Thursday, August 10, 2017

Non-Nonsense Algebra ~ A New TOS Review!

Now that we 'officially' have a high schooler some of the subjects for high school can sound daunting, right? Well, I think we have found another WONDERFUL offering by Math Essentials in their No-Nonsense Algebra that we will be using this year for high school math. It is certainly no nonsense! We are so happy that we were chosen to review this book.
No-Nonsense Algebra
And by we, let me remind y'all that my husband has a degree in math, teaches math at a local technical college, and basically breathes math. He also says that the approach that Mr. Fisher takes is great for the Grammar stage of learning in the classical sense. It is very skilled orientated with just enough theory and application to get a feel for the how and why of the techniques. These reminded him of the textbooks from the 40's and 50's that were direct and to the point and very little fluff and easy to understand. This is just what everyone wants from their math curriculum, right? I thought so.

After using this algebra textbook throughout the review period, it seems my daughter has grown to enjoy it and we will continue using it as our main curriculum for the upcoming year. Every lesson was direct and to the point. You will need to have a notebook to write the problems in because there is not any room for that within the textbook. It is also mentioned at the beginning of the textbook of the online FREE video lessons. You are encouraged to watch these first before you begin your lesson. They are also fairly short, but very thorough in their explanation.

In each lesson there is also built-in review so that your student is constantly sharpening the skills they have learned previously. There are also helpful hints at the beginning of each lesson to focus the student on the 'tricky' parts that they may encounter.  Then at the end of each chapter there is a chapter review (or test of sorts) so you can make sure your student is progressing. The solutions are in the back of the book, but just solutions ... not each problem worked out. That is one downfall I see ... at least for me. It would mean that I (without the help of my math minded husband) would have to work out the problem in order to explain to my daughter WHY she got a problem wrong. This could be a drawback, but not necessarily for all.

No-Nonsense Algebra covers all the necessary topics so that your high school student will have fully completed Algebra 1 and be completely ready to tackle Geometry or Algebra 2.

I also asked my daughter to write down a few notes about what she thought of this Algebra curriculum.
I thought the instructions were pretty clear. Be sure to read them and not skip them. The bolded words in each of the sections introductions are there to help the student understand the definition in case they are not familiar with the terms. Then there are examples. There are a few for each section. I found them enough to help understand the work you needed to accomplish.
I like that the lessons are only 1-2 pages long. Oh, and the helpful hints, they are actually helpful! If you do not understand the work, just copy the examples again and work through them. Once you have done all this it is finally time for the problems, which in this book they are called Exercises.  You will have anywhere from 12 - 20 problems to complete. It might seem like a lot, but just keep working and you will get it done. 
I am glad that they also have a Review with about 4 problems at the end of each lesson. They are problems about stuff you have already talked about and learned. Oh, and I just realized that there are Solutions (answers) and a Glossary at the end of the textbook! 
One more thing I wanted to share was about the Video Lessons that go along with the book lessons. At first I didn't realize these were available either, but they are pretty cool! The teacher underlines the stuff he is talking about which helps me to be able to follow along. They are most helpful to watch before the lesson, but you could also watch them afterward or before the review if you forget things like me -- like for the Properties of Numbers -- I should really know them by now. :)
I think No-Nonsense Algebra will really help me get through high school homeschool math this year even faster and with a greater ability to remember the material. Give it a try!

So there you have it ... she didn't say that she liked math, but you could hear it in her tone, right? I did. It makes me full of joy to know we've found a well-rounded, not a lot of fluff, clear and understandable approach to the dreaded first year math of Algebra. And afterward your student will be ready to pursue whatever comes next, be it Geometry or Algebra 2.

I know that I will be "refreshing" my Algebra skills as well by trying to catch up and surpass where my lovely daughter now is. Even though dad can do math in his sleep with his hands tied behind his back (maybe not exactly ... he uses his hands a lot when explaining), I think it would help me to have my Algebra skills fresh and ready in my own brain. Off to go grab a 1 subject notebook and get to work!
Math Essentials

But don't just take our word for it ... go and check out the MANY other reviews that we at the Review Crew have completed! You can also check out Math Essentials at their Facebook page.
No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

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