## Monday, July 23, 2012

### Math Essentials—Algebra and Geometry

We recently had the opportunity to try out two different books from Math Essentials --Geometry, which is part of the Mastering Essential Math Skills series and No Nonsense Algebra. I’ll describe each of them separately.

Geometry (\$11.95), as stated above is part of the Mastering Essential Math Skills series. This 80 page book is an upper elementary/middle school geometry workbook that covers vocabulary, points, lines, planes, perimeter, area, volume, and the Pythagorean theorem. Each page is designed to take 20 minutes to complete and includes “helpful hints” that cover the main points of the lesson and daily review of previously learned concepts. Many students might find the “helpful hints” enough to teach the material, but I discussed the lessons with Emily before she worked the problems.

We are finding Geometry to be a good review of concepts that Emily studied last year as well as a way to fill in gaps of some concepts that she doesn’t have yet.

No Nonsense Algebra (\$27.95), is a complete algebra course. Each lesson is presented  on one or two pages and includes an introduction (teaching), examples, exercises, and review. Additionally, there is an online teaching segment for each lesson (included free with book purchase). These 8-10 minutes videos are taught by “America’s Math Teacher,” Richard W. Fisher. The student is reminded frequently to write out every example to aid in retention. The topics covered in this course include:

Chapter  1            Necessary Tools for  Algebra
Chapter  2            Solving Equations
Chapter  3            Graphing and Analyzing Linear equations
Chapter  4            Solving and Graphing Inequalities
Chapter  5            Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Chapter  6            Polynomials
Chapter  7            Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
Chapter  8            Radical Expressions and Geometry
Chapter 10          Algebra Word Problems

Emily enjoyed using No-Nonsense Algebra because the lessons are fairly short and each lesson focuses on a single concept. She is a student who needs the daily review, so the 4 daily problems that review previous lessons are very helpful.

Emily says that the videos “are interesting and make the math easy to understand.” Thus far, I haven’t had to re-explain anything to her, so they seem to be doing a good job!

I really hadn’t decided what math program to use for her this coming year. The one that my older kids used at her age is very challenging and I was afraid that she would find it overwhelming. Another text that I already had on my shelf was very “busy” and seemed like it would be too distracting with all the sidebars, cross-curricular connections and features about scientists, mathematicians, and math in the world around us. I think this is exactly what she needs—just the math, clear explanations, worked out examples, and daily review. Although she is really at a pre-algebra level, the first two chapters are perfect for her, so we’ll do those, then probably supplement with some other materials until I am sure she’s ready to go on with Algebra and continue with this book.

I think this is a great program at a great price. I’m hoping that future volumes of Math Essentials higher math will be published soon!

Interested in a discount? Math Essentials will be offering a special promotion for the months of July, August, and September.  The promotion applies to any order placed through the Math Essentials website. Any order that includes Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1, OR, Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2, OR, No-Nonsense Algebra, will include a free copy of Geometry (A \$14.95 value) plus a free Homework Kit (A \$4.99 value).

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received these 2 books free  in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.