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Teaching Textbooks Will Prep Your Kids for College (and a GIVEAWAY!)

{disclaimer ~ this is a sponsored post in partnership with Teaching Textbooks}

Any of our long-time readers know that we have had a staple in our yearly homeschool curriculum. It’s a program we love and recommend whenever we can – Teaching Textbooks. As dedicated users of the program since 2010, we’ve had the opportunity to use every one of their math levels from Level 3 through Pre-Calculus.

One of the questions/concerns I’ve had from several parents over the years has tied into Teaching Textbooks and preparing their child for college. Will Teaching Textbooks be enough for college entry? And SATs? 

Here are some of my honest thoughts and opinions on the issue – and the short answer is this: I do believe that YES their program will prepare our children and is an incredible resource to homeschool families

Before I jump fully into things, I would invite you to read a little more about our switch to Teaching Textbooks back in 2010 and the overall reasons we recommend their program.  

When we first started with Teaching Textbooks, I heard and read various criticisms by some about their program. A few said it was behind other programs or that their kids used it and didn’t test well. Of course, criticisms like this are common with any widely-used math curriculum. But we had several friends who had no problems whatsoever, so we decided to move ahead because we needed a program that our kids enjoyed using – and that would help them learn.

Out of our four children, we currently have two children in high school, a child who has taken and done well on the SAT (and successfully graduated), and have had no issue with college acceptance or with Teaching Textbooks being our math curriculum. 

After the tenth grade, our oldest daughter took entrance tests in language and math so she could register for classes at our local community college (she did great on the math potion, by the way). Math is quite honestly her least favorite subject – just because she would rather delve into a good book, dissect a specimen, or learn more about human anatomy. She’s wired that way. BUT she did well on the math portion of the SAT as well, using zero outside prep other than Teaching Textbooks. (Side note: as we have completed standardized testing over the years, our children have tested highly in math each year).

Whatever criticisms we have heard have not proven true. We have seen success with Teaching Textbooks as our primary math curriculum for the past nine years. Teaching Textbooks will prepare for college – and it has!

Teaching Textbooks is a MUST for high school homeschool. 

For those who struggle in math themselves, Teaching Textbooks is an amazing curriculum to have on hand each year. The lessons are all taught via the program, meaning you as a mom get a break and don’t have to remember al the concepts you may not recall from your own high school days. Each lesson has an instructor who walks kids through the concept being taught, works through sample problems, and then kids work on daily problems and/or periodic tests.

One of my favorite features, especially in the high school years, are second chances. Parents can allow the program to offer a second chance for a correct answer. For kids that get frustrated easily, this can be a huge help. Let’s face it: sometimes kids try to rush through a problem or enter an answer too quickly. If they make a mistake, they could take a second chance and try again to get the problem correct. 

On top of second chances, the program SELF-GRADES. For those of you working with high schoolers, this is an amazing mom-help. Yes, we definitely want a program that works well for our children, but the benefit to parents cannot be overlooked either. 

We started with the textbook and CD-Rom versions of the various levels and a little over a year ago we moved over to Teaching Textbooks 3.0, a fully-online version of the program (meaning access anywhere you have WiFi access – no disks needed).  

Something I do want to note: as with any other program/curriculum, parent participation/oversight is necessary. Our family has a policy that if the kids score a 90 or better on a lesson, they can move on to the next lesson. If they are having difficulty and/or score below a 90 on a lesson, we sit down with them to review the concept they are struggling with until they understand and are ready to move on. 

You CAN Jump Ahead (or stay on grade level)

All of our kids started at their appropriate level, and we gave our youngest a placement test before he started. As our kids progressed through and enjoyed working on math, we let them work ahead. Instead of tears, our kids enjoyed doing math. 

Now granted high school can mean differences in attitude (because not all kids enjoy doing school – grins), but as our kids have been able, they have worked at the level they are able to. For both of our girls, they started Algebra 1 in the 8th grade. When our oldest reached the Pre-Calculus level, she decided to break it up over a two-year period (her 11th and 12th grade year), and that worked well for her and her school schedule.

