For the first three years of formal math instruction, we happily used Miquon Math. We loved the short lessons, the colorful yet not distracting workbooks, and the use of Cuisenaire rods. But the curriculum only goes through 3rd grade. Come 4th grade, we were going to need a new math curriculum.
We have many friends who happily use Math-U-See, and we thought about it ourselves. But we had also heard good things about Teaching Textbooks. My daughter had played the sample lessons, and really liked that she got exclusive computer time. She also loved the animation! So we took the plunge and purchased Math 4.
We had some very real apprehensions however. The lessons contain 27 problems. That’s a significant leap from Miquon’s 10-12 questions per page. I was afraid this jump would leave our student feeling overwhelmed–not what you want with a new math curriculum! Of course, you can always complete one lesson over two days, and we have done that when a new concept was causing more frustration than normal. But for the most part, we have found the lessons to be very balanced between learning new concepts and practicing what’s already been covered. Our daughter usually finishes in about 20 minutes–quick enough to be a Charlotte Mason short lesson!
A Year for Fundamentals
Another big questions we had was where to place our student. There is wide variation in scope and sequence between different math curriculums. Teaching Textbooks offers placement tests. It seemed like my daughter would be ready for Math 5 in her 4th grade year. But in the end, we decided to use this year to build a strong foundation for success moving forward. This has been an excellent choice; our time in review has not been wasted. Her grasp of math fundamentals has grown exponentially.
This has been a year of exploration, growth, and growing confidence. We are very pleased with her progress. Progress that has not damaged our relationship or come with undue stress. Now our only question is whether to start her little brother in 3rd grade.
You can see sample lessons and take placement tests at teachingtextbooks.com. We have had great customer service each time we have contacted them. And every purchase from their website ships for FREE!
I’d love to hear from others who have used TT for grades 6 and up!
Cristy – I love what Kortney shared here. TT was such an answer for us as well when we switched over to it in the middle school years for my eldest children. Now those same children are – my eldest in her first year of college and my senior who has been through all the levels of TT. (Both have taken SAT and ACT and scored well) My youngest child has loved his first year of TT – 3rd grade this year. It is a proven resource for us and we highly recommend it!
Kortney Garrison says
Thanks for sharing your family’s experience, Tricia!
We used it as a supplement to our workbook curriculum as extra summer practice. When we got to Algebra we realized that the complexity wasn’t there that we liked with our workbook based curriculum.
Also note we and our kids noted these cons:
1) Kids interpret problems differently when using a computer vs when having to write the problem out and solve it. I found that my kids would get the answer correct on the screen, but if I had them write out their computations, they’d skip a step or make minor mistakes. They needed the written practice
2) It’s easy for kids to ‘cheat’ the application by (a) using online calculator (b) guessing answer by how many characters they can enter (c) not finishing all the answers and the score adjust to what they answered (d) not attempting the answer again
3) Practice for memorizing concepts – this didn’t do too well for multiplication, division and decimals, I had to find other ways to solidify these facts for my kids
4) Cost – the cost is expensive compared to CTCMath that allows the student to go across grades, to master an area, to do drills with timing, for parent to assign, for other siblings to use.
5) Grading – you have to check the grading to see if the child attempted the problem 2 times. Those topics should be flagged for further review.
1) It’s easy to set up
2) the interface was great
3) Geometry was the best curriculum when my kids compared Alg 1, Alg 2, Geometry and Pre-Calc to the others they used. They really liked TT Geometry. I liked it for the proofs
Nita–Thanks for sharing your family’s experience. It’s so great to find what works best for our students!