Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Teaching Textbooks (A Homeschool Crew Review)


 Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew  


 I'm always super excited when I get to try out a product that I've actually had my eye on but was hesitant to actually invest in, unsure how it would work with my family.  Teaching Textbooks is one of those products.  We have considered using it in the past, even before it started having a web based subscription option and was limited to the purchase of the courses on computer CDs, but didn't pull the plug because we already had various different options that we could use already.  When we were given the option to review Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 with both kids, I knew it was something I wanted to try out.


For this review, we were offered one grade level for the new Teaching Textbooks 4.0 online course.  We elected to choose the Grade 6 level for both Garrett and Ashleigh to use in our home for the last few weeks. 

Teaching Textbooks is a comprehensive math program, written specifically for homeschoolers, and contains automated grading with a digital grade book, step-by-step audiovisual solutions for every one of the thousands of assigned problems, interactive lectures for each lesson, and more. It offers complete teaching, as well as explanations to every solution of every problem, and automated grading.  Grades offered are 3rd Grade thru Pre-Calculus with an available placement test to find out what grade is right for your student.  It is recommended that students use the program 4-5 days a week.

The digital program offers access to the course for 12 months (however, lifetime access is given to the gradebook) .  In addition, there are 3 months of pause time to be used for things like vacation and breaks, when families plan to not access their courses.  The pause time is set on the parental side of the account and can be used in increments of at least 7 days. The pause time does not count against the 12 months of access.

 Our Review

For the review period, we used Teaching Textbooks daily, five days a week as our primary math curriculum with both Ashleigh and Garrett.  Both kids have been working thru the 6th Grade level but each have their own account, password and grade book. Grade 6 starts with whole numbers, moves on to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, decimals, ratios, mixed numbers, simply geometry equations, and more.  

Each day, the kids log into their account and complete their next lesson.  Upon entering their password, the application opens directly to the student's dashboard.  From the dashboard, the student can work on their lessons, view their gradebook, view the Ebook version of the lessons, and customize their learning experience.


Student Dashboard
It's super easy for them to keep track of which lesson they are on because the application opens directly where they left off, allowing them to see what the next lesson covers.  So for example, if the day before they complete Lesson 24, then the lesson book will open showing Lesson 23 as complete and that Lesson 24 on "Multiplication with 3 or More Digits" is next.  They can also look ahead to see that following Lesson 24, they will have a Quiz over previous lessons.  Quizzes are built in and occur after every 6-7 lessons, on average. 

Each lesson follows the same format:  students are introduced to the mathematical concept for that lesson.  The teaching lessons themselves are fairly short, between 5 to 10 minutes in length.  After the lesson, students move on to practice questions followed by the actual assignment.  The assignment following each lesson is typically 22 questions consisting of a mix of both the material just learned as well as review material from previous lessons. 


Immediate feedback is given as the student answers the question.  Parents can selection in the parent's dashboard whether or not the student can reattempt the problems that they get wrong.  For us, I allowed this option so that the kids could try the question again when they got them wrong.  After a 2nd attempt at getting the question incorrect, the application then provides an explanation as to how to solve the problem.  

For those who may not understand the lesson well enough to progress, there is also an Ebook version of lessons available to review.  These explain the math concept each lesson covers step by step to help the student to understand.  These are available to print out from the application for the student to study off the computer.

 Parents (and students) can view the Gradebook to see what lessons have been worked on and how the students scored on those lessons.  Each lesson has the option to view the details of the lessons as well which shows what problems answered correctly, which ones were answered wrong, whether or not a 2nd chance was used and if a hint was used to answer the questions.


I have been really pleased with our experience with Teaching Textbooks.  Both Garrett and Ashleigh have both done well with it so far and the immediate feedback/grading really helps them, especially when they get answers correct as it allows them the peace of mind knowing they are doing the problems correctly, rather than finding out after turning their assignment in and getting everything wrong because they did not understand the concept.  This has been especially true for Ashleigh who has absolutely no confidence when it comes to mathematics.  As she has gotten answers correct and scores high on her assignments, I notice her confidence has improved dramatically.

One small hickup we found was the pause option.  Parents can pause the course for their students for up to 3 months of time throughout the year they have access to the course.  This is done thru the parent's dashboard.  Pausing the course turned out to be super easy. I knew we were moving and that we would not have internet access for an extended period of time. To be on the safe side, I paused the course til mid-May knowing that I would have internet access by then. 

Easy to Pause when Needed

However, when we were able to get internet a few days ago and I wanted have the kids start back with their course work, I was unable to find any way to unpause after the fact.  I ended up contacting them this morning via email and quickly got a response from their customer service who unpaused the account for me no problem.  However, I think having the option to unpause the account from the parent's account might be a suggestion in the future.

Accounts Paused

Over the years, we have used MANY math programs, some good, some bad, and some alright.  In my opinion, I think Teaching Textbooks ranks up there as one of the best, if not THE best for our family.  Having the opportunity to review the digital version and seeing how well my kids have done with it, I think it's safe to say that this is a program we will be investing in for years to come. 

