Spiral Math: Why It Works

Our Simply Good and Beautiful Math curriculum uses a spiral method to teach math. Let’s talk about spiral math—why it works and how we use this approach! 

Many parents ask whether our math curriculum uses a spiral or mastery approach, and others wonder what the difference is between the two. We answer these important questions in the video and blog post below! 

What is spiral math? 

Math curriculums today typically use one of two types of teaching methods: spiral or mastery. 

  • A spiral approach presents a new concept, provides practice on that concept, and then moves to another skill. Each skill is reviewed and revisited throughout math levels, always adding to prior learning.
  • A mastery approach focuses on teaching one full concept completely before moving to a new skill.
Girl practicing concept using spiral math game.

Spiral math builds a strong foundation that continues to grow throughout the years.

Is Simply Good and Beautiful Math spiral or mastery?

Simply Good and Beautiful Math uses the spiral approach. Below we list a few examples of how it is used throughout the courses and three reasons this method works.

#1  Gently introduces students to new concepts.
Photograph of boy working on Math K Course

This approach slowly builds a student’s confidence and understanding of a concept over time. For example, the early levels introduce addition using manipulatives and then progress to written problems.

Students slowly progress from single-digit addition in Math 1 to adding multi-digit numbers in Math 2. They retain math concepts better than in the mastery approach because of a continued connection between new learning and prior knowledge.

Math K Course Set
Math 1 Course Set
Math 2 Course Set
#2  Reviews concepts often, helping children retain prior lessons while learning new ones.
Photograph of girl working on Math 3 Course

Simply Good and Beautiful Math excels at this by including review sections after each lesson. The courses provide math reviews within the same level, but also across grades.

For example, Math 3 teaches students how to identify quadrilaterals, while Math 4 and Math 5 review and build upon this concept by classifying different types of quadrilaterals.

Math 3 Course Set
Math 4 Course Set
Math 5 Course Set
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#3  Provides variety.
Photograph of Math Course Book in Grass with Pinecones

Children revisit concepts more frequently in spiral math courses than in mastery ones. They do not get stuck on one concept for a long period and then become discouraged, fatigued, or bored.

For example, Simply Good and Beautiful Math 6 provides many lessons on multi-digit multiplication and long division. The concepts continue throughout the entire course, and students master them by the end rather than in one unit. This allows other skills to grow between these important math concepts and gives students variety in their learning. 

Then in Simply Good and Beautiful Math 7 students explore probability, basic statistics, and beginning geometry using engaging themes to make real-world connections to nature, God, science, art, music, engineering, and more!

A Simply Good and Beautiful pre-algebra course is in development now with an anticipated Spring 2025 release.

Covers Math 6 Course Set
Homeschool Math Curriculum for Grade 7 from The Good and the Beautiful
Homeschool Math Course Book Covers for Kindergarten to Grade 7

Pair these advantages of spiral math with the teaching style and quality of Simply Good and Beautiful Math, and you’ve got a winning math curriculum. It engages students with real-world math and connects them to cultures, nature, art, God, and high moral character. This curriculum builds a strong foundation in math that continues to grow throughout the years. It truly is simply good and beautiful math!

Graphic of dots in a line -1B

Download our free homeschool math curriculum today!

Free Printable Homeschool Math for Kindergarten to Grade 7
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  • Mary Caron

    Great read. I have been wondering what the difference in spiral vs. mastery is and this article clearly explains the difference. I love that it also gives a deeper dive into the spiral method and how and why it works.

  • Lorena Contreraz

    Very helpful and insightful! Such a beautiful and colorful math. Nothing like it!

  • Gabby Tovar

    Love this explanation of spiral math!! We switched our oldest to it and he’s leaned and retained so much more than he has in the past!! Absolutely love this approach.

  • Natalie Bublitz

    I’m so excited to start the kindergarten Math with my daughter this fall.

  • Maia

    Is this a curriculum recommended for schools?

    • Customer Support

      Thank you for your interest, Maia! We encourage you to take some time to review the sample pages (or full course options when available) to see if The Good and the Beautiful would be a good fit for your school. While our courses are mainly used by homeschooling families, there are many schools, co-ops, and other groups who use our products and resources.