As you may suspect, Ray's New Practical Arithmetic starts right out with Numbers and Figures. Every student must connect one object with the numeral 1 and the name "one." I was never a "sentence problem" kind of student, but the beginner "Oral Exercises" can be so much fun with the little ones. There is nothing like watching those little light bulbs click on! It has been my experience with other math programs that, in my humble opinion, they start the children on multiplication and division far too early. Even though this Primary book introduces multiplication and division, it's done in one of the simplest ways I have seen. But, once again, you know your children best. Use your own judgment as to when to dig deeper with your children.

Ray's New Intellectual Arithmetic begins with a review of addition and subtraction, including sentence problems, tables, and written problems. Since the book is recommended for third and fourth grades, it is a more appropriate time to work into multiplication and division. The tables are laid out perfectly, and this would be a good time to memorize them. You will not want for exercises; this book is replete with material.

From there we move on to fractions, tables, ratios, and percentages. The detail covered in this volume is something to be admired, and you will certainly understand how such a little book can easily be used for two years.

For grades 5 and 6 we move on to Ray's New Practical Arithmetic. This book takes students into the differences between the Arabic and Roman systems of notation and place value. After a review of addition and subtraction, we move into contractions of multiplication and division. From there we move into what my children always considered the "fun" side of math: money, measuring, time, miscellaneous tables, compound numbers, longitude, and time; then on into factors. This point would be a good stopping point for fifth grade so that in sixth grade we can move on to decimals, the metric system, percentages, interest, exchange of monies from different countries, insurance, taxes, ratio, and beginning geometry. These are very full years.

The last volume is Ray's New Higher Arithmetic, suggested for seventh and eighth grades. Here you will have the option of reviewing addition and subtraction or moving on to higher multiplication and division. Upon first glance at the table of contents, it would seem that there will be a lot of review; true on one hand, but not on the other. Once again there will be work on properties, fractions, decimals, ratio and percentage; but we will work at a much deeper level to include what are essentially introductions into accounting principles, taxes, stocks, profit and loss, commission, and algebra.

If you want to teach your children using the tried and true methods that worked so well for our forefathers and our grandparents, you will thoroughly enjoy using these wonderful reproduction books. There's truly nothing like them.


You will find both sets available through Christian Book Distributors (CBD) at or 1-800-247-4784. Books can be purchased in completed sets or separately.

Kim Wolf loves living in a small Ohio town with her husband of 21 years and their two teen daughters.  They have homeschooled since 1993 and are very active in the music ministry of their church.  She is a Miami County homeschool coordinator, a freelance writer, speaker, and Ohio coordinator for TOS.

Copyright 2007. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Fall 2007. Used with permission.