Monday, August 31, 2015

Taming the Math Monster with Teaching Textbooks

Math. Need I say more? That prickly, icky, stinky monster called Math has a arch rival, and it's name is Teaching Textbooks. Years ago, when I was just getting into the realm of homeschooling Middle School, I ran upon this beastie called Math. Up until that time I really didn't have any issues in dealing with Math. IT had always behaved quite well.

Then it happened. I went out and bought a used edition of a well known Math curriculum. It even had it's own tutorial CD with it. I had been warned to not purchase the CD-Rom that was not produced by the publishing company of the Math I had just bought. I was told it was just the answers and no extra help. So I listened. The first year was a pretty good one. My 8th grader was doing well at working independently on half of an Algebra (those who have researched math curricula, as well as used this math will understand my wording completely.)  The lady on the tutorial was helpful...except for going back and pointing out common mistakes made on particular processes that can be easily forgotten. I'm no expert on mathematics, but the materials we had used up until this point always had tips and helpful advice for the student who would forget to remember these steps and concepts.

The next year I found that even though I had purchased the next level of the same curriculum, the lady in the CD-Rom was totally different in how she worked Algebraic equations; and didn't bother to go over what step you may have missed if  you got the problem wrong. She basically wrote out what was already in the teacher's solutions manual, which I already had!.

Even though I got A's and B's in Alg I & II, it had been 25 years or better since sitting in a classroom and stuff in my brain has disappeared since then! King Bee, however, was a great help at teaching things that I got stumped on cause he is a brainiac when it comes to how to handle the Math beastie.

Once I realized this particular curriculum was not all that and a bag of fries, I started researching and complaining to friends. I was told of a thing called Teaching Textbooks. I went to the website many many times. The price was the one thing holding me back because I'd already put out good money for a book with a CD-Rom and regretted it. I really didn't want to go that route again; always looking over my shoulder at that Monster wondering when IT was going to wreck mine and my child's brain.

So in the past two years I've taken this beast by the horns and purchased the one thing that has tamed our Math Monster. TEACHING TEXTBOOKS!!!  I can not say enough good things about this curriculum. The student hears the same instructors voice throughout all grade levels. His style is inviting and clear. The student book is like a typical textbook, except the key concepts and information is highlighted for the student. This is a great help for the student who is just not good at taking notes or recognizing important info to make note of. The book is a little daunting though because of it's massive size, and so far this has been the case for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, and Geometry. Geometry....UGH. A beast of a different breed entirely. However, my child is doing way better at it than I ever ever ever ever did. You will see once you start combing through the pages that they have given the student plenty of room to make extra notes, as well as room for working the problems. So don't let the size of the book throw you for a loop when you open the shipping box.

The process that they suggest using is to watch the lesson, do the problem, watch the tutorial for the problems missed. My process is a little different, which includes having my child read the lecture and lesson before in the actual book before doing any work on the laptop. To me this just helps the student to comprehend the concepts better.

I'm not even going to give you a list of pros for TT. You just need to hope on over to their site and check out what they have to offer for yourself. They've just updated their website and it's easier as ever to surf through their very organized information on their product.

Teaching Textbooks

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