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Teaching Textbooks — Math 3, Math 4, Math 5, Math 6, Math 7, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus

Publisher: Teaching Textbooks
Author: Greg Sabouri and Shawn Sabouri
Review last updated: September 2011

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

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Teaching Textbooks

See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

I knew that Teaching Textbooks were going to be added to my Top Picks next time around as soon as I reviewed the first few courses. These fantastic courses were designed specifically for homeschoolers to solve some of the issues that make math challenging for them.
The textbooks are written directly to the student and do not assume the presence of a teacher. Explanations are clear and complete, with plenty of practical examples. Companion CD-ROMs actually teach the lesson for Math 3, Math 4, Math 5, Math 6, Math 7, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra 1 while upper level students might work either from the textbooks or the CDs. (CDs will run on either Windows or Mac systems for all courses.) For Math 3 through Algebra 1 it is actually possible to work only with the CDs. However, as students encounter more difficult problems such as long division, they will then need to copy problems and work them on paper. The text saves the copying step, and it also provides an easy way for either student or parent to review a lesson.
In the textbooks, a light-hearted touch avoids silliness but gives the texts a user-friendly feeling. This is evident in everything from the typeface and layout through the occasional cartoon illustration and the wording of the text itself.
Lessons are taught in a traditional fashion. The new concept is presented, followed by examples then practice problems. Next, students work through a set of problems on their own (about 18-25 problems per lesson). Problem sets include continual review of previously-learned concepts. In addition, key points are highlighted for quick student review....
The textbooks are soft-cover, plastic-spiral- bound, ranging from 612 to 872 pages in length. The paper is a bit thin for textbooks, but the books are already more than an inch thick. (Pre-Calculus is two inches thick!) Durability might be a concern. I know that is a lot of pages for each course, but there are two obvious reasons: each page is less crowded than pages in many other courses, and expanded explanations that make the material much more understandable take up extra space, particularly in high school level books.
Problem sets in each lesson are laid out such that students can actually do some of their work directly in the textbook. However, in high school level books, it is not practical for students to solve lengthy problems in the textbook, so you might want to have students solve and answer all problems in separate notebooks....
The Teaching Textbooks series is a college prep curriculum even though it is not as rigorous as some other courses. However, textbooks for the elementary grades move at a slower pace than other series such as Horizons and Saxon....Placement tests on the publisher’s website will help you select the correct level.
There are some very important differences between courses up through Algebra 1 (i.e., Math 3 through Math 7, Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1) and Algebra 2 and up. I’ll first address the lower level courses.
Each Math 3 through Math 7 course comes with a set of four CD-ROMs; Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 each have ten CDs. CDs include lectures, problems, quizzes, and complete solutions. Students actually enter answers on the computer. The CD will track student responses. They can have a second try if they miss a problem, but the program will report this. This automatic gradebook feature enters reports for practice problems (which are optional), assigned problems, and quizzes....
Significantly, students begin by watching the lectures on the CD then read the summary in the textbook. Next, they work the practice problems in the workbook, entering their answers in the computer. For problems they miss, they should watch the solution on the CD. Then they are ready to tackle the problem set, again beginning in the workbook then entering answers on the computer. They can still view solutions if they continue to make errors. Voice hints are available for the hardest problems. Parents should review progress before students go on to the next lesson. Each chapter concludes with a quiz. These courses also each come with an answer booklet that is strictly an answer key for practice problems, lesson problems, and quizzes....
Families are given permission to install the CDs on as many computers as they like, which means that two or more students might be working in the same course at the same time. Even better, each time a student completes the course, you can simply reinstall for a new student. That means that all of your children can use the course over subsequent years. (Note: after two installations, you will have to contact Teaching Textbooks for new activation codes.)

Math 3

Math 3 covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, money, time, geometry, and measurement, plus a final lesson introducing the concept of percent. Much of the addition and subtraction instruction might review concepts already learned at earlier levels since it begins with simple addition and very gradually builds toward carrying in lesson 47 and borrowing (regrouping) in lesson 87....multiplication covers only through single-digit multipliers and division only through single-digit divisors. Fractions begin with basic concepts up through adding and subtracting fractions with common denominators. Numerous word problems help students with mathematical thinking and practical application. This level also includes plenty of pictorial representation (e.g., number lines, fraction circles, multiplication arrays, clocks, coins, geometric shapes, different types of graphs) in the textbook, another reason to not work only with the CD’s.

Math 4

Math 4 reviews and re-teaches concepts taught in Math 3, then continues to build new concepts. Reflecting the slower pace of Teaching Textbooks, concepts that generally appear earlier in other courses don’t show up till near the end. Some examples would be multiplication by two-digit multipliers, long division, division with a remainder, and changing improper fractions to mixed numbers. Roman numerals are taught at this level.

Math 5

Math 5 again reviews the basics with the first 29 lessons heavily focused on addition, subtraction, and multiplication along with review of Roman numerals (taught at the end of Math 4), and introduction of rounding and estimating. Interestingly, more time seems to be spent on decimals before complete coverage of fractions, but both topics are covered extensively at this level.

