To be fair, my kids do pretty well with math once they understand what they are doing. But if they don't, it's frustration for everyone until they do understand. Especially my son. He's going into 8th grade and sometimes rushes through the teaching portion of a lesson, assuming he knows what he's doing, only to discover he's gotten everything wrong. Then he has to sit and wait while I read the lesson, figure out what I'm doing, and then teach him. It would be nice if I could remember what to do and help him the first time through!
That's one reason I was interested in this review. The book starts with elementary math and progresses through Algebra. I started with Algebra. That's the nice part about this book, you can go to any topic that you want to learn about, there's no need to work through the entire book unless you feel like you need to.
What's a lesson like?Each page begins with Review Exercises that cover previous exercises, mostly from the topic that section of the book is on. So if you don't understand the Review Exercises, it's a good sign that you may want to go back a few pages.
The second section is titled Helpful Hints. This is the teaching portion where you'll learn how to solve the problems. There are videos available to go with this section, which I'll talk about in a bit. This section has 10 problems to work out on the topic taught. There are boxes on the right side to write your answers in, but the book suggests working everything out on a separate paper. Note - each page says "it is illegal to photocopy this page."
The last section on the page is Problem Solving, and there is one word problem to work out.
Each topic ends with a cumulative review of 20 questions that covers all that was taught about that topic.
Videos:In the instructions at the front of the book, there are two websites suggested that contain video tutorials. Every lesson has one, but they are not organized according to this book. They are video tutorials from other Math Essentials books. But, I was able to find a video for every lesson that I looked for in the Algebra portion. They are not in the exact order that this book's Table of Contents shows, but they are close enough that you can find what you need. Ideally, the author should consider creating a new web page for THIS book that links to each existing video as shown in the Table of Contents.
Some videos require a password to view, but they are shown with the list of videos.
In the videos, the author instructs you to work out every example problem on paper with him. This is exactly what I tell my kids to do with their math videos. By doing that I was able to catch on and remember faster. The videos are a virtual whiteboard with a teacher speaking and are easy to follow along with. Between the videos and the instructions in the book, I felt the topics were presented in an easy to understand way.
How I used this book:I feel like if one of my children were struggling with a topic I could pull out this book, find the corresponding video, and watch with them to help them figure it out. If a child needed more practice on a topic, I could have them do the corresponding page or pages of practice problems.
As a book to help adults with math, I love it. There is just enough practice for me to be comfortable with each topic. The teaching is presented in a straightforward way. Each page can be worked through quickly, which helps fit it into an adult's busy schedule! I'm already feeling more confident with my forgotten math skills, and ready to help my kids with pre-algebra and algebra in the fall. Plus, I've always noticed that my kids are more interested in something they see Mom doing. So if Mom is doing her math, hopefully they'll be more likely to do it or at least come to me when they struggle.
The rest of the book:There's a lot more to this book than just Algebra. On the cover it lists "general math, geometry, problem solving, pre-algebra, and algebra." It suggests using the book in preparation to re-enter the workforce, to take a college math placement test, to help kids with homework, to prepare for the SAT/PSAT or PRAXIS test, and more. Plus, knowing how to do various kinds of math builds confidence and helps with problem solving skills of all types.
The book begins with adding two and three whole numbers up to the hundreds place. It quickly progresses through subtraction, multiplication, and division before moving on to fractions, decimals, percents, and geometry. There is a section on integers, charts and graphs, and word problems. This book would be helpful in so many situations. Check out Math Refresher for Adults today and see how it can help you!