When the doors closed behind us in that cold, marble courtroom, our lives would forever be changed. We had shared holidays and summers together with these nieces for many years, but to bring twin teenage girls home to a house that had always been full of swords, action figures, smelly socks, and pellet guns would prove to be a life-altering adventure. One of the first issues at hand was making sure they had all the comforts of home with a room to sleep in and new clothes to wear. The second issue was to determine where they would attend school. Should we keep them home with the boys or minimize the change in their lives by allowing them to attend a public or even a private school in the area? The answer was clearly written in their public school transcripts; we would home educate. After all, schooling is more than just learning the basics of survival; it is also about character and morals, in addition to a firm foundational mix of grammar and writing, history, reading, and math.
I knew how to teach history, literature, and grammar. For years the boys and I had smelled the gunpowder at Gettysburg, built pyramids with the Egyptians, and gone swimming with Tom Sawyer through our minds’ eyes, but upper-level math was definitely not my strength. I turned to the only places I knew I would find honest answers: my friends, fellow home school moms, and veteran teachers. I explained that I was looking for something that would be a good transition from a public classroom to our home school. I also needed something that would be easy to follow and would have clear explanations of each answer, because I felt certain it would be a challenge for me to teach. I was also concerned about the order in which the girls should take the required math subjects and at what level they should begin, as I had no real knowledge of their ability levels. The whole process felt overwhelming. A very wise, fellow support group leader, Kay Tucker, led me to Teaching Textbooks.
We began in the fall with Teaching Textbooks: Algebra 1, and we found the material very clear and easy to understand. The lessons are presented in a simple fashion, each lesson building on the last. Visual learners will benefit from the animated lecture and example problems. Parents will love the automated grading system. Stuck on a problem? “Do not fear; the answer disc is here!” Many times, my nieces and I would look intently at an algebra problem and wonder, “Hmmm, how on earth did they get that answer?” Fortunately, each Teaching Textbooks course comes with an answer disc, with each problem worked step-by-step for ease of understanding. We easily navigated Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, and we are now well on our way to completing geometry.
Teaching Textbooks begins at the third-grade level and provides outstanding instruction all the way through pre-calculus. For those who are not sure at what level to begin their instruction, Teaching Textbooks placement tests are designed to assist you in this decision. The material is concise and well planned. Following each lesson explanation, you will find a set of example problems. Each lesson consists of a lecture, example problems, and lesson assignment. Each chapter ends with a chapter test. The student book is also complete with a written description of the lecture, so reviewing key concepts is a snap. Definitions, theorems, and postulates are provided within the student book for easy reference.
Our family has certainly changed over the past three years. Our oldest son will begin Algebra 1 this fall. Rather than dreading high school mathematics, I am now actually looking forward to watching him feel a sense of pride as he completes an assignment, or as he finds the value of “x” with ease. What once was an unsure navigation of mathematical teaching waters has been transformed into a blessing beyond measure.
Our family is continuing to enjoy the freedoms that home education provides for us. We are growing, experiencing a host of opportunities, and learning together . . . thanks in part? to Teaching Textbooks!
Kay Orr – has written 28 posts on this site.
Kay Orr resides in Abilene with her husband of twenty years, Chris. The Orrs homeschool five children ages ten to seventeen. Kay is currently the leader liaison for the Texas Home School Coalition and served in local support group leadership for seven years.