Math 6

Math 6 reviews the four basic arithmetic operations, place value, and time. It spends a great deal of time reviewing and teaching new concepts with fractions, decimals, and percents. It also covers geometry (points, lines, line segments, angles, both area and perimeter for polygons, circumference for circles, and introduction of geometric solids), units of measure (including metric system), and graphing concepts (e.g., number line, thermometers, bar graphs, circle graphs)....A student with weak math skills might be able to pick up what he or she is missing since this course is fairly comprehensive on arithmetic basics. It might be too repetitive for a student who already has developed strong skills in the basic operations....

Math 7

Math 7 covers many of the same topics as Math 6, but review is briefer. Then each topic is tackled at a distinctly more challenging level. For example, fractions moves on to ratios, percents include work with fractions and decimals plus real life applications like commissions and sales tax, and geometry gets into computing the volume of solids. Statistics, probability, graphing, equations, and inequalities are also taught this year. "Additional topics" delves into powers, exponents, square roots, Pythagorean theorem, and work with negative numbers.

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Algebra briefly reviews whole number operations, fractions, decimals, percents, and measurement....The rest of the book covers beginning algebra, negative numbers, exponents and roots—topics typical of all pre-algebra courses. Pre-Algebra 2.0 has now added 37 lessons that tackle plane and solid geometry, functions, relations, graphing, statistics, probability, and other more challenging concepts. "Additional Topics" covered at the end of the text include equations and the distributive property, absolute value, distance formula, and more on formulas....

Algebra 1

Algebra 1 seems to have more review of basic operations and pre-algebra concepts at the beginning than do some other texts. Algebra 1 version 2.0 has raised the bar a bit higher by adding sixteen new lessons covering functions, relations, statistics, probability, graphing with a calculator, the quadratic formula, absolute value, two-variable inequalities, and other more challenging topics. These additions address concerns that version 1.0 was not challenging enough. With version 2.0, overall, topic coverage is similar to that of many other first year algebra courses, but with more thorough explanation. It is not as advanced as courses such as Saxon's new Algebra 1.

Algebra 2 through Pre-Calculus

Now, I'll focus on the courses for Algebra 2 and above.

CD sets are not essential as with the lower level courses, but they are a very positive feature. All courses have optional CD packages—none of which require installation. Let's look first at the Lecture & Practice CD sets. There are four CDs each for Algebra 2 and Geometry, and seven CDs for Pre-Calculus. Pop one in a computer and it comes up with an easy-to-use interface listing lessons and your choice of lecture or specific problems.

The lecture is an audio presentation accompanied by step-by-step written explanation showing how to work each problem....Students can actually choose to use either the CD or the textbook—they will get the complete presentation either way with the exception of solutions/explanations to the practice problems which are only on the CDs. Students might work through the lesson in the textbook, then use the lecture/practice problem CDs only when they need help working out the sample problems....

The Solutions CDs—six each for Algebra 2 and Geometry, and seven for Pre-Calculus—provide complete solutions for all problems except those on the tests....These Solution CDs make it possible for students to work independently, even when parents lack familiarity with the subject matter.

Both sets of CDs are packaged together for each course along with the separate Test Solutions CD and come as part of the complete package....

Each textbook comes with an Answer Key & Test Bank book. The first part is strictly answers (without solutions) for all problems sets. Second are chapter tests with 24-25 problems per test. Finally, there is an answer key for the test problems....

Complete solutions to test problems are available on one of the CDs for each course.

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 reflects fairly typical second year algebra course content, but not advanced. It gets into functions at the end of the book, but matrices and determinants aren't covered. More-advanced programs include all these topics. While Teaching Textbooks algebra courses are not as advanced as some, they do include practical applications in areas such as banking and physics that make them more practical than others. Word problems in all lessons also help students grasp how they might actually use algebra in real life. [Note that advanced topics such as matrices and determinants are covered in Teaching Textbook's Pre-calculus course. For students who want to cover those extra topics...without going to the next book, lessons and problem sets covering those topics are posted on the website. Students can access these without charge.]

Geometry

Geometry uses a traditional Euclidean approach, beginning with a chapter on logic and reasoning, then moving onto definitions, postulates and theorems. Formal proofs are introduced very early at the beginning of chapter three. However, constructions are not really incorporated into the text; they're in the final section of the book titled "Additional Topics." Analytical geometry using the coordinate plane is also reserved for the end of the book. As with the algebra courses, practical applications and occasional word problems help students understand how they might make use of geometry.

Pre-Calculus

....This is a challenging course that begins with functions and moves on from there. Topics covered are polynomial functions, rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, radical functions, power functions, triangle trigonometry, trigonometric functions, trigonometric identities, vectors and polar coordinates, systems/matrices/determinants, analytic geometry (advanced), sequences/probability/statistics, and introduction to calculus. "Additional topics" include Pascal's triangle, the binomial theorem, synthetic division, more on sines and cosines, more on complex numbers, De Moivre's theorem, and fitting a graph to data.

If you have a high speed connection to the internet, you can access a free demo at the publisher’s website: www.teachingtextbooks.com.

Pricing

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    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: best for Perfect Paula and Competent Carl, but good for all
      Suitable for: independent study
      Audience:
      grades 2-12
      Need for parent/teacher instruction:
      minimal
      Prep time needed:
      0
      Educational Philosophy: traditional
      Religious perspective: secular

    Publisher's Info

    Teaching Textbooks

    PO Box 60529
    Oklahoma City, OK 73146
    866-TOP-MATH
    www.teachingtextbooks.com