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Tackling high school level math at home can be a challenge! Most of us have forgotten a lot of this stuff if we're not actively using it in our workplace, so we're a little nervous about whether we're of much help to our teens. As in other subjects, it's really important to find a curriculum that is a good fit for your student's learning style, and that suits your ability to assist and grade.
No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials was a favorite in our homeschool! It's a combination of short, self-contained book lessons and concise online video tutorials. The book gives examples of problems with step-by-step solutions, and provides practice problems and review in each lesson. Chapter tests and a final exam are also included to help evaluate a student's success. The first chapter is a refresher of basic math principles and algebra tools to make sure students are ready for the more complex algebra problems in the rest of the book. From that point on, the lessons are usually two pages long. The concept is taught and summarized, and there are more practice problems for the student to complete. Students who tend to catch on quickly or who are using the course as a review or test prep may need just the text, but my students preferred the online video instruction. The videos are simple and uncluttered, and relatively short - ten minutes or a bit more - but they offer clear examples and explanation. There's no background classroom noise or music, and nothing on the screen to distract. Each chapter is followed by a Review test, with a Final Review at the very end.
See an update here: No-Nonsense Algebra (Blogging Through the Alphabet)
The company offers other math courses as well, so if you've been trying to help your kids keep up with their math classes and having trouble remembering some of the skills or terminology, the Math Refresher for Adults might be for you. It's designed for parents who need to help their kids with math, for adults returning to college, for students preparing for the GED or SAT/PSAT, and for anyone who needs to improve or brush up on math skills. You can check out our review of the Math Refresher for more info.
A more rigorous algebra course that my son did very well with was Algebra: A Complete Course from VideoText Interactive. Something that makes this algebra course different is that it is indeed a complete algebra course, not separated into Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II as many of us are used to seeing. In a nutshell, the idea is to teach the concepts analytically, using a mastery approach rather than spiral teaching. The material is presented in a logical progression, and the student doesn't just memorize formulas, but learns how and why the concepts work. Completion of this course covers Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II. The student views the videotext lesson on the website (the course can also be purchased on DVD) which takes about 10 minutes or less. There are course notes and lesson practice to print for each lesson. This course is comprehensive and taught expertly. The teaching is done for you, but you will still need to check lesson practice and tests. This course is good for students that can work well independently.
Read our review here: VideoText Interactive - Algebra
CTCMath is a an online math tutoring curriculum with over 1300 animated and narrated math lessons ranging from Kindergarten to high school level math. Each of the video lessons are concise teaching videos by Australian teacher Pat Murray, and are accompanied by interactive questions for practice, quizzes, and diagnostic tests. With an online tutor, a student can replay a lesson video as often as needed to understand all the information without embarrassment; and the lesson material is always available. Each tutorial video is between 4 and 9 minutes long, and engages visual and audio learners. A summary of the tutorial can be printed as well. After watching the lesson, the student can practice the concepts using the interactive questions online or the optional printed worksheet. The interactive questions are graded automatically, which gives the student instant feedback on how they are doing, and the correct solutions are shown on the screen so they can see exactly how to do the problems they may have missed. CTCMath also builds individual progress reports for each student, which makes it easy to see results and areas that may need more work. We used and reviewed this as a supplement for algebra, but the program is expanded and has much more available for high school level math now.
Read our review here: CTCMath - A Schoolhouse Crew Review
A couple of brief mentions:
Life of Fred was our choice for middle grades for my daughter, and she continued in it when she started high school. It teaches in a story format, and there isn't as much in the way of practice problems as many folks prefer. Believe it or not, though, it covers even advanced algebra. If your student "hates" math or really struggles with it, but likes a good story, this might be one to consider.
My oldest two boys used Saxon for most of their high school math. Saxon used to be very popular among homeschoolers, but I think with more choices available, it's less dominant now. It teaches using a spiral approach, and is definitely thorough. We found it rather repetitious and dry, and since there are so many problems, I usually had my students do only about half the review problems. This kept it from being too time consuming.
My second son took Geometry and between the two of us we struggled through it until we reviewed a web-based math instruction program at ALEKS. This was an easy to use online program that was self-grading and did a great job filling in the gaps. It's been a number of years since we used it and I'm sure it's changed since then, but I do recommend visiting the website and checking it out.
Read our review here: TOS Review - ALEKS
We reviewed the Pre-Algebra course from UnLock Math one year and found it to be very helpful. At the time, they were still developing Algebra I, but it's now available along with Algebra II, Geometry, and Calculus. These are creative video presentations along with practice problems. Again, it's been a few years since we used and reviewed the program, but it's worth checking out.
Read our review here: UnLock PreAlgebra.
And yes, SchoolhouseTeachers.com has got you covered for High School Math as well! There are courses for Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Trigonometry. There are some shorter courses that are very helpful and related to high school math, such as Economics. We used Money 101: Seminars in Personal Finances for Consumer Math during my daughter's senior year. Consumer Math or Personal Finance is a course I require my students to take before graduating, and this course covered topics such as Savings and Debt, Budgeting, Investing, and Paying for College. Also very valuable - the SAT-ACT Math Prep class!
For math and every other subject, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a lifeline for homeschooling! Use promo code: SHARK to take advantage of the BOGO discounted rate of $179 for two full years and receive a free tote and print back issue as well!
As always, I'd be delighted to answer further questions about these resources, or any questions you may have about homeschooling.
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