Currently we have a 9th grader who is finishing Algebra 1 (he started it in the 8th grade), and he will move on to Geometry when he completes Algebra 1. Our 11th grade daughter started Pre-Calculus this year and her goal is to complete by the spring, wrapping up her math for high school. 

A Few Other High School Notes

  • Each level of Teaching Textbooks high school math is equivalent to a full high school credit and they currently offer Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. 
  • A quick look at the gradebook will show you if a lesson is FULLY complete. This is one of my FAVORITE new features that has been added to the program. Prior to this update, the parent had to do a little more digging in the grade book to see if a lesson was 100% completed, but now – there isn’t any hiding if a kiddo “forgets” to do a problem.
  • Print gradebooks anytime.  Maybe I’m not the only one who struggles to keep up-to-date records on subjects, but Teaching Textbooks grades it all for me, and grade books can be printed off at any time for quick and easy record keeping.
  • With the 3.0 version, Teaching Textbooks stores your grades for you, even after your subscription is over. You don’t have to worry about where that grade book disappeared to – they’ve got you covered. 
  • All of the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 programs work on MAC, Windows, and Chromebooks.  For our family, the Chromebook aspect was HUGE since we didn’t have a disk drive. The full Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was one of the few programs we didn’t have any issues with! 

Prior to starting high school, Teaching Textbooks was a lifesaver for our family, allowing the kids a chance to work through math at their pace and independently, while also enjoying the process of learning. As we’ve moved into high school it has continued to be a benefit to our family,

More on Teaching Textbooks

Try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 for FREE


If you’d like to test out the 3.0 version, you can start a Free Trial of the complete program, up through Lesson 15. The trial includes lectures, solution, eBook, and grading on each of the products. If you decide to purchase the full version, everything transfers over for you! 

And bonus – you can try ANY and EVERY level. They are that generous! Learn more HERE. 

Not sure where to start? Download and print a placement test online. 

 

Win a Subscription to Teaching Textbooks 3.0

Teaching Textbooks has generously offered to give ONE FREE SUBSCRIPTION (any level) to Teaching Textbook’s new 3.0 version to one of my readers!! The Rafflecopter widget below will give you instructions below, and includes the option of the free trial as well. :) Because it is an online platform – everyone can enter, provided they are 18 years of age or older.

Giveaway ends Monday, October 7th at midnight EST. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

The fact that we’ve already had two kids in the ninth grade would make it appear that picking out curriculum would be a piece of cake. But one of the huge benefits of homeschooling is that we can tweak programs, switch up the grade level we teach a program, or even completely change to a different program. As I mentioned in this post – each of our kids has been different in their likes/dislikes and focusing on individual strengths is a definite plus!

Last year Zachary started work on several high school credits and about 3/4 of the way through the year we realized that his current swimming times may shift our academic focus as we delve into the world of NCAA course approval (because life just isn’t fun enough!). 

We’ve slowed down the pace a little bit for him (which is GREAT) because his swim practices will really be intensifying this year. Last spring something really clicked for him in several events, and he made some incredible jumps in time and technique. Our mantra through this entire process has been to let the boys lead us in their desire to swim – we don’t want to push them too hard because we want them to enjoy what they are doing. Yes, work needs to be put in, but we also don’t want them to burn out. 

That said, below you’ll get a peek at our 9th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year. An * depicts curriculum/programs that are new to us this year. 

*feed readers, please click over to the blog for some of the additional links to curriculum

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 6


Co-op Learning

We have a small group of high schoolers that will be meeting weekly to work on personal finance. Zachary will also be getting together with one friend to do the lab part of biology (because any dissection is better with a friend, right?). 

Math

We have the paper version of Geometry, but this year Zachary will be working on the online version of Teaching Textbooks Geometry (3.0). It follows along with the book, and I’m excited that I can log in on my laptop and see what he is doing since everything is stored online! (He’ll earn 1 credit for this class.)

Confession: boy wonder still has about 20 lessons of Algebra 1 to wrap up before he can jump into Geometry. Keeping it real, people! 

Geography

Zachary is continuing to work through North Star Geography.  Last year we opted to follow the two year plan included with the book so we could “ease” him into high school work. When completed, he will have earned a full credit as a high school class. 

