Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Algebra Do Over

So a couple of years ago when Kelly was getting ready to go into 9th grade a friend of mine said "you know you can probably skip Pre-Algebra and go right into Algebra."  She was a seasoned homeschooler and suggested I go to Saxon (the math texts we used) and take a placement test.  We did.  Kelly did well enough to go into Algebra 1.  It's been almost two school years now and it's just not clicking.  She's struggling every day, she hates math and it's really bothering me.  No one who homeschools should dread a subject THAT  much (in my opinion anyhow).

Saxon is a great piece of educational material, I'll say that.  It's worked wonders with my oldest daughter and for what it's been, my youngest too.  But as you get into the upper levels, if algebra isn't your strong point, you may have to rethink things.  Algebra isn't my strong point... I rethought this.  Sarah though, for what it's worth, sailed through it and loved it with no problem, so it's gotta be what's best for each child.

Well, I went online and looked around and came across Teaching Textbooks.  It was a unique looking curriculum.  The book looked marked up (similar to her notebooks by the end of the year) and was brightly colored and fun looking.  The lesson is worded in down to earth English (no mathese spoken here) and written with a sense of humor.  The idea behind the set is to watch the lesson (hello private tutor!), do the work and then any missed problems, you can watch another video and see what was done wrong.  I liked it.   BUT. It was expensive.

The price was completely out of my range.   What to do... check ebay.  Okay, no..  resale value is almost as high.  Wait.  Did I just say that?  I will be able to resale my items at almost the same price I paid.... hmmmm. Things like this is always a motivator for me, because that means the material is good.  Homeschoolers talk.  And they talk enough to know not to buy crappy materials repeatedly.  I mean when you start naming names in the homeschool curriculum community, there are very few that come highly recommended in each category.   So the best ones stand out with a higher price (not always, but most of the time).

After thinking it over a few days, I went ahead and had Kelly take a placement test on this site and sure enough, she fell into the Pre-Algebra range.  I don't know if it was a fluke the first time she took the quiz with Saxon or what, but I have felt guilty for skipping PA for so long.  Especially the more she struggled, I just felt like she didn't have the basics for the problems she needed.  And as the story ends, we're now the owners of our very own set of Teaching Textbooks, but more importantly, I hope we become a family where a lesson of math won't make for a horrible day.


  1. oh !! Algebra is not the easiest to learn ... and it surely needs valuable and fun ways to be teached ! So expensive material but I'm sure it will be a really good investment .... I've the same here in France with selling books on ebay ... we see easily what are the most interesting and having the best feedbacks , as we sell them quite the same price as the new ones ....
    Hope you've got a great EAster time .. here it's holidays ... long time I was not come and read you and it's always interesting !!

  2. Thanks Nadia! I'm so glad you came to visit. :) Easter was great but the year has passed so fast!