Almost seven years ago, in 2009, we were facing tears and much drama when it came to math time. One of our daughters knew her facts and could compute facts in her head with little problem, but when it came time for her to figure the answers and write them down on paper, it became a very long and drawn out process. She would second guess herself. Recheck her problems over and over. What should typically take little time, turned into tears and frustration, and led to one girl strongly hating math.
It was at that point that we put the worksheets aside, turned to some friends for advice, and ordered Teaching Textbooks to try. It was a perfect fit, and we immediately ordered a level for our youngest daughter as well. The changeover was made to the program for all of our kids once they were able to work on the first level of Teaching Textbooks, and we have used it ever since. Truly, it’s a program that I recommend to all of my friends, especially those that dread teaching the upper levels of math. (You know who you are.)
While math was one of my favorite subjects in high school and college (there is something oddly satisfying to me to be able to work out a problem and have a tangible solution to that problem), I will admit my brain has a hard time switching between Algebra 2 and 4th grad math. Call me crazy, but having Teaching Textbooks has been a magnificent relief to my over-stretched brain. For this upcoming school year our kids will range from 5th grade math up through Geometry. The mere thought of that makes my brain hurt – yet happy, since I know we have a solid program in place to teach the kids.
There are so many different reasons our family loves Teaching Textbooks – and today I am THRILLED to also share something with you all – a giveaway for a full level (your choice). Want to know why your family needs it? Keep reading!
All Levels of Teaching Textbooks are Self-Grading
If you’ve ever had to grade endless papers, especially when you get to the high school level, you will be most thankful for this feature of Teaching Textbooks. (Pre-Calculus will be self-grading as of August 2016). A few years ago we had a non-grading version of Pre-Algebra, and OY! Let’s just say it was a huge headache. It was well worth it for me to upgrade to the self-grading version and take that hassle off my hands, especially when we took into consideration that three other kids would be using the program as well. As a parent, the gradebook is EXTREMELY helpful. For our high schooler, I can print off a copy of the gradebook to include with transcripts.
The Kids Can Work on Math Independently
A laptop and a set of headphones, along with the program, is all it takes to get started. You don’t really need the headphones, but if you have kids that are distractible (or perhaps a parent who can’t focus – ahem), headphones are a wonderful addition. Each of our children can work on their math lessons independently, from third grade and up. The lessons are typically read/spoken to the children, and once they do the solving of the problem, they know immediately if an answer is correct/incorrect.
For our children, this immediate feedback has been key for them in moving through lessons quickly – and quickly identifying areas they struggle grasping. Because I can see their grades as soon as the lesson is completed, I can also check to see what problems they may have answered wrong, and help them if needed.
Continual Review and Second Chances
Each level of Teaching Textbooks includes continual review, so you can be sure your children are mastering an area. In addition, kids are also receive a second chance. There are times when our kids figure up the correct response, but type it in wrong, and other times when they get it entirely wrong. Receiving a second chance allows them a moment to look back over the problem, re-figure, and enter in the correct answer before moving on.
We Can Use the Program With Multiple Children
With four kids, I want to find curriculum that makes sense for our family monetarily as well. While the upfront cost of the program can seem intimidating, when the cost is broken down between four children, it becomes very manageable. Once a level is purchased, we don’t have to re-buy the program (unless the kids use the workbook).
Our kids work primarily on the computer, and refer back to the workbook, but do all of their figuring and writing on graph paper, making it a great way to pass the programs on to our younger children.
Thorough Explanations and Understanding
Last year we let our oldest help choose her curriculum for the year and took her input regarding a few subject areas. She decided to try something other than Teaching Textbooks for Algebra 1. Within the first three months of the switch, she was growing increasingly frustrated, even though I was able to help explain concepts, and also find some video clips for harder concepts. By mid-semester she came and asked if she could switch back to Teaching Textbooks. She decided to go to the very start of the Algebra 1 program and work through each lesson. It wasn’t that one program was easier than the other, but the lesson walk-throughs and explanations of Teaching Textbooks gave her a solid understanding and were not as confusing to her as other programs (let’s face it, Algebra isn’t for everyone).
The Program Travels Well
Although we do try to plan our vacations not during typical school weeks, there are times when we have doctor’s appointments or the kids are at their grandparents. The only thing they need to bring along is the CD-ROM portion of the level and then pop in a disk to complete their lesson. Now granted the kids may not be entirely thrilled about this part of the program, but it definitely is a benefit for me!
Parental Override on the Grade book
Parents can also go into individual lessons and see how many problems were completed, marked wrong, and also if the solution to a problem was viewed. For several of our children, this is key. While a perfect score isn’t always possible, we do want to make sure the kids fully understand the concepts being taught (especially since math concepts build upon each other). When I look at the grade book each week, one of the key things I check is if our kids have viewed the solution. Each time they get a problem wrong (and after they have a second chance to answer it), they are given the chance to see the problem solved in front of them, and the ‘teacher’ walks them through the steps.
As a parent, you can also choose to delete an answer to a problem or have a child redo an entire lesson. For one of our children (who gets frustrated with one or two problems wrong), I will delete the answers and let him go back in and retry it. It’s something little, but it makes a huge difference for him. The key is having him master the concept even though I’m not expecting a perfect score.
When Your Computer Dies…
Over the last three years we have had TWO laptops bite the dust, one an accidental dropping and the other a complete fail. We were able to pull out the hard drive on both laptops, reinstall the programs onto our new laptop, and transfer the grade books over to the new computer with no problem (incidentally, the folks at Teaching Textbooks are fabulous to talk you down from a proverbial ledge should this ever be an issue for you as well). I’m rather adept at it now, so local friends, I’m happy to help if you need it.
Not Sure Where to Start?
WIN a Complete Level of Teaching Textbooks
You all – I am SO excited to share this giveaway with you today! Teaching Textbooks has offered to give one of my readers a COMPLETE set of Teaching Textbooks – your choice which level!! All you need to do is follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below.
The nitty-gritty: You must be a U.S. resident aged 18 or older in order to enter. The giveaway starts Tuesday, July 19th and ends Tuesday, July 26th at 11:59pm. Multiple means of entry are provided. Winner will be chosen at random using the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Moms Hop.