Saturday, July 28, 2012

Upper Level Math for younger kids? Sure with Math Essentials

I loved math when I was in school, well for the most part. With that in mind, I remember I would excel at certain parts of math and then get bored until we moved on to something new. I wanted to solve that problem for my boys. They excel in addition of large numbers and love working with larger numbers, but most of the grade appropriate books don't have a lot of large number problems.
When Mastering Essential Math Skills from Math Essentials came up for review on the crew, I decided to give it a go. I was excited to find a lot of large number addition problems as well as speed drills in the book.
We actually reviewed Middle Grades / High School which was a serious opps on Mom's part, but it still worked out. Since I screwed up when I signed up I thought for sure this would be way over Cameron's head, but he actually grasped more of the concepts than I thought he would. We watched a couple of the lessons on the DVD to see how he liked it, and found he actually didn't mind the DVD lessons, but needed my help sitting still for the lessons more watching the DVD then if we just did a mini lesson together (I watched the DVD then summed it up for him). Since I hope to use this program again in the future with both the boys, I decided to use sheet protectors for the book and write on the protectors with a dry erase pen. This also helped Cameron associate place values (he could write in place value colors if he needed to) and also helped if he needed to correct a problem after the fact.
We were able to also look at decimals and fractions, something we had touched on, but that Cameron was eager to learn more of.
From Math Essentials Website

You can improve essential math skills and scores dramatically in middlegrades/high school in only 20 minutes per day using this powerful, proven program developed by Rick Fisher.
Mastering Essential Math Skills for Middle School Grades/High School is 8 chapters and 125 pages. You'll be provided instruction and practice for:
  • whole numbers
  • fractions
  • decimals
  • percentages
  • integers
  • geometry
  • charts and graphs
  • problem solving
I was very impressed with the layout of each lesson and the idea of only 20 minutes a day. While we spent about 30 minutes a day on each lesson that we did, I can see the direction was right on. You can download samples including  [Table of Contents]  [Sample Pages]. The book with DVD retails for $33.95 which is a good value for the contents and the program. 

We also received a copy of Geometry from Math Essentials. This book gives students the essentials needed to understand Geometry.  You can download samples of the Geometry book including Table of Contents and Samples Pages. This great little tool retails for $11.95 but if you are considering it for a co-op or class setting they offer a bulk rate for purchases of more than 10 books of $10.95 a book.

The Math Essentials program was designed by Richard Fisher whose goal was to have students Algebra ready in less than a year. I love incorporating algebraic concepts early in math so this program overall is a great fit for our style of teaching.

One other feature in these books that really stood out for me, Speed drills. While this isn't something we focus on, I like the idea of having the boys think faster. Maybe they don't get every answer in the drill right, but the idea of picking up the pace a little is a great idea.

You might also like to see what the rest of the Crew thought of this program. Click the button below to see what they thought.


disclaimer: We received the above mentioned books as members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for our honest review of the product.

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