It’s no secret that as a homeschooling parent I struggle in middle grade math. Give me a book, science experiment or art project any day, but I’m just not into math. My kids excel at above grade level mathematics, likely because they love solving mathematics equations. I signed up to review Teaching Textbooks, an online math curriculum, to see if it’s a good fit for my family. I’m excited to hand off the math lessons to the program so I can focus on the subjects I really love teaching kids.
What Is Teaching Textbooks?
I always like to start my reviews by explaining what exactly the product offers for homeschooling families. Like I mentioned above, Teaching Textbooks is an online math curriculum for kids. They offer several levels of math lessons taught online through their website. The curriculum previously relied on computer discs but recently converted to an online program meaning no discs needed! I have enough homeschooling supplies around the house, so not needed to keep track of computer discs is a huge win in my opinion. The textbooks have also been replaced and are now offered at e-books.
Your child can take a placement test on the Teaching Textbooks website to find out which level of math they should be signed up for within the program. You can have multiple kids at different levels under your subscription. They even offer a large family discount! Lower levels on the website teach the basics of place values and calendar work, which higher levels are appropriate for advanced math instruction.
Below is a list of the levels available with a subscription to the Teaching Textbooks online math program.
- Math Level 3 (About 2nd or 3rd grade levels)
- Math Level 4
- Math Level 5
- Math Level 6
- Math Level 7
- Algebra 1
- Algebra 2
My daughter tested into algebra 1, so my review is based on the Teaching Textbooks algebra 1 lessons available online.
I started by checking out some of the lessons myself to see how the curriculum is structured. It’s straight-forward with a menu listing the lessons, lesson components, and lesson lectures. Each lesson starts with a short lecture, example problems, practice problems, and assessment problems. Each equation answer can be explained which is helpful if a child isn’t fully grasping a concept in the lesson. Lessons are available for kids using a laptop or mobile device. Read more about using Teaching Textbooks on a mobile device here.
Parents have a separate account to view grades. You can also choose to show hints within lessons which I will turn off as my child progresses with the lessons. If it becomes too difficult without the hints, then I’ll know that she needs to go over the lessons again to gain a stronger understanding of each concept. In your parent account, you can also view your child’s graded assignments. If you’d like them to redo a lesson you can erase the grades and have them graded again after they’ve completed the lesson a second time.
Online education wasn’t part of my own childhood education, so it is sometimes difficult for me to let go of the pencil and paper style of learning. With math, it can be especially difficult to give up physical textbooks and graph paper. Don’t we need to write the problems out on paper while our brains break them apart to find the answer? This was one of my top concerns while trying out Teaching Textbooks and my final opinion is both yes and no. The lessons in the Teaching Textbooks math program explain math concepts and show sample problems. When kids are solving the practice questions and doing assessments, they will need to solve the problems on their own. This usually means having a pencil and paper on hand, or a calculator if that’s allowed in your homeschool.
The difference between this online curriculum and math using a physical curriculum (textbooks, paper, and pencils) is that students won’t be turning in their papers. As a parent, you can look over the scratch paper while you view their grades. If there are any problems that were answered incorrectly, you can use their scratch paper to see what they did in the process of getting their answer that led to a wrong answer.
Overall this online math program is really user-friendly and thorough. I like that kids can move from level to level within the subscription and that they’re assessed to find their level. Kids aren’t limited to math levels based on their age or grade, giving them a chance to work at their own pace.
Start your free trial of Teaching Textbooks now!