Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Homeschool Reviews: Math Refresher for Adults Review

  I was very excited to begin reviewing products for the Homeschool Review Crew a few months ago!  However, I was even more excited when the opportunity to review a product from Math Essentials became available!  There is a place in my heart for this company, because one of my first attempts at homeschooling the really 'tough' math courses came with help from a product from Richard Fisher.
   My oldest daughter was 13 at the time and it was her first year of homeschooling.  Public school had failed her mathematical education, so we found ourselves trying to drudge through Fractions.  I was very lost and frustrated.  This was very early in our homeschooling years, and the magnitude of curriculum that was available to me was just so much to choose from!  We tried a couple of things to no avail, and finally, happily landed on Richard Fisher's Fractions workbook.  Working through this really helped my daughter wrap her mind around fractions.  Better than that, she could work through it pretty independently, which was great- because my math skills were a little bit foggy.


     Over the years her math skills have improved, but mine still remain tucked away in the back of my mind. It isn't that I am completely terrible at math, its just the fact that college is now 12 years behind me, which means that high school is 16 years behind me (HOW is that possible??) and I haven't done any upper-level math in at least that long!  So I was very excited when Math Essentials- Math Refresher for Adults arrived at my doorstep!  Lacey's two years of middle school and three years of high school math have been difficult at best.  I've basically relied on online teachings and DVD programs to teach her the math skills that she needs.  We have even enrolled her in math programs at public and private school systems.  It helped us for the moment, and we got through it somehow, (next year is her senior year!)  but if I know one thing, its that I don't want to make the mistake again of not being able to sit down and 'teach' my child something that she is struggling in!  I can't tell you how many times I have struggled and tried to jump right in the middle of a lesson to teach myself how to do something that she was doing, only to become frustrated with it, and eventually turn to someone else.  As my youngest daughter begins middle school this year, and my two sons are upcoming elementary students, I know that the need for me to freshen up my math skills is absolutely something I need to make a priority!  So I'm very thankful for this product, and how well it works to gently 'remind' us former students of how to work through some problems that our kids may have when they are struggling with math!

    First off, here are the basics.
   This book is written as a resource for adults to ensure that they are certain of the essential, foundational math skills that are needed, not only for homeschoolers, but just in life in general!  The book reminds us that adults need to know math skills