My girls are getting older and I’m always on the lookout for where we are heading with math in the higher grades. I’ve had my eye on Math Essentials for a while now because of recommendations, incredibly low price, and the availability of video lessons if desired. I was super excited to have the opportunity to review No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials. I decided to have my middle daughter, Beth, give this a try. She is beginning 5th grade, but has always found math to be both enjoyable and fairly easy. To be honest, she’s never been challenged really. My husband and I decided it would be good for her to give this a try and see how she did. I also have been working hard to brush up on my own mathematics skills. It isn’t my strength, but this does not need to mean it is a weakness. I’ll touch on my own experience at the end of the review. I love the title. No-Nonsense is absolutely the best description for this course! There are no frills or excessive practice pages. Honestly, there isn’t a need with the direct way the course approaches math is beautiful. I struggled to excel in mathematics once I passed the elementary levels and I can’t help but think a more stream-lined approach may have helped me. The instructional videos are clear and easy to follow. They are also fairly short, so if a student needs to watch a video again it will not feel it is taking an excessive amount of time.
As I said before Beth is entering into 5th grade, but has never found math challenging. She just turned 10 and almost always makes a perfect score on every math assignment I give her. I honestly rarely even have to “teach” a concept to her in the traditional way because she intuitively understands mathematics concepts and reading the instructional information is usually enough. Because of these things which are consistently true to her nature I was pretty certain she would do well with this Algebra course. I was not disappointed! Beth thoroughly enjoyed doing her math on the computer. I was a little surprised because while she enjoys the screen time we give her, she’s never been one to ask for computer-based learning. She told me she liked the lesson because it was easy to understand. Because Beth finds math easy, it is never a subject she complains over completing. What was really neat to see was that she was even more eager to complete math lessons than usual and this is really high praise indeed!
Since Beth is young compared to most students beginning an algebra course, I had her take more than one day for each lesson. This was an excellent pace for her. The first day she watched the video and completed half of the written work. I would check the work. If there were multiple errors the second day she would watch the lesson again if needed and correct her errors. If there were no errors we moved forward and finish the rest of the written work. This gave her between 8 and 10 problems a day which worked very well.