A Teaching Textbooks Review:
Looking for that perfect Math curriculum? Well, I am not sure that it truly exists. However, I wish I had found Teaching Textbooks sooner. I can’t say enough good things about it. At first I was reluctant because I had tried so many different math curriculum that I thought this was sure to turn out like all the others- always something not quite right. I simply felt that a Math program that didn’t require a ton from me was too good to be true.
Let me tell you more about it in contrast to the other programs I have used. I hope my experiences, will help you determine if Teaching Textbooks is right for you.
When I began with my first child, now in college, I remember that at first I was not particularly worried where math was concerned, after all… I am fairly good at math and this was only elementary math at the time. However, I was homeschooling because he was designated ADHD by the school system, and so if something was dis-likable to him or boring from the get go, it was already a struggle for him to complete assignments.
Compared to Modern Curriculum Press
We started with Modern Curriculum Press, third grade. This book made us both pull our hair out. There were long drills and assignments that he struggled to finish. It was a time when we were both not sure if homeschooling was the answer. Thankfully, with a lot of prayer and a little determination, we survived. I was able to adapt many assignments and come up with strategies for helping him focus on one problem at a time.
Here is one of my favorites:
*Take a piece of construction paper, cut a hole in the middle-just the size of one problem-and use it to cover the page of problems showing only the one problem to be done. This eliminated some stress over being overwhelmed by the amount of problems to do. And of course, I quickly learned that we didn’t have to do all fifty problems.
Looking back now if he had Teaching Textbooks:
- It is computer based and he would have loved that.
- Lessons are direct.
- One problem presented at a time (great for an ADHD kid).
- It’s explained simply.
- Problems are practiced enough but not over kill.
[tweetthis]We use #teachingtextbooks #math. Computer based, direct, one problem presented at a time, and is explained simply.[/tweetthis]
I can’t recommend Modern Curriculum Press (MCP) for anyone unless your child loves drill and thrives on doing multiple problems quickly. The book is generally dry, however there may be some who like it. I CAN, however, recommend their Kindergarten book. I used it with my third child. It was refreshing and to the point, likable, and easy to use. Since he was a “work book man” this worked out swell. It is fitting for kids who need some time spent on the basics in the early years, but might be a waste of time if your kid just gets it.
Compared to Singapore Math
So once we realized MCP was not for us it was off to try something else. We used a lot of Sonlight (still love and use many of their books) so I decided to try Singapore Math. I have to admit that this eliminated the problem with too much drill. But I soon found out that it was a bad thing, for us anyway. My two oldest children were in and out of different schools during their 1st-3rd grade years, so much of the basic education was taught by the schools. They did not have their math facts memorized to efficiency so that kept them from excelling to higher levels in the end.
** Can’t stress enough the importance of memorizing the math facts! Third grade is especially critical in learning those multiplication facts. So Singapore is good if you supplement and rely a great deal on your own teaching skills, this again demands a lot of the parent-teacher.
In comparison, I think Teaching Textbooks (TT) does give enough drill and is very comprehensive over time. It is presented simply, as Singapore Math is, but even though its simple, there is still enough daily drill to master concepts. It also requires very little of the parent teacher and keeps a grade book for you in the elementary years, which is fantastic! Yes, you still need to be available to assist and direct your child but it is designed for independence.
Compared to Saxon
Moving on now, after Singapore I chose Saxon. I have heard it is good in the first to third grades, but once it hits fourth grade it changes entirely. We used it in late middle school and early high school years, but not without strife. I used it for both my older two for Algebra 1/2 and Algebra. It was very difficult. I chose it because I trusted in it’s quality, but it ended up too challenging for many reasons:
- Too much drill. Explanations were easy for me to understand… but I am an adult and I have taken Algebra before, but for a beginner I think it was overkill. Explanations could be simpler.
- It required way too much of the parent-teacher. The Dive CD’s are good and are in the same direction of the TT CD’s but I found that for my kids, I still had to re-explain most of the material and we ended up not using them. So unless your child is advanced (in that case it may be great for you) I don’t recommend.
- I also didn’t like the way there was no separation of Geometry. Because even though my kids did get some Geometry in it, that could not easily be represented on a high school transcript.
Saxon ultimately slowed us down. I feel like if I had started them in High School with TT Algebra (9th), Geometry (10th), Algebra 2 (11th) and then Pre-Calculus (12th)… I know they would have done very well. And their transcript would look much better too. With Saxon it always took us more than a year to finish, or we just didn’t finish the book.
Now, with caution I stress……don’t panic too much. Even if your child is struggling in math, he can go to college someday. My oldest son, the one who was deemed ADHD has gone on to college and is getting his degree in Network Security, a Science degree. He got an A in his college physics class though we never did that in high school. He took Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Consumer Math in High school. What you choose for them in high school IS very important, but there are many ways to give your child the education you want and they need. It also depends on the route they want to take. It is OK if there is struggle in an area…in fact, it is normal. You just have to do the work. If you lack expertise in an area you can find alternatives and solutions.
Compared to A Beka
With my youngest after MCP Kindergarten we went to A Beka. I loved A Beka and credit it with his very strong base in Math. I did have to adapt the lessons from the teachers guide. I recommend just using the work text which is very affordable, but if you use the teachers guide just beware of a lesson that lasts over an hour. For me more than 45 min. for first- third grade is too much.
One thing to note is that after doing A Beka for second and third grade, my son tested into 4th grade TT as a third grader. For some kids TT in the early elementary may be too easy. But it definitely seems to level off by fourth or fifth grade to being appropriate challenge while remaining simple. It is perfect for the homeschooling environment as long as you like the idea of a computer based program. It may not be a good fit for the gifted in math child, but for the average student or for those of us less strong in math, it’s amazing!
There are numerous other good math programs out there but since I have no experience there I can’t help. I hope if your interested in Teaching Textbooks that this will help you make an informed decision. This review is a personal review. I am one homeschool mom happy to have finally found a good fit for our math program.
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