I have never enjoyed math. Even though I took classes all the way through Calculus, it’s been 20 years and I don’t remember it! This is where Teaching Textbooks homeschool math comes in for me. With videos attending each and every lesson, and hints and explanations for each problem, I not only don’t have to teach third-grade math: I also don’t even have to grade it!
Note: I was compensated for my time in preparing this review, and all opinions are honest.
Teaching and Grading Homeschool Math
My third-grader has really struggled with math. Last year, she did not respond well to my lessons, and the workbooks we used were frustrating to her. She wanted me by her side to explain everything she came across in case it got “hard.”
Making Homeschool Math Fun
This year has been different. Using Teaching Textbooks has revolutionized our homeschool math time! Some mornings she says “I’m going to go do my math now,” and she is off!
The visually engaging Teaching Textbooks 4.0 product provides lots of visual and audio rewards for a young learner. She can choose an animated or favorite background picture, and each lesson provides another encouraging sticker. When she watches a hint, gets an explanation or even gets it wrong, there is verbal encouragement or fun sounds.
Math time may not be her favorite time of the homeschool day but she’s happy to go do it! For her, this is a subject she doesn’t have to do sitting at a table with Mom, and it does not have to be tedious and boring.
Learning Math on a Computer
Beyond an attractive interface, however, Teaching Textbooks also teaches math. Logging into a lesson provides a video lecture to explain the concepts with graphics animation, and narration. The lessons don’t take very long, but they explain the concepts clearly for my 3rd grader, as well as providing practice along with the animated tutor.
Then, each of the problems for the lesson (usually 22 for my daughter’s level 3) is narrated aloud. Most problems also have an audio hint that can help students get on the right track. If students initially get the problem wrong, they have a second chance to get the right answer. Finally, students can choose to watch a video that explains how to solve the problem to make sure they understand!
Customizing Your Homeschool Math
The best part is that all of this is customizable. If stickers, backgrounds, and fun sounds would be distracting for your child, parents can turn it off! Some older kids might not want the noises and animation as well.
Also, if parents don’t want students to have a hint or try again with a second chance, they can turn those options off as well independently. These choices can also be changed whether it’s just lesson problems or a quiz. The possibilities are many!
Mastery and Spiral Homeschool Math
One thing that homeschoolers often consider when looking at homeschool math curricula is the style of learning. The two main approaches to math are spiral learning and mastery learning.
Spiral Learning for Homeschool Mathematics
Spiral learning provides frequent reviews of subjects, encouraging students to master subjects throughout the year. Thus, one subject will be introduced, and then each subsequent lesson will review that concept, even while introducing new concepts. Reviewing concepts is super important with my third grader because sometimes I feel like it goes in one ear and out the other!
For the main program, Teaching Textbooks definitely approaches math with a spiral learning approach. Each lesson and quiz has about 22 problems to complete, and a handful of problems are review problems from previous lessons to help students remember what they’ve already learned. With the hints and answer videos, my daughter can then review and relearn concepts throughout the year.
Mastery Learning for Homeschool Mathematics
The other approach to learning is a mastery learning approach. This means that the student will not move on to the next concept unless the subject is mastered. Mastery programs include a lot of instruction for each concept before the next lesson. Only after the student is proficient in a concept does a lesson progress to the next.
Although the main Teaching Textbook approach does not at first appear to apply a mastery learning approach, the customization options allow me to add in a mastery approach for my daughter. In the grade book, I can delete lessons or problems that I feel she needs to better master, which will then appear as lessons to finish. There is also a setting that limits her to only moving on to the next lessons after she’s finished all of the previous ones. This means she’ll have to go back and try again!
Parents can also limit students from doing too many lessons a day. I certainly don’t have that issue yet, but who knows, maybe my daughter will continue to enjoy math class this year, now that she has a personal tutor by her side and I am not the nagging one for her.
Take Homeschool Math On the Go
Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is a new take on the same mathematics curriculum that has been around for years. First, it was only paper-based, then it began using a CD-Rom based program. Most recently, it was an online program requiring internet access to complete. Now, it is an app available for desktop, tablet, or smartphone! The apps update progress to the “cloud” so students can pick up where they left off on a different device.
The tablet options provide a “scratch notes page” for students to write notes on as they work. And, while the phone app does have pretty small text, it can work in a pinch when we are traveling and I would still like my daughter to get some math done.
There are so many more features that I have barely touched upon in this review because the app provides so many options for me as a parent. A few more brief examples: they offer an online textbook for parents to review levels. They provide a “pause” feature so if you want to pause your year subscription during Christmas or summer holidays, the time won’t be counted in your year. They provide a big family plan (for those with 4 or 5 or more children). The prices per level are reasonable, and the convenience is unbeatable.
Get a Free Trial
The great news is that Teaching Textbooks provides a free trial of the first 15 lessons for each level that you’d like to try. The free trial doesn’t expire, so you or your child can take your time and try the program for all those lessons. Give it a try and see if it works for your family.