Writing & Literature

Zachary will be using a brand new program from Compass Classroom for grammar/writing this year: Grammar for Writers. He will be watching the lectures online and working through the workbook (we have the print version). Last year he worked through the Grammar of Poetry (1/2 credit), so these classes will be combined together for essentially an “English 9” class for him. 

We will also be continuing with All About Spelling Levels 6 & 7 for spelling. He is sitting down with me this week to choose four main books for his reading over the year. 

Biology

We’ll be working through The Riot and the Dance  biology this year and have a local friend to complete our lab activities with each week. This program is one we switched to with McKenna and really enjoyed the layout and the way things were explained in the text. We mix up the labs a little bit from how the book presents them and added more dissections (because they really are fun!!) to the mix as well. 

Reading

We aren’t focusing on a dedicated literature program this year, but there are a few books Zachary will be reading through over the course of the year. It’s a fairly eclectic list, but some are ones he chose and a few are ones I am reading along with him. 


Swimming

This past year Zachary decided to swim year round. For those of you with swimmers, he not only competed in short course (25 meter pool) but also long course (50 meter pool) this summer. He is now measuring in at a bit over 6’3″ and essentially has flippers for feet. He has been dropping even more time and really loves most everything about swimming (his parents are not as fond of the early morning practices!). :) 

Quite honestly, swimming is a mixed bag for me personally. It does mean quite a bit more running around in the evenings, especially as Zachary is in the top practice group and expected to attend a high percentage of practices each week. But he is WILLINGLY putting in over 12 hours of pool time in each week as well as multiple dryland practices weekly, so his physical activity is beyond admirable.

Sidenote: this is the boy who will now come home after practice and eat about a dozen eggs for breakfast. Our grocery budget is about ready to go nuts again.

Boy Scouts

This will be Zachary’s last year participating in Scouts. He is currently ranked as a Life Scout and our troop will be disbanding next June as our current troop leaders retire. Zachary is working hard to complete the remaining four merit badges he needs to earn and deciding on his Eagle Scout project (ideas welcome!!). Our troop has been such a great outlet for Zachary, and he has really loved it over the last four years. 

Personal Finance

One of the best things that happened for Zachary this past summer was getting his first job at our local pool. He helped serve in the snack area, and it’s been a great jumping point for teaching about saving and spending. The Foundations in Personal Finance class is one of my favorite electives to go through with the kids because it really has helped shape how they view their current and future finances (McKenna saved up and paid cash for her first car this summer and has a $1000 emergency fund!). We’ll be working through this class with a small group of kids – and it will be fun! 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Zachary the past few years:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with our kids  is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

 

 

Our Adventure to the Netherlands Begins – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Last weekend was a flurry of last minute errand-running and making sure we had everything together for our upcoming trip. I’m so very thankful that we had some time on Monday morning to relax, recheck our packing, and clean up the house a little before we left. 

Our dog, Addie, was all over the place (especially our luggage) and in the middle of everything while we were getting ready. We have a friend staying at our house with her while we are gone, and apparently she is rather out of sorts and not very happy at the moment.

We brought lots of fun gifts to share with my cousin. She and her family are hosting us for the entire time we are staying in the Netherlands. So plenty in our suitcases on the way there! Two of ous weighed in just shy of the 50 pound limit. 

The big “discussion” on the way over was who would get to sit at the window seat, mainly because the girls wanted to take pictures out the window. The boys said they could care less, so Laurianna and McKenna switched off. 

Just as we were getting in line for takeoff on the runway, storms started rolling in. The line of clouds was crazy and within just ten minutes we could barely see out the window of the plane. Our plane ended up taking off about two hours later than expected. 

We found out later that the above is a shelf cloud – and there were some severe storms and a tornado warning in our area. This is where I will say I am thankful for the wonderful on-board entertainment KLM offers (we were on one of their newer planes) and the distraction that provided in the delay. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the trip – the boys slept ZERO minutes, so they arrived rather exhausted and konked out about 15 minutes into the two-hour car ride from Amsterdam. :) 

The first few days we spent relaxing with the kids riding bikes into town for ice cream. On Thursday we got together with one of my uncles and some of his family for lunch and then to visit a few places nearby. 

