Saturday, October 24, 2009

Teaching Textbooks Review

Well, we are going on week 9 of school! I can't believe it! It has gone by so quickly. I am still so impressed with the curriculum the Lord led us to. I especially want to brag on my 4th graders math curriculum.
Last year I was not very pleased with our choice. It jumped around with almost no review. She would start multiplication for a chapter or two, then skip to division, then we were measuring, then more multiplication. And all this time, there was no review of what she had already learned. I tried to supplement with flash cards and extra worksheets, but it wasn't helping.
By the middle of the year I was extremely frustrated, but also scared to change curriculum. Would I know where to start? What if we start in the middle and miss something she needed? What if we started at the beginning and didn't finish in time for testing? Obviously her testing showed both the poor curriculum and my fear.
At the conference this year I poured over math curriculums. One in particular caught my attention. Honestly the reason it caught my attention was that my friend Karen was the representative for them! She had a daughter who struggled with math the previous year and for that present school year she had changed to TEACHING TEXTBOOKS! I spoke with her for quite a while about the book and how it worked along with CD Rom for reinforcement. I brought the information home for Tim and I to go over with. We prayed about it and finally ordered it. I am so thoroughly impressed by it!
The difference? Last year, Amber used a curriculum that was designed for a Christian school. Not a homeschool. There is almost no explanation in a school designed textbook. It is mostly just assignments. Homeschoolers tend to be more independent and self sufficient, so there is more need for the explanation to be written in the student book. Teaching Textbooks have much more of an explanation than any other math book that we have used in the past. Amber listens to the lecture on the computer, does her work in her book, then gets back on the computer and enters her answers. Each problem is explained and if she gets the problem wrong, it tell her and gives her the chance to correct it. If she still gets it wrong, it will show her the proper way to do it and shows her the correct answer. Then all of her work is stored in a gradebook. I can acces it through the parent log in and she can look at her grades through her log in and password. I love this feature. If she does poorly on a lesson, I can delete the whole thing wich would then make her do it again when she logs back on, before she can move on! Which means mastery in that area. Not a bad grade and move on. She has to know it and do exceptionally well.
There are 119 lessons plus quizzes every few lessons. In 21 lessons she has a 98 average and on her quizzes (4 in all) she has a 99 average. I would definitely say that is an improvement over last year!! Check out their website. Right now they have 4th grade all the way up to Pre-Calculus. They will soon have the 3rd grade book and CD Rom available as well( Feb. 2010). While they are around $100 per set, they are well worth the money. They are completely re useable. you are able to change and add students whenever you want to, which means that more than one can use the curriculum! Here are some testimonials straight from their website:
Matt M. (Norman, OK)

"I made a perfect score on the math portions of both the SAT and the ACT. Teaching Textbooks covers all of the topics on these exams and gives you the conceptual understanding that you'll need to thrive as a future engineer."

Zia M. (Phoenix, AZ)

"I was a pre-med student at Johns Hopkins and in my view, Teaching Textbooks is the best math program for people who are planning for a career in medicine."

Catherine L. (Provo, UT)

"I'm almost 50 years old. My return to college necessitates that I learn Algebra 1 - something I always avoided because I was told over and over by teachers that "you aren't any good at math because you are good at English." Well, now you are proving them wrong! Thanks for giving me the confidence I always lacked and, more surprisingly, a love for algebra!"

Vicky M. (Atlanta, GA)

"We are thrilled with your Algebra I. What we like: interesting and humorous word problems (not that old dry stuff), constant review, the cute drawings, and, of course, the CDs are most helpful - the voice is so pleasant and non-threatening. You rock!"

Barbara F. (Oklahoma City, OK)

"My daughter finally gets it!!! This is the most understandable and student-friendly algebra program I've seen yet. The easy to understand lessons speak directly to the student and are written in clear language (not "Mathese"). So even the mathematically-challenged parent or student can grasp the concepts."

Patricia P. (Clayton, NC)

"Teaching Textbooks has been a life changing experience for our son."

Jeanette R. (Indianapolis, IN)

"Teaching Textbooks makes math a joy again."

Karen L. (Cave Springs, AR)

"I'm understanding all the things that none of my high school or college teachers were ever able to get across to me! I finally get it!!! Thanks for an excellent program."

Robyn L. (Athol, MA)

"WOW!!! You are an answer to prayers! Thanks and God bless you for your math program!"

Donna B. (Jacksonville, FL)

"We are using the Algebra 1 series that you wrote and LOVE it! This has been the best math program we have EVER used, bar none, in the 9 years we've homeschooled."

Allan & Jana G. (Oklahoma City, OK)

"It's like they sent an instructor to our home in the box!! Our daughter loves it!!!"

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