To learn more about Teaching Textbooks and Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0, be sure to visit the company's website.  You can also find the company on the following websites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Teachingtextbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TThomeschool
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teachingtextbooks/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVlomrjY7xTs2cRxSsuKCrw

#hsreviews #TeachingTextbooks

Be sure to click the banner below to read reviews from other Crew Members who have used different grade levels with their students. 

Reviews of Teaching Textbooks

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Math U See (A Homeschool Crew Review)

 Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew  

 My kids have really struggled learning their multiplication tables.  Actually, I take that back, they know them to an extent but they lack confidence and often second guess their answers.  When were given the opportunity to review Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division from Math-U-See, we were really excited.   In the past, the kids had reviewed the Addition/Subtraction version of the same program which really helped them so I was hoping this program would work just as well for them.

In the package we found everything needed for the program. This included the resource guide and information for registering online to access the digital toolkit to use with the program, a set of integer blocks, fact check cards to be used with each lesson, and math strategy posters that help to illustrate the strategies used in the program. 


AIM stands for Accelerated Individualized Mastery - meaning that this product is designed specifically for students who struggle and have not yet mastered their multiplication facts, causing them to struggle as they advance to other math skills  The program uses three modes of instruction:

  • Accelerated – The opportunity for students to move quickly through a skill set they have not yet mastered, without extra distractions.
  • Individualized – Each student is different, as are their learning preferences. Using as many approaches as possible, the program creates an environment for a student to master the skills they still need at their own pace.
  • Mastery – In this program, mastery means that a student can recall all the math facts using as little mental energy as possible to remain engaged in the process of problem solving.

The AIM program uses explicit teaching and modeling of fact strategies, linking that understanding thru the "build, write, say" process (which I'll describe in just a moment), practicing to mastery by use of both what the student has already learned (referred to as facts known in the program) as well as new multiplication facts, and the use of short, frequent sessions to avoid burn out and maximize retention.

Major Concepts and Skills Include:
● Mathematical strategies that build number sense
● Specific mathematical strategy for each set of facts based on a process rather than a trick
or skip counting
● "Key" facts and "Companion" facts (application of Commutative Property)
● Methods for fading from use of manipulatives
● An optional section highlighting the relationship between multiplication and division
Product Components:
● Math-U-See Integer Blocks
● Resource Guide
● Math Fact Strategy Posters
● Fact Check Cards
● Digital Pack - Note: The Digital Pack includes lesson videos, instructions, solutions, and
printable resources required for successful implementation of the AIM for Multiplication
program. Internet access is required to utilize the Digital Pack.

Session A presents the new lesson information.  During this portion, the student uses the Build, Write, Say method.  The teacher presents an equation, to which the student the uses the manipulatives to "build" the problem,  they then write the problem down on a piece of paper, and finally they repeat the equation and the answer aloud.  The student then takes a break.

Session B is demonstrating understanding of the material using word problems.  This confirms that the student can still demonstrate the facts using the manipulatives after taking a break.  If the student does show the need for more practice at this point, the teacher can use the additional activities in the resource guide or also go to the digital toolbox and access various activities to help with more practice.  The student again takes a break following this session.

Session C is set to transition math facts to the visual memory of the student. This helps the student move from using the manipulatives and instead use the colored pencils to draw the equation rather than build it. The colored pencils coordinate with the same colors as the blocks, so the kids are asked to use them to build the equation on the paper.  The program calls this "fading". The student should be able to draw, write, and say each math fact card for the lesson.  Cards are divided into to piles in this session: facts known and facts not yet known.  Facts known are those the student can draw, write and say from memory where the second pile is those facts the student could not draw, write and say.
These facts are then reinforced by having the student either use the manipulatives to build, write and say the facts or choose a game from the activities section to help them learn the facts.  


Session D is Access for Memory.  Using the fact cards, students are asked to solve the equation from memory.  Again, each equation is placed in 2 piles: those equations the child was able to correctly answer quickly and those that the student needs to practice again.  Each equation on the fact card is to be answered correctly three times - each correct answer a star is filled in at the bottom of the card indicating a correct response.  This step is repeated until all fact cards for that lesson have been answered correctly three times and all stars are filled in.  Once all cards are mastered, the student is ready to go on to the next lesson.

In addition to the activities available for extra practice, the digital toolbox also offers a worksheet generator which can create a twenty question printable worksheet to use with your student and drill generators.  You can also print fact mastery charts to use rather than the fact cards.   

We really liked the additional activities that the tool kit provided.. These included games that incorporated the skills as well as additional handouts that the kids could work on. 

 This is a program we will be using for a while until the kids get their multiplication facts completely, but it has helped their confidence greatly as they know do not hesitate to answer the facts they have already learned. 



 For more information, be sure to visit the Math U See website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mathusee
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mathusee
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mathusee/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mathusee
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/mathusee 


Be sure to click the banner below where you can read how other families used the program with their families.

Math-U-See Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division Reviews


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