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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Critical Thinking Co.'s Understanding Algebra I Review

So I have a daughter who is struggling to understand algebra.  We are on our second Algebra curriculum.  One of the blessings of homeschooling is that we can change our curriculum midstream if we need to.  But in doing so she hasn't made much progress IN algebra.  And most standardized tests assume that you, at the end of 9th grade, have a pretty decent working knowledge of algebra.  So when the opportunity to review Understanding Algebra I, I jumped at it.

The author of Understanding Algebra I, Terri Husted, is an award winning classroom teacher with 30 years of classroom experience.  The book is 12 chapters long and covers topics like Evaluating Expressions and Solving Equations, Polynomials, and Linear Functions.  Each chapter then has several lessons which end in a page of practice problems.  After the practice problems, there are "More Practice" pages available if your student needs more work on the lesson topic.  Chapters end with a chapter review, and some have bonus activities like puzzles.

The pros:  No teacher's manual is needed for this Algebra.  The lessons are easy to follow, and all the answers are in the back of the book.  The book is full color and over 300 pages long.  There is a glossary in the back.  But the biggest pro is that my daughter actually asked if we could keep using this book and not go back to her other Algebra book.  That's pretty high praise right there!  On my part, I appreciated that the text is easy to follow and that all the answers are in the back.

The cons:  I'm not sure that all the concepts have enough explanation for this to be a standalone curriculum for a student weak in math.  I let my daughter read the lessons and then do the problems on her own, but consistently had to go back over the lessons with her and explain them more and walk her through the process for solving the problems.

The bottom line:  She likes this curriculum, so I think we will probably continue using it.  I like that the answers are all there in the back of the book so that I don't need to have a separate teacher's manual.  I'm okay with having to teach the lessons to her since I was having to do that before anyway.  She's also super excited that I am allowing her to write in this book so it can be her own instead of her having to write on separate sheets of paper.  Sure, it would be more practical to reuse the book, but if she's excited about doing it because she can write in the book, I'll go with that.

You can buy Understanding Algebra I directly from The Critical Thinking Co.'s website.  It normally retails for $39.99 but I have a bonus for you, my readers:

15% Off Any Size Order!

Details: Offer expires 5/31/2015 at Midnight PST. Use Coupon Code BLOGR315. Online prepaid orders only. Valid one per customer. Offer does not apply to iOS or Android apps, or manipulatives such as Attribute Blocks, Interlocking Cubes or Pattern Blocks. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or offers, and is not retroactive. Not valid on wholesale orders.
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