Friday, August 3, 2012

Teaching Textbooks Review

I HATE Math.

There. I said it.

Math to me, is like a foreign language. One I don't understand. Sort of like Chinese.

In my day to day life, I don't ever use any of the advanced Math that I was tortured with in school. I only ever took up to Algebra 2, and I barely passed that. Ahhh.....good nightmares.....I mean.....memories.

So, for a Math hating homeschool Mom, how in the world are you supposed to teach advanced Math classes to your kids?

Drum roll please.

Enter, Teaching Textbooks.

Have you ever heard of it? No? Oh, my dear, dear homeschooling friend. Allow me to enlighten you.

Here, is a photo of Teaching Textbooks, or TT as we shall call it from now on.

This, is Geometry, which my oldest daughter did this year.

TT starts at grade 3, and goes all the way through Pre-Calculus.

Here is the link where you can learn more about TT.

I did not learn of TT until my oldest daughter was in 8th grade, and we were about to do Pre-Algebra. We have always struggled with Math, and let me tell you, I was NOT looking forward to trying to teach her this.

We had started out with A Beka, which we struggled through from kindergarten until 3rd grade. For those of you who are not familiar with homeschooling curriculum, A Beka is one of the most commonly used curriculums out there.

However, it is advanced. Which is great, if you are working with an advanced student. My girls loved A Beka for Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Vocabulary. Things they were good at.

For Math however, it was just too much. So then, I tried Bob Jones (BJU). Yet another GREAT curriculum. I have often used this for Science and History, and have even used it for Spelling and Reading for my youngest.

While BJU was more tolerable than A Beka for Math, it was still not a good fit. There are many, many more Math curriculums out there, but those are the ones that I tried.

I can't remember exactly how I first heard of TT, but whoever told me about it, I now consider her an angel, sent straight from heaven, to help this poor Mama out!

I was reluctant to try it, because let's be honest, if you clicked on the link, you will notice that it IS pricey. It is much more expensive than most homeschoolers are willing to pay, or can even afford.

But, I figured, why not? We were at our wits' end as how to best teach this subject.

We purchased TT, and it was love at first sight. We have never used another Math curriculum since!

But, Amiee....what is SO special about TT, you may ask?

Well, for starters, it is all done on the computer. First, the child listens to a lecture from a teacher, and while the teacher is explaining that day's lesson, they are actually demonstrating how to do it. So, this works for auditory and visual learners alike.

You can listen to the lecture as many times as it takes for the child to grasp the information. While it is also possible for Mom to "replay" the info, her voice does tend to get raspy, and perhaps, there may even be a hint of irritation that tends to creep in, oh say around the third of fourth time she has to explain it. Not so with the computer teacher! He is extremely patient.

Then, the child is given some practice questions, to make sure they truly understand the lesson.

There is always the possibility of being "helped" and you can always view the answer once you get it wrong a set number of times (to be determined by the parent).

Once the child is ready, they can then begin to answer that day's questions about the lesson. There are usually around 20 questions, which seems to be an adequate amount. There is plenty of review from previous lessons included also.

My girls liked that, in the younger grades, they incorporate games for "bonus" rounds, and there are cute little creatures who will talk to you along the way.

There is also a parent side, where you can actually see the grade book, how many they got wrong, and be given the choice as to whether to make them do it over again or not.

What do I like best about it? That I don't have to do hardly anything! Unless one of my girls just isn't getting it, then, we go over the lesson together.

The lessons are self-grading, which is not only an awesome feature for Mom, but it also tells the child immediately if they got the answer right or wrong.

*Several of the advanced Math curriculums are still not self-grading, but they are working on changing that. They still come with an answer CD, and answer key. The lecture is listened to on the CD, but the child works out of a workbook. Hallelujah! Algebra 2 is now self-grading! Can you hear the excitement in my voice? Hmmm? Can you?!

TT is taught in a way that just makes it easier for a child to understand and be able to grasp information better. If you don't believe me, type the words, Teaching Textbooks review into your search engine, and read about other satisfied customers.

I must admit though, that the oldest is now at a point where I just cannot help her in Math anymore. That is now Hubs' job. We also did have a dear friend tutor her in Algebra for a little while, because she just wasn't getting it. So, there still could be some additional Math help needed, even though you are using excellent curriculum. That's just the way it is.

If your child is advanced in Math, this may not be the best curriculum for you, as it does tend to go at a slower pace, or, so I have read from people who have Math geniuses for children. For example, if your elementary school aged child is quoting algebraic equations in their sleep, it might be best to find a more challenging curriculum. Or, perhaps you should enroll them in college classes.

Yes, it is pricey. But, to me, it is worth every penny! Has it made my girls LOVE Math? I don't think there is a curriculum in the world that could do that! Each child has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and Math is one of our weaknesses. Although my youngest daughter tends to have a more "mathematical" mind than my older two, she still doesn't love Math.

Another nice thing about TT is that you are allowed to sell the curriculum to others once you are done using it. That is not the case with every curriculum. So, this year, I sold my used TT on eBay for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much money I was able to get back from my investment! If you do an advanced eBay search on TT, you will see that they have an excellent resale value.

Since I have been using TT for such a long time, I now have quite a collection of them, and I no longer have to buy three different Math curriculums for three different grade levels. This year, I only have to buy Algebra 2. My wallet just did a sigh of relief, as my oldest is about to take a few college classes for dual enrollment, and we are required to pay for it out of our own pocket. But, that's a tale for another time.

If you are a fellow homeschool family, and you are in the same boat as we used to be, struggling through Math, day in......and day out.....why not give Teaching Textbooks a try? You'll be glad you did!

* I did not receive any compensation or free products for this positive review.


  1. I always like the idea of homeschool but what do you do when you are not good at something - so I see you have found the answer. Fortunately homeschool was not an option as we live in the City and by and large my kids walked to school. Not so the kids who live in the outback who are schooled over the radio.

  2. I have never heard of doing school over the radio! Wow! We enjoy homeschooling, and even if my kids could walk to school....we still would do school, at home :)