Spiral Math: Why It Works

Let’s talk about spiral math, why it works, and how our new Simply Good and Beautiful Math curriculum uses 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 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.

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

Why a spiral approach?

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

#1  Spiral math gently introduces students to new concepts.

Spiral math 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 work up 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.

#2  Spiral math reviews concepts often, helping children retain prior lessons while learning new ones.

Simply Good and Beautiful Math excels at this by including review sections after each lesson. The courses provide math review within the same level, but also across grades. For example, Math 3 teaches students how to identify quadrilaterals, while Math 4 and 5 review and build upon this concept by classifying different types of quadrilaterals.

#3  Spiral math provides variety.

Children revisit math 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 4 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. 

Pair these advantages of spriral math with the learning 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 spiral math curriculum builds a strong foundation in math that continues to grow throughout the years. It truly is simply good and beautiful math!

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  • I tried to click on Simply Good And Beautiful Math and the link doesn’t work.

  • This is our first year with home school and will begin shortly. My daughter was supposed to advance to 2nd grade and I figured I would buy #2math. However, after completing the math placement text she did not pass #2. Should I stick with #1 for the whole year? What are your recommendations?

    • Customer Support

      Thank you for your comment and welcome to homeschooling.

      While we would recommend that your daughter complete Simply Good and Beautiful Math 1, we do recognize that you know your child best and would know if she is ready for Simply Good and Beautiful Math 2. If your daughter missed placing into Math 2 by a small margin, we recommend that you review the concepts the child has not yet mastered before beginning Math 2. Although it is encouraged that the child has those important concepts mastered, Simply Good and Beautiful Math 2 reviews all the concepts assessed in the placement test. Our Simply Good and Beautiful Math 1-5 course books are available as free downloads if you wish to preview the courses before purchasing the physical books. We hope you and your daughter enjoy the course.

  • Customer Support

    Thank you for your interest in our new Simply Good and Beautiful Math courses, Gina! This will vary for each child so we would encourage you to download the free units to see if it is a fit for your child and family. While none of our courses were created with a focus on a specific need, like Dyscalculia, many families have found that they do work well for their children. We hope you find the perfect fit for your family!