Our first stop was to visit a wooden clog (klompen) maker, Klompenmakerij ten Hagen in Winterswijk. His family has been making wooden shoes for four generations. (He told us he has three sons, so another generation can continue. :) 

We were able to watch the process from their start as a round of wood to the unfinished shoe. At this point they have to dry for several weeks. The shoes were made of either willow or poplar and damp when you touch them. 

A fun fact we learned: each klompen maker has their own pattern they add to their shoes. This is the pattern you will find on their shoes. The kids had fun trying on pairs but decided not to buy any for themselves. 

We later took a walk through a swamp area near the German border, not a common part of the Netherlands, but it was a nice walk to see some of the nature and different plants in their area. 

In a few areas there were border markers between the Netherlands and Germany, so Zachary took a quick trip to Germany while we stayed in the Netherlands. :) 

This next week we will be heading to France and Belgium with my cousin for a few days, and all the kids are looking forward to the trip. 

I hope you all are having an amazing week as well and would love to hear what you have been up to! 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

The Week of Running Here and There (and Everywhere)

In some ways it feels as though my bum has spent a good portion of the week in the van. We are trying to get as much as we can D.O.N.E. before we leave for the Netherlands in a few short days. You all – I made a five page list of all the things I wanted to do before we left (I only wish I was kidding). 

  • Pick up suitcases from friends  ✔
  • Get all the swim team stuff lined up before we leave – (mostly) ✔
  • Run to various appointments ✔
  • Finish up a few subjects with McKenna ✔

The bulk of it will get done, but I’m a little over-zealous to say the least. Just call me crazy. 

Meanwhile I’ve been busy sorting curriculum too since the Build Your Bundle sale is happening and I wanted to snag a few things for next year

We started off the week with a sleepover. One of the upsides to homeschooling – your friends can sleep over whenever the moms say YES. 

These two are hilarious together and one would think the world is coming to an end because they won’t see each other for a little over two weeks. So movie night and a fun day together after should hopefully be enough to hold them over until we see them again in June. :) 

McKenna and I have been working on wrapping up a few of her classes. She took her last biology exam and I helped her with a few geometry problems she hadn’t finished – so two more things checked off the list! She is *this* close to finishing history and Latin, but will likely have to wrap those up when we return from our trip. Meanwhile, McKenna is chomping on the bit to get her permit. Saturday is the earliest she can take her test, so guess what we’ll be doing bright and early in the morning? 

Kaleb finally had a chance to work on a model we gave him for Christmas, mainly because we didn’t realize we needed to buy practically every paint color the store had to work on it. Let’s just let it sink in for a moment that it’s been FIVE MONTHS since he received it, and we finally bought the supplies for it (because a certain mom kept forgetting). 

Laurianna has been reveling in the fact that she doesn’t have to drive anywhere this week. She has been trying to finish up her final two classes, Latin and Pre-Calculus. We’ve been using the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 version (which we love), and it was great when she was at the community college or at a friend’s house. Our internet at home lately has been horrible, so it’s difficult for her to work on the online portion. BUT – in early June we should have high-speed internet installed and we are beyond excited for that! 

Zachary only has a few more math lessons to go and he will be done, and Kaleb is almost done with All About Reading 4, which will finish up his year (YAY!!). I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming weeks with a year-end wrap-up for each of the kids, so stay tuned for those. 

Other than that, the kids and I have been stopping over at my parent’s house a few times over the week since they have the most adorable kitten. Now the kids want us to get another cat too (not going to happen). There are now approximately 1, 562 pictures of this kitten on my camera thanks to the kids. 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

Slowly Winding Down the Year – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Each day we are one step closer to the end of our school year. Our overall goal was to be fully completed by May 11th – and for the most part, that’s still in place. 

We started off the week with a trip to the dentist for Kaleb. Somehow on Sunday he managed to crack a tooth (fortunately a baby tooth) while eating a bagel. The tooth was already loose and then part of it broke off, so off to the dentist we went to have the rest of the tooth pulled out. His treat was a Chick-fil-a Frosted Lemonade (and some time with mom). Really not a bad trade. 

