Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Math Resources and Ramblings

Today I came upon an entry in someone else's homeschooling blog where she was just wondering whether or not to get tutoring help for math. Ahhh, makes me feel better. It's good to know that I'm not alone in struggling with teaching math. Of course, sometimes one can afford tutoring and sometimes one can't. I don't just mean different families, but also different stages in a family's life.

Now, I do have one advantage. My husband is a mathemetician by college degree and by profession. However, since he works a lot of hours, we did hire a tutor one year. Ha, that's one year out of twenty-plus. (You see how I love math. I never want to figure out what comes after the twenty in our homeschooling years.) Well, he has helped a lot of kids through a lot of high school math...but sometimes he's just way too busy at work, and sometimes the kids just don't think to ask him for help when evening rolls around.

So I'm always on the lookout for math programs that will work better for us. I'm glad Saxon works well for so many homeschoolers. For good or for ill, we made the decision many years ago to no longer use Saxon. What my high schooler is using this year is yet another experiment on our part: Algebra II by Teaching Textbooks. I bought the books this past summer...only the books, although the accompanying CDs are recommended. This month - with hubby working into the night - I finally bought the CDs to go with them, so that my son can use the CD Solutions Manual if he gets stuck. (The CDs have lectures, not just a Solutions Manual, but it was the solutions my son wanted for those times when he couldn't figure it out.) So far he hasn't complained much about this book, and seems to be progressing well with it!

For Peter, my son who is visually impaired, I love using workbooks for math, since he does his math under the CCTV (video magnifier) and can only see a little bit at a time. Toggling back and forth between an over-sized textbook and a spiral notebook would be more challenging for him. So, through the years we've been using Mathematics, Skills, Concepts, Problems Solving by Continental Press. I haven't been as excited about this book now that we've gotten into more algebraic concepts in the eighth grade, but for grade school I loved the series! (Considering that eighth grade is where my own math weaknesses begin, I wonder if this says something about the explanations in the book. The kids and I sometimes say that we think it's maybe supposed to be used as a workbook to accompany a textbook...but it has kept him on target through the grade school years.)

What I'm considering now for Peter for high school is an Algebra worktext I came upon the other day on the web. If anyone is reading this post who has experience with this series, please get in touch with me. It's called Algebra 1: A Fresh Approach by Christy Walters, and is available from A+ Education Services. We read a review of it, and it looks good to me, and even looked good (from the review) to my husband! When it comes to math, he's not an easy sell.

Last, but very definitely not least, the other day I found a blog by a homeschooling Mom who loves Math and shares her knowledge with us! Some of the entries are over my head...or I don't have time. But she has lots of valuable ideas and resources! So, if you like math...or if, on the other hand, you have math phobia, like I do, check it out!

No comments: