One of the top things said to me when I tell people that homeschool (other than the silly socialization question) is….”oh I couldn’t do that.” And when I say they can, they say “Well, I certainly couldn’t do math.” Typically, my answer is “neither do I!” LOL
With the wonderful resources available to homeschool parents and student these days, math doesn’t have to be scary. There are great online and book programs that allow parents and student to teach and learn math without feeling intimidated. No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials is one of those programs that makes math at home a breeze!
We have used math programs with DVDs or video lessons since the beginning. Not because I can’t teach them but, because, sometimes I think the guaranteed consistency of the video lessons is important for math and for my students to learn. (Plus it frees up some time to work with another student while the student watches the video lesson.) Of course, as the math becomes more difficult I like the watch the videos with my student because then we are both on the same page. I don’t want to answer a question or correct a problem without understanding how the teacher taught the concept. Video lessons like those in Math Essentials provide the stability and ease for math in our homeschool.
We used the program as a supplement to what we are doing. My middle schooler needs the extra help. And the video lessons are great for summer learning. (The video lessons are included with the purchase of the book.)
What does Math Essentials Provide?
Short and concise lessons that are presented in a unique way by the author, Richard W Fisher. The author states that the No-Nonsense Algebra book is not considered an algebra text per se but more of a way of teaching algebra effectively – to mastery. Each lesson has 5 key parts:
- Clear introduction and explanation for every topic and it is written out easily for the student to understand
- Helpful hints section that has shortcuts and useful tips.
- Step by step examples.
- Written exercises and the answers are provided.
- Review section to help your student recall what they have learned.
The lessons in No-Nonsense Algebra includes the following:
- Necessary Tools for Algebra
- Solving Equations
- Graphing and Analysing Linear Equations
- Solving and Graphing Inequalities
- Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
- Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
- Radical Expressions and Geometry
- Quadratic Equations
- Algebra Word Problems
The free video lessons are included for each lesson so the student can use the book with the video lessons or only when they don’t understand the concept being taught. There are a lot of examples provided in the lessons, both in the book and in the video lessons. Examples are important and a great way to see the concept being learned in action. Having lots of examples is important to us and No-Nonsense Algebra provides them.
The step-by-step solutions that are provided in the book and in the video lessons allow the student to work through the problem toward mastery of the concept. There is a review built into each lesson to help with mastery. And chapter tests and a final exam included in the book allows the student (and parent) to measure successful mastery of the concept.
How We Used No-Nonsense Algebra
We used this No-Nonsense Algebra book as a supplement to what we typically use. We used it a few days a week and we used the videos with each lesson. My daughter learns well from video lessons and I like that I can watch them too and be able to review them to answer questions, should they arise. The lessons were short enough to not be time invasive since it’s summer. And the videos are very much like watching the teacher write on the chalkboard (or whiteboard) in the classroom so it’s a good presentation.
I like that the video lessons are available 24/7 to use. My daughter might work through the lesson and have questions and then I could go through the video lesson later so we can work through the issues later together and I’m on the same page as the instructor in answering her questions. This is important in math I think. If she learns how to solve a problem in a particular manner, me answering the questions telling her a different way isn’t helpful so I like being able to watch the videos.
She would read the lesson and then watch the video and then work through the problems presented for practice in the lesson.
I loved the author’s tips peppered throughout the book as well. Every so often a page will appear with a tip from the author. Things like how to get the most out of the lessons, how to overcome getting problems wrong, and tips for solving algebra work problems for example. I liked these and they definitely provide some valuable tips and information.
Each chapter provides anywhere from 6 to 22 lessons, depending upon the topic. For instance, Chapter 1 is about essentially a review of basic math skills needed for learning algebra. There are 22 lessons and a chapter review in this lesson. This is primarily all we worked on during the review period. Being that my daughter is young and just starting out with algebra concepts, this was great! Other chapters like Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations and Quadratic Equations contains 6 lessons and a Chapter Review. All lessons have an accompanying video lesson.
Most of the video lessons are only 6-15 minutes in length, making it easy to manage. Not too much information is presented at one time so the student can master the concept without being inundated with lots of information. I like that they are short, bite-sized lessons to slowly work through concepts.
The back of the book has a final review, glossary, important formulas, and symbols. There is also a multiplication table, commonly used prime numbers, squares and square roots, fraction/decimal equivalents, and the solutions to the problems in the book. This was helpful for reference in remembering some of the skip counting and concepts previously learned.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NO NONSENSE ALGEBRA
Teaching math in homeschool can seem scary. But with programs that take the unease and complication out of teaching, like Math Essentials No Nonsense Algebra, homeschool parents can feel confident in teaching these concepts. The book and video paring to teach the concept in bite-size lessons make teaching complicated math concepts easy to manage. You can learn right along side of your student with this easy to use program.
Check out Math Essentials on Facebook and visit the Math Essentials website. And you can see the other great math programs that Math Essentials has to offer. Check out this short video about the programs Math Essentials offers.
Though there is no video about No Nonsense Algebra, you can check out a little more about Math Essential in general by viewing this great video, Math Essentials Final Cut from Richard Fisher, on Vimeo.