Laurianna finished her classes at the community college this week. Three finals finished up and grades are already returned on two of them, so she is breathing a BIG sigh of relief! At home she is still working on Pre-Calculus, but have the 3.0 online version from Teaching Textbooks has been a huge help for us on that front. 

But the above is the ridiculously happy girl who knows that she essentially has a summer break ahead of her and no more driving back and forth to school multiple days each week. 

This week McKenna also finished up the last of her biology, with the exception of her final exam. We crammed in two different dissections which turned out to be rather interesting. 

Our first, the fish, was really quite nasty and our LEAST favorite of all dissections (odor-wise). McKenna typically doesn’t have many issues with the dissection part of lab, but this one really made her rather queasy and she opted to sit back and watch her friend, Emily, finish up hers. This was one we did outside, which I am SO thankful for, because the smell – just yuck. 

This week has seen me with the beginnings of piles in the schoolroom, sorting curriculum for the upcoming year. The overall framework is in place, but it’s been fun having a few new things in place as well. One of our new pieces for next year will be the History & Geography Lifepac for Kaleb. 

Another things we’ve been working through with Kaleb (and new for him this late in the year) are reading and comprehension guides. Typically during his reading time, he reads aloud to me, but with these he is reading a short bit and answering the questions to check his comprehension. It’s something little, but helps me make sure he really is grasping concepts especially when he has to sort out words on his own. 

The tears this week from me were rather crazy. The boys and I finished up the last few chapters of The Hiding Place and – you all – such a great book. For us, this will make visiting her home in the Netherlands even more special. 

Thursday, we finished up our last lab with a fetal pig dissection. We weren’t quite sure what the girls would think of this lab, but they both jumped in with no problem and once we were finished with the basic dissection, they wanted to examine even more. 

As far as all of our dissections have gone, this was really one of the most amazing ones, especially because you can see the various organs (both of ours were female) and really get a great look at the overall anatomy. The fish was ok, but this was the best one. :) 

That’s it for this week! We are a little over one week away from our big trip to the Netherlands!!  Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

A Prom, a Subject Down, and a Play – Homeschool and Life Happening

First off – PROM! The weekend was a flurry of getting Laurianna ready for prom: hair, pictures, and ALL THE FUN. 

You all. I know I’m her mom and biased, but she was simply stunning. 

Her dress was the icing on the cake, especially since she found it at Goodwill for $4. Yep. Her shoes cost five times that. Rather fun. 

She went with one of her friends to a nearby homeschool prom (who says homeschoolers don’t socialize or have fun?). I have to say I find it amusing that my daughter has gone to prom – and I never did. :) 

This week Kaleb started feeling better on Tuesday, after spending much of the weekend sleeping and laying on furniture somewhere around the house. We’d find him curled up in bed, a beanbag, the couch…and Tuesday it finally changed. With that he wrapped up his last lesson of Teaching Textbooks Math 6. 

We’ve been using the 3.0 version, which is their newest *and much fun* update to their already great math program. Everything is online, so no more books or lost disks!! (And all the mothers rejoice.)

We celebrated with cake. Because finishing a subject warrants having cake, right? Granted it was a leftover piece of birthday cake from a party on Sunday, but that’s ok. It was an occasion to be happy about. Another subject finished for the year! 

Our high school homeschool co-op wrapped up the year by taking a trip to see The Taming of the Shrew at a local theatre. We are SO thankful to the amazing staff for year after year letting our small group come along with the larger schools for their education days. The productions are AMAZING and it’s always so much fun to see Shakespeare in action. 

Our group co-op wrapped up this week and next week we will finish up our science co-op as well with our last dissections. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been working like crazy to get things ready for our trip to the Netherlands! This week we booked a place to stay in both Paris, France and also Belgium for a short 3-day trip during out time there. We’re trying to squeeze in as much as we can and still make time to relax and visit family since we haven’t seen the bulk of my mom’s family in almost 17 years. 

That’s about it for this week for our family – how are things going in your house? I’d love to hear!!