Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well, if you have to do math...

Over the last few months I’ve reviewed a few books and programs that I’ve used during our seven years of homeschooling.  Some worked (Sing, Spell, Read and Write, HPA), some, not so much (Classical Conversations).  Today, let’s look at the math curriculum I’ve used for the last four years, Teaching Textbooks.

First of all, you have to understand we never thought we’d homeschool through high school. Never. Ever. Ever.  And one of the main reasons was because Sean knew I could barely keep up with 7th grade math, much less algebra or geometry.  I am not at all ashamed to admit this; folks, I did the math I had to do in high school and promptly forgot it. The only math I need now involves figuring out a tip or a discount at the shoe store. And honey, I can flat do that math. But cosine or area or if a train leaves a station at 6 and another leaves at 7 heading the opposite direction… no thank you.

Anyway, as it became apparent we were going to teach Michael algebra at home, I went looking for a program I could easily set before him that he would understand on his own.  Sean could help him occasionally, but for the most part, Michael had to be able to understand it all by himself. And that’s when my friend Shawna suggested Teaching Textbooks. 

Teaching Textbooks is a complete math program. It comes with a textbook, tests and CDs that both teach the lesson and explain each problem in the book. Did you hear that last part – the one that said the CD’s teach each lesson and explain each problem in the book? Home run time!

The authors, Greg and Shawn Sabouri are Harvard-educated brothers who set out to design a math program that would work well for home-based educators. They narrate each lesson and, as I said before, explain each problem in the book.

By watching the lessons and reading along in his book, Michael was able to complete his first course (Pre-Algebra) with flying colors. Since then he’s completed Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and he’s just about to finish up Pre-Calc.  Amy is following in his footsteps; she completed Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and is about to finish Algebra II. 

Rebecca is also having great success with Teaching Textbooks. She completed Math 4 last year and is working through Math 5 this year.

Some folks complain the program is not rigorous enough. That has not been our experience. I want my kids to understand the major concepts and Teaching Textbooks clearly explains what high school students need to know. Y’all, if Sean, Mr. Math, didn’t think it was a good program, do you really think we’d be using it?

Even though it is a complete, stand-alone program, I opted to enlist the help of a tutor for the past two years. My kids enjoy having someone to talk to about the problems. They could talk to me but I have no answers. Well, not about math… It’s been great to have Sheri come once a week to review their lessons and answer questions.  By the way, she teaches at the local community college and she is a fan of the program, too. (Not the pre-calc book so much, but definitely the others.)

I love Teaching Textbooks.  This program took away a major obstacle to homeschooling through high school. And even though it’s math, I have to admit the way the Sabouri brothers teach is fun and easy to understand.