Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Friday, July 27, 2012

TOS Review: Math Essentials~No Nonsense Algebra

     Math Essentials is a company that supplies teachers and parents with workbooks, DVDs, and online instruction with the goal of greatly improving student's math knowledge and test scores. My son and I were glad to have the opportunity to try out and review one of their newer math books, "No-nonsense Algebra"

Basic Facts about No-nonsense Algebra:
  • Cost: $27.95 per workbook.  This includes free online access to instructional videos.
  • If you purchase 11 or more workbooks, the cost goes down to $25.95 per book.
  • Owner/Author: Richard Fisher, Math Essentials, P.O. Box 1723, Los Gatos, CA, 95031
  • Phone: 866-444-MATH
  • Speak to the author: 408-358-6586
  • Unconditional Guarantee (see details on their homepage)
  • Richard W. Fisher (Owner/Author/Teacher) is the winner of Intel Innovations in Teaching Award.
Our Homeschool's Experience No-nonsense Algebra:
    As my son worked through the integer section of chapter 1 in No-nonsense Algebra, I couldn't help but remember his first encounter with negative numbers years ago.  My husband and I were returning from a night out, when we were greeted by the babysitter, "I taught your oldest son negative numbers tonight."  He wasn't any older than 2nd grade.  We got a big kick out of that.  He was able to do very simple computations, and of course we were very proud!  We never really tried to teach negative numbers again...until No-nonsense Algebra. 
    We received a No-nonsense Algebra workbook and access to online instruction.  This algebra curriculum is complete.  This is not a review or a practice workbook.  Even though this is a complete algebra program, it is definitely not daunting.  The workbook itself is under 300 pages, and the lessons a relatively short time to complete.  (My son was able to complete the video and his seat work in about 30 minutes.)  The solutions to the problems are located in the back of the book.  The only thing I wish this program included would be explanations to the answers, either via video or a seperate teacher's guide.

I like how each lesson is broken down into four parts: Introduction, Examples, Exercises and Review.
There seems to be enough room to write the answers in the workbook, but my son chose to write his answers on notebook paper.

     The "No-nonsense" in the name is well-deserved.  We found this math curriculum to have all the necessities, but none of the "fluff".  When accessing the videos online, it is very easy to select the chapter you are on in order to watch the next "video".  There is "just enough" time given on the video and the independent work in the workbook.  The review each day is also not overkill. 
     The "video" consists of a white board, where the teacher (Mr. Fisher) writes as he teaches.  You never see the teacher, just hear his voice.  His voice, by the way, is very pleasant and personable.  You can tell he loves math, and that makes a big difference.  You feel as if you are really sitting in a class hearing your teacher or professor teaching you.  He asks students to do things like take out a piece of paper and write out the problem as he works it out.  Mr. Fisher also reviews past concepts as he goes. 
            My 14-year-old (entering 8th grade) son has had nothing but good things to say about this algebra curriculum.  Some of his quotes about the program:
"I liked it, it was very easy to follow."
"I was impressed with him."  (The teacher on the online videos.)
"He teaches you things you wouldn't normally think of--very thorough."
"I like how he asks me to do things with him so I don't loose focus."

     **I still cannot get over how inexpensive this program is.  $27.95 is such a great deal!**

Check out what others on the TOS Crew have to say about Math Essentials here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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