Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Math Refresher for Adults (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Anyone who has read my blog for any period of time knows that math is NOT my subject. I had to repeat Algebra in high school and I barely scraped by to pass Algebra 2 my senior year.   As much as I loved the sciences, I was too scared to take chemistry and physics because I was told that I would not do well because I struggled with math.   Even as a respiratory therapist, I needed to use algebraic equations to properly set medical equipment (the Servo 900C ventilator anyone?) and there were times I was extremely intimidated having to do so, because I feel so crippled by my math abilities.

Because of this, I do worry about how I will handle teaching the kids when I'll probably be learning right beside them. While I'm not going to go trying to teach myself Trigonometry or Calculus anytime soon, there have been times that I have needed a bit of a refresher on how to work a particular style problem. In those types of cases, I am glad to have references such as Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials to fall back to in order to refresh (or even teach) myself.

Math Refresher for Adults was designed to help adults to master essential, foundational math skills
that they will need in their lives.  The "lessons" are short and use simple to understand language  and the purchase of the book also provides access to video lessons for even more reinforcement.

The 270 page paperback book, written by Richard W. Fisher covers general mathematics as well as pre-algebra and algebra skills. A detailed table of contents provides an easy way to look up exactly what you are needing to brush up on.

Covered Topics include:
  • Whole Numbers 
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Geometry 
  • Integers
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Word Problems
  • Pre-Algebra and Algebra
The final 45 pages of the book include solutions for all problems, as well as a glossy of mathematical terms, a list of important symbols used in math that many might not be familiar with, and finally a few various helpful charts such as Square roots.

While not actually lessons per say, each page contains a section of Helpful Hints to help guide, step by step, how to solve the problem.   Online video tutorials for a more in depth audio/visual instruction are available on a supplied website, however, these videos were designed to use with previously published books.  The information is there to watch, but you will have to search for it as there's no quick access directly to the section of this particular book.

How I Used It:

While the book provides room to write in, I opted instead to write the problems and my work out on loose paper.  I figured this would be smart so that when I forget once again how to do a particular problem, I can again revisit it and work the problems again without having to erase or already have the answers.    So with my paper and pencil, I would retreat to my bedroom and work through a page or two of problems.

I'll admit, I started from the beginning, which was just basic whole number addition.  Granted, it wasn't 1+1=2.  The first lesson starts with multiple digit column style addition.  I can do those pretty well (although I will admit to using my fingers from time to time haha).

Best way to start when you stink at math?  The Very Basics ;)
 From the first set of problems, I've just slowly worked my way through the pages.  While some may want to skip around and only refresh on things they struggle with, I personally feel a bit better easing myself into the waters, so to speak. I'm honestly am that intimidated by math..

I'm actually glad that I started from the beginning, because some of the authors ways of doing math are much different from the way I learned it in school many many years ago.  For example, in the division section, using a problem such as 93 divided by 6.  For me, I would have come up with a quotient that was a decimal - in this case, 15.5.   (6 goes into 93 a total of 15 times with the three remaining, put a decimal point behind the 15, drop the 3, add a 0 to make it 30, 6 divided into 30 bein 5 for a final answer of 15.5).

 However, the method this particular book does early in the book has you simply making a notation that there are three remaining numbers.  Later in the book when decimals are covered, the old method of solving to zero that I learned in school is reintroduced. And while the Reminder Notation is definitely a simple way of doing it, I was REALLY glad I had worked through the book in order or I would have been completely confused when I saw an answer of 15 r3.

Overall, this is a very nice reference to have on hand. I can see it coming in handy when I need to refresh myself on skills when preparing for lessons with the kids.  However, my husband flipped through it a few times and commented that this book would be extremely useful when prepping for the ASVAB test, as it covered much of the same type of math skills that are covered on the military test. 

For more information about Math Refresher for Adults and the other math instruction books offered by Math Essentials, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook:

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

1 comment:

  1. This is a great article. Math is a tough subject for many of us to learn. I like how you are willing to show how you worked the problems out on paper. You are a great example to your children.


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