My 12 yo daughter is nearly done with Teaching Textbooks Math 7 (she’ll finish by Spring Break in March 2010) and my 10 yo son just started a few months ago.
So, when another homeschool mom asked me about Teaching Textbooks, as a possible homeschool math curriculum for her 9 yo son, I was happy to answer her questions.
One of these days I’ll write a full review, but in the meantime, if you are considering Teaching Textbooks as a possible homeschool math curriculum, I’ve pasted our Q&A here. If you have additional questions about Teaching Textbooks, feel free to put them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Does your son like it?
Yes, my 10 yo son likes it. All the lessons are fully explained in video format, and all the answers are fully explained step by step, so if he misses something he can click the solution button and see where he went wrong.
He does not like that each lesson is so long, i.e., has so many problems (20 problems, plus 5 practice problems per lesson). He’s used to a much shorter program, but he has adapted by doing a 1/2 lesson per day or a minimum of 2-3 lessons per week.
Any ideas about placement?
The Teaching Textbooks has placement tests for each level, I highly recommend using them. Don’t go by what you think is the grade level; it’ll depend on what math program you’ve used in the past and where your son is currently at. The placement test does a good job helping you position the student in the correct level.
Also, you can look at the table of contents of each course to see what’s covered and see if your son is ready for that level of work. In my case, Teaching Textbooks Math 7 covers fractions, decimals, and some basic geometry, which is a good transition from our elementary math program, which is weak in these topics (in my opinion), before they are ready for Beginning Algebra.
Though I have to say because we moved from a mastery-based elementary math program to Teaching Textbooks (a spiral based program), there was lots of overlap in some areas and none in others.
I did placement tests with my son a couple times over two years because he was strong in some areas and not in others, and finally when he was ready, I just moved him into Teaching Textbooks Math 7, and that’s worked well.
From my perspective, it’s a big change for me, they basically don’t need me for math anymore (yes, I’m a little sad about that). My 12 yo daughter periodically will have a question when she gets a problem wrong and can’t figure out why (and doesn’t want to view the solution on the computer.)
But other than that…there’s no prep, no lesson planning, no teacher time at all. Just setting boundaries and saying “go do your math”. Which of course is a huge time saver.
Is it all on computer?
Depends on how you do it. It can be done completely on the computer, though you need a notebook or something to work the problems in.
The text book also contains all of the lesson materials (except the step-by-step walkthroughs & solutions, which are only on the CDs).
Because of some issues we were having with my kids, we now require the kids to do all the problems out of the book on paper.
So what my daughter does is watch the lesson on the computer (rather than read it), then does the problems out of the book (in a notebook, so the book stays nice for later resale and younger siblings), checks her answers after each problem in the answer booklet, and then inputs her answers into the computer for grading purposes.
My son watches the whole lesson and the problems on the computer, but works each problem on paper, checks the answer, reworks as necessary, and then enters the answer into the computer, and moves on to the next problem.
Different kids, different styles. But either way I require that they don’t move on to the next problem until they got the one they are working on right (no use doing the whole set wrong and then going back and fixing it…)
What about the testing/grading…is it on the computer as well?
There’s a quiz after each chapter, which is all dealt with on the computer (or in the textbook, see above). All the grading is done automatically for you on the computer and it keeps a record of it all for you. (nice)
Update: The high school level Teaching Textbook programs do not include the automated grading.
Is there a “lesson plan” or something that tells me how to get through it in a school year?
I’m not really sure. In Teaching Textbooks Math 7, there’s 118 lessons plus a quiz after each of the 18 chapters, so assuming 1 lesson a day for an 180 day school year, that’s pretty much how to get through it in a year.
You could look at the Table of Contents in the Teaching Textbook you are looking at and see how it would break down. I set goals for the kids this way, based on where they are at, and how many weeks are left in the term, and how many lessons I think they can get through in a week and then term allowing for days off and slippage.
We’ve chosen not to try to complete it in a year. It’s taken my daughter at least a year and a half. There have been some chapters where she did a whole lesson a day, and others where a 1/2 of a lesson a day is fine.
But my style is to just let them go through it at whatever their pace is and not worry about what level they are in each year…just continuing on until they learn it.
If you are working & homeschooling like I am, or are math challenged, or have a child who does best with visual or audio teaching methods, then Teaching Textbooks is a good, solid, and thorough math curriculum worth looking at further.