If you’ve followed my blog at all you know math is the one area I feel the least confident in teaching. My own feelings of inadequacy stem from confusion during my grade-school years. When I’m looking for a math curriculum I want it to be simple to teach and simple to complete.
My husband has been taking over the math teaching for the girls for most of this year. He was intending to become a math teacher before he felt God’s call into ministry. He has what one would call a mathematical mind. Things make sense to him with numbers where it somewhat mystifies me. My daughters also seem to be responding well to this change, but I wanted to give teaching
Understanding Pre-Algebra from The Critical Thinking Co.™a try for myself.
The layout of the book is very simple The teaching portion is short and direct with practice after. Since Rose is already working through a Pre-Algebra course we started in Geometry, a section we have not yet covered this year. I was very pleased to find it easy to teach, even for someone who feels somewhat lost in the world of mathematics. I would review the material first and then sit with her while we worked through it. While we focused heavily in the geometry section this is one of the most comprehensive pre-algebra courses I have seen. It covers algebraic equations, graphing, and even basic number theory. It is definitely a full course and will more than prepare your student to be successful in an algebra I course.
I liked the step-by-step breakdowns and the fact that only a single topic was covered with connections to previous lessons when needed. The layout was appealing and organized, something very important for a math book! There was space lacking for working out some of the problems. Some kids will do this math in their heads, but Rose needs to put pencil to paper for accuracy. Here she is doing some of the steps on a separate page before transferring the answers to the paper.
This is available as both a digital and print edition. We received the print edition, and I greatly appreciated that there is permission given to make copies within your family. I reuse our materials as much as possible and love having this option.
While I really loved the simplicity and structure of this course, Rose was not as big of a fan of the new book. She said she wanted to have more application to real life. While I see her point, I think the problem for her was simply a change from routine. She actually did quite well with the work and recalled concepts without any problems. As with most math books she expressed she felt there were too many practice problems. I strongly disagree. I thought there were just the right amount and I did not feel it was redundant or unnecessary in length.
While I did appreciate the simplicity of teaching, I felt as if the book was written more to be done independently by a student rather than taught by the teacher. I find this fantastic, but it is not the best way for Rose to learn math. Beth, who will be coming up to Pre-Algebra in a year or so, is a completely different story. She excels when given work she can master without our input. She also loves mathematics and is generally able to complete her daily work with little help from either my husband or myself and with a high percentage of accuracy when I check it. After seeing how things are presented I’m intending to have Beth start this course next year as a 6th grader. I think she will be ready and it definitely lends itself more towards her learning style than Rose’s.
There are so many options for mathematics and it can feel overwhelming. This is not a course I realized existed and if you are looking for a no-frills, just the facts type of core for pre-algebra, this is definitely a course worth exploring.
We on the Crew reviewed quite a few other titles from The Critical Thinking Co.™. Make sure to take some time to check them all out! I’m very impressed with this company which is a new resource for our family and will be checking into some of these other titles myself! Make sure to check out the other reviews from my Crewmates!