way. I know the Lifepacs come in a set of small worktexts – it looks like the Horizons has a teacher book and two workbooks? I’m also wondering about the Worksheet packet for sale on their page. She looked at the sample pages of both with me. I had her reading directions and sections from the worktext to see if she… Read more »

April 29, 2010 12:58 pm

Would highly recommend Horizons–we’ve been using it for two years with my now 9 and 6 year-olds. They love it! In fact, my son is doubling up on his math lessons to catch up to the third grade level, and it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. Very easy, but it also has great consistent review!
Hope this helps!

April 29, 2010 1:42 pm
Reply to  Laura

Thanks, Laura! That’s so good to know! She’d most likely be doing extra pages, too. And I’m totally cool with her moving ahead if she wants to.

April 30, 2010 1:53 pm

[…] in my sidebar!) and I ordered the 2nd Grade Horizons Math for Drama Queen. We’re going to test the Horizons waters with this one and if we like it, we’ll order more subjects for 3rd grade, and try them, too! […]

Why We Love Horizons Math For Our Busy Learners - A Review » A Classic Housewife in a Modern World
May 9, 2013 2:53 pm

[…] since an Alpha Omega representative took time to comment on my post “Horizons Versus Lifepac,” we’ve been sold. It’s a really good fit for my Drama Queen who grasps the math […]

January 21, 2016 11:30 pm

I’m trying to decide between Lifepac and Horizons for my daughter this fall as she’ll be 5. We’ve been homeschooling since she was 3.5 because she’s a smarty pants, our first child, and I couldn’t wait to start homeschooling!!!! Lol. So, that being said, we’ve used Horizons 3 year old Preschool and just started the 4 year old set which we will complete just before we start her in 5 year old/kindergarten curriculum this fall. And so far she has little math experience, but ohhh she is smart as a whip! And a short attention span. She gets frustrated when… Read more »

February 2, 2016 10:12 pm
Reply to  Amber

Yes, that helps. Thank you! We ended up ordering the Preschool set and it arrived last week. It looks fantastic and I’m sure it will be the right amount of challenge and fun for my sweet one. Im so excited to start her in it next week! We only ordered curriculum because we didn’t have funds for the multimedia set that compliments it, but now that I’ve read through a few of the lessons in the teacher’s guide, I can see that although the curriculum would be sufficient on its own, there’s a great deal that we would miss out… Read more »

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