It’s no secret that I love Teaching Textbooks.
Well, it has basically saved our first year of homeschool.
When we first started, I was trying to sit down and teach math, for what turned out to be about an hour a day.
Finding an hour of uninterrupted time with a toddler around is basically impossible.
During that course of an hour, I had to get Barrett a snack (because the one I had just got him just wouldn’t do, so he had dumped it on the floor and done jumping jacks on it, to be sure I wouldn’t try to feed him that crap again), grab him off of the kitchen counters which he had just climbed, dodge the crayons being thrown at me, clean up his pee since he had ripped his diaper off, rescue the dog from having his tail pulled off…
You get the idea.
Homeschooling with a toddler is hard.
Like really hard.
Impossible at times.
Sure, you can distract them with Play-Doh or a box full of macaroni, or a tub full of water to splash carelessly in.
But for an hour a day? Do you realize how long an hour is in “toddler time?” It’s a LONG time!
So how do you manage to teach 5th grade math everyday? We struggled with this for a while before I started searching for an answer. I thought that maybe it would get easier, but no. It wasn’t getting easier. In fact, it was starting to make Emersyn resent her hour of one-on-one time with Bear. She couldn’t keep him busy or distracted for that long, every single day.
I stumbled upon Teaching Textbooks and can honestly say it has made the biggest difference in our day.
The program comes with a set of CD-ROMs, a consumable work book and an answer key. We do not use anything except the CD-ROMs.
Well, because we don’t need to.
The CD-ROMs have a built in grading system and records all grades for me. I can also see how many tries used to get the correct answer, as well as if she viewed the solution to the problem.
Okay- so I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me explain how the program works.
You start out by watching a lecture. This lecture is interactive. It walks you step by step through the problems, and you have to type in the answers to each step.
The lectures are very thorough and I have never had to clarify anything in it for Natali.
Next, you do about 5 “practice” problems. These do not count against your grade, if you miss them.
The lessons all have about 21 problems, not counting the practice problems.
If you miss the problem, you get a second chance to find the correct answer. If you still get the wrong answer, you have the option to view the solution. When viewing the solution, the problem is really broken down for you, into the simplest form.
Can you imagine the HOURS put into building a curriculum that has detailed answers to each problem, walking you step by step through the problem and answer! Not to mention that most of the problems also have a “hint” button you can use if you need a reminder of how to arrive at the answer.
The program gives you your score, after each problem, letting you know just how you’re doing.
Once the lesson is complete, you can view the gradebook. It shows you the problems that were missed, how many attempts were made and whether or not the solution was viewed.
This is a big one for me.
I want to know that Natali took the time to find out why she got the wrong answer.
It usually takes Natali about 40 minutes to finish one lesson, including the lecture.
The lessons also cover real world topics, and tell you how you might need the lesson in real life. Imagine my surprise when Natali told me she had learned about stocks in math!
The program is relatively expensive, running at about $150 for the set. However. The program can be resold, once you are done with it. I just searched for Teaching Textbooks 7 on Ebay and viewed the completed listings. The going rate for the full set of used curriculum is about $115-$135. Not too shabby! So while the initial investment sucks, at the end of the school year, I can potentially sell the set and only be out $30 or so. And I do believe my sanity is worth $30 a year.
Some people say that Teaching Textbooks is behind. That may or may not be true. Natali has always been good at math but I wouldn’t say she’s a mathematical genius or anything. We did the placement test that Teaching Textbooks has on their website and Teaching Textbooks 7 was recommended for her, yet she is only in 5th grade. This does seem to be a good fit, challenging enough but not making her struggle with math. Next year, she will be starting Pre-Algebra. I’m crossing my fingers that she continues to soar.
The program offers 3rd-7th grades, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Aglebra 2, Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Not sure about you, but I never dreamed of doing Pre-Calculus in high school.
A lot of people struggle to teach math to their homeschooler because they themselves struggled with it.
I’m not crazy about math, but I know I could teach it, well up until high school. However, with Teaching Textbooks, I don’t need to.
My favorite part of Teaching Textbooks is that it can be completed with very, very little help from me. Natali actually does her Teaching Textbooks first thing in the morning. After breakfast, she grabs her laptop and goes to her bedroom, emerging about an hour later, with her math complete. Only maybe three times has she had to ask for help from me. I think this also gives her confidence in herself.
While Natali is in her room, I can finish up Emersyn’s math, play with Barrett or unload my dishwasher.
If you are struggling with getting everything done, or you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water, I would encourage you to give Teaching Textbooks a try.