Review of Math Essentials’ No-Nonsense Algebra

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Homeschool math at the high school level can be intimidating so I’d like to introduce you to No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.  Finding a math program that our 14-year-old daughter likes and understands can be challenging.  But with the included videos for the lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher, our daughter has found this program to be understandable.

Our daughter is our 4th and last child and she is definitely more gifted in the area of art than math.  So we have tried a variety of math programs through the years. Like most parents, we have found some work and some do not.  So when I saw the chance for our family to review No-Nonsense Algebra, I was glad to get it for our daughter.

This is a soft cover book that is meant to be used as a textbook, and the students need to do their work in a notebook.  Since it is not consumable, it would work well for families with more than one child.  As I have already stated, our daughter is not a math whiz kid.  She loves art a lot more.  So in her own words, she stated, “Some of the instructions and problems are worded in ‘mathease’, which is a language our daughter feels she does not speak.  However, the videos provided our daughter with clear and concise instructions that made the lessons understandable for her.

I feel like the videos are well-executed, easy to hear and easy to understand.  The instructions really helped our daughter.  This course covers everything from integers to the quadratic equation along with everything in between.

I felt like the lessons were reasonable in the material being covered, the examples that were given and the number of practice problems.  Each lesson contains an introduction which includes helpful hints, example problems worked out showing each step for solving the problem, exercises, and several review questions.

Since I have taught high school math and realize how it builds upon itself, I love the review problems.  It helps to ensure the students remember past materials.  I also loved the fact the book starts off with problems involving integers.  This is a necessary skill for solving most algebraic problems.  If a student can not solve problems with integers properly, he or she will probably have extreme difficulty later in Algebra.  Also, from my experience in teaching Algebra, the majority of mistakes in Algebra are caused by mathematical computations.  So ensuring students have a firm grasp on working with integers will help with their success.  The pictures below show two days of my daughter’s work and answers.  As I have stated, she is very artistic so her pages have to include some drawings.

I feel this book is perfect for a variety of situations.  It is perfect as a stand-alone textbook for Algebra.  It is also perfect for a student who just wants to brush up on certain skills.  It also would be perfect for a student just wanting to review Algebra for any reason. I also like the fact Math Essentials offers a variety of other products ranging from materials for 4th/5th grade all the way through this Algebra course.

I was very pleased with this book and the videos are provided with it.  This course is definitely worth taking a look at in my opinion.  If you would like to read more reviews about No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Unlock Math’s Unlock Geometry Course

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Teaching high school math can be intimidating for homeschool moms like me so I was thrilled to have my son try UnLock Geometry from UnLock Math.  I am a former High School Math teacher, so I know about all the problems that come with teaching students math.  Over the years, our family has used a variety of math programs. So I was really excited to see the product review being offered.

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One of the details that impressed me most about this company is the level of customer service they provide.  Almost immediately after receiving the email informing us of our enrollment, I received a personal phone call from the owner of the company.  He impressed me with his concern about our family and our use of the course.  Since we have used online math programs in the past, I felt comfortable with my son using this program.

Each unit includes lessons, several quizzes, a unit review and a unit test.  So far there has been a quiz after every two lessons.  I feel this does a marvelous job of ensuring my son is retaining what he is learning while not providing an overwhelming amount of material.

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Each lesson contains a warm-up (which reviews material already covered), an instructional video, practice problems, problems to help the student stay sharp, reference notes, and challenge problems.  With the exception of the challenge problems, all other problems may be attempted as many times as needed for mastery.  Because this is an adaptive program, the student only gets as much practice as they need.  Another thing  I really liked about this course was the way the challenge problems only add to my son’s score if he gets it right.  If the answer to the challenge problem is wrong, it simply does not count at all.  The days my son got the challenge problems right, he was absolutely thrilled to tell me so.

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As a parent, I set up a parent account first.  Here is what the parent screen looks like after logging in to the site. On this screen, I can find tabs for managing students, courses, billing contact, credit card, payments, and passwords.  It is easy to navigate around the screens.

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I love how I am even able to navigate to my son’s dashboard while signed into my parent account.  This becomes very useful if my son needed to redo a section after I looked at his grade for a particular assignment.  One item that took a while to get used to for our family was how the grade book shows the average based on the total number of points possible for the course instead of for only what has been completed.

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My son has really enjoyed this program so far.  Because I aim for my son to master concepts, we have not gotten as far as I would have liked.  But, I know we will finish out the course.  He really seems to be learning a lot and does not complain about doing the assignments.   I also plan on having my 14-year-old daughter do the Algebra program potentially in the fall.

I love that the computer does all the grading work for me.  All I have to do is look online to see his progress and scores.

Here are some more screenshots I took.

Currently, Unlock Math offers, Unlock Pre-Algebra, Unlock Algebra, and Unlock Algebra 2 in addition to Unlock Geometry.  If you would like to read more reviews about Unlock Geometry or any of their other courses, click here or on the graphic below.

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Homeschool Review Crew: for SchoolhouseTeachers.com

 

Several months ago, I was privileged to be invited to become part of the Homeschool Review Crew and today I am excited to be posting my first review for the Crew.  Our family is so excited to be reviewing the Yearly Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ http://www.schoolhouseteachers.com

This site has received a makeover, and it definitely does not disappoint. I am reviewing the Yearly Membership.

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This site provides a wealth of information for homeschooling families.  There are online courses, elementary courses, middle school homeschool classes, and high school homeschool classes.  I loved all the content available on the site and was especially pleased to see an Algebra course available for our youngest son who is 16.  He had been using a different math program and when we reached the section on polynomials, he experienced some difficulty with the information provided.  I knew we needed to find something different to help, so I logged in to see what I could find for my son to use.

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I found an Algebra course available and downloaded the required materials.  Once I had the materials downloaded, I found the section on polynomials and printed out only those sections we needed.  I loved how everything needed was contained on one page.  Every course provides a page that includes sections on how to use the course, course introductions, and a course outline.  I found these to be extremely helpful, considering I was only using part of the course.

My son found the materials to be easy to understand.  He was pleased with the materials and with his ability to grasp the material.  As a former high school math teacher, I was pleased with the material selected, the level of difficulty and the quality of the answer keys.  Once my son completed the required work for the section, he was able to demonstrate mastery of the subject which pleased me.  While we only used one section of this course, it definitely would have been an excellent Algebra course to prepare a student for future math courses.

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Courses are available for all ages and for all types of subjects.  I plan on utilizing this site for my 14-year-old daughter to learn French.  I am also exploring the possibility of using the site for Science courses and electives.  This site is a valuable resource for homeschooling families with children of all ages.

The site provides sections for browsing by grade, browsing by subject, planning, resources, videos, and media.  These are all provided at the top of the screen to provide easy navigation.  In the planning section, the various Schoolhouse planners may be downloaded for use.  These planners look like an amazing resource with loads of additional information as well as space for planning.  There is a custom schedule builder, recordkeeping through Applecore – a very useful and friendly planning tool, a section just for parents, a literacy section, a section for high school help along with other sections.  I found the high school help section valuable since all three of our children I am homeschooling are in high school currently.

A tutorial section is also provided which includes a welcome, Scope and sequence information, for high school, for lesson plans, for the Preschool Playground, Focused Learning centers and more.  The videos do an excellent job of giving an overview of the topic being covered.  I watched the video for Lesson Plans.  It was easy to understand and user-friendly.

Here is a view of the type of courses available.

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This is definitely a resource I would highly recommend to any homeschooling families.  I feel it is an excellent value for the price.  Through the 15th of January, the price is either $9.95 for the monthly plan, using the code “CHRISTMAS” or $90 for a year using the code “CHRISTMASYEAR”.  After the 15th, the price for the monthly membership will increase to $19.95, so go ahead and take advantage of the lower price.

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Click on the image below to read more reviews.

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Math, Math and More Math

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So I was looking back through my past posts and I realized I have been rather neglectful of this blog.  So I plan on changing that starting today.  The first topic I want to cover is math.

I have three sons: ages 20, 18, and 16 plus a daughter who is 14.  With the exception of the 16-year-old, they somehow all missed getting a love of math from their father and me.  It seems ironic to me with having a mom who has actually taught math in the Public School System, that some of that knowledge and love would have been passed on to them.  Maybe that is why only the 16-year old has it (seeing how I was actually teaching math when I was pregnant with him).

But the facts remain the rest of my children do not love math!  So through the years, we have tried a variety of math products.  Some we have loved.  Some I have been the only one that loved them.  Others have been miserable failures.  Over the next several days, I will share what has worked and what has not worked for our family or even for particular children.

What is working for you right now?  I would love to hear from you.