(This post contains affiliate links and links to my business website, Shining Dawn Books.)
Do you need algebra help? I did, too.
You mean the writer of Loving Living Math needed algebra help? Why, yes. Yes, I did. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you run into a brick wall in a homeschooling subject!
Our algebra story (so far)…
One down, two to go. My oldest (11th grade) has successfully made it through Saxon PreAlgebra, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. I really have no problems with algebra as long as I’m doing the lessons right alongside my children. BUT, who wants to do each and every lesson right alongside their children? So…after entering Algebra I with my daughter, I found that jumping into the middle of a lesson or chapter to try to answer a question was more than I was able to do without great effort.
What to do?? I could have hired a tutor or entered her into a dual credit college class – both of which would have been perfectly acceptable. I didn’t want to take such a drastic step at first. Luckily, we found the Saxon Teacher CD’s to be just the answer for her. Each lesson was presented clearly by a teacher and a complete walk-through of each and every problem was available when she got stuck.
Then comes number 2…
The second kid has been a little more challenging up to this point. He is really good at math, but hates it. That means he and Saxon don’t get along so well. Through product reviewing, I’ve found a couple of resources that are right up his alley and we’re finding PreAlgebra and Algebra I to be a success.
1. No-Nonsense Algebra (which I reviewed at The Curriculum Choice in April.)
2. And newest to me, Real-World Algebra
“Mom, really? I will never use any of this algebra stuff when I grow up. Why do I have to do this??” (Repeat that question about 4,563 times and you’ll begin to feel my pain.)
This kid is all about practicality. Do his assignments make sense in his [limited] view of what he needs in the real world? When I saw the title of this Hickory Grove Press book by Ed Zaccaro, Real World Algebra, I knew I had to have it.
Is it living up to it’s title?
Yes! While my son isn’t magically begging for math, he is enjoying the conversational lesson style. Two characters talk to each other about how this algebra thing works and why it’s important to know. Their conversation is where the teaching for each new lesson happens. In other words, it’s way less “academic” in appearance, but still packs a big punch in teaching. In fact, I feel like we’re getting even further in solving complex problems quickly!
How I’m using Real World Algebra
Because Real World Algebra is set up so nicely in topical chapters, we are using each chapter as “teaching time with mom.” In other words, we go through one chapter together over several days. We read the conversations between characters together, work a few of the problems together on the white board and then he practices a few problems on his own.
With the conversational style of the lessons, I’ve found Caleb “getting it” way faster than if he were reading a dry lesson. This kid thrives on relationships, so the combination of the relationship he forms with the characters of the book and the relational lessons he and I have, he is tackling much harder concepts than before with less effort.
Real World Algebra moves fast. I like that we learn how to solve 6n-8=22 and pretty quickly move on to 4n-9+2n-6-7n=6n-36. You might think that’s an awfully big jump to make in just a lesson or two, but the way it’s explained makes the fast progression pretty easy.
Because it moves fast (and I feel like information overload will clog up the learning pipes of my sweet son), we do a chapter or two from Real World Algebra together and then take a few weeks break to jump back into No-Nonsense Algebra for a chapter or two. No-Nonsense Algebra is a different sort of learning that requires Caleb to read short lessons and watch a teaching video. He doesn’t like this style quite as much, but it’s good for him to adapt to learning this way more! I’ve seen a huge improvement in his independent understanding since adding in Real World Algebra!
Don’t be afraid of algebra – there’s plenty of help out there!
Another new to me middle and upper level math resource you might like to check out:
(Real World Algebra was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. As always, all thoughts are strictly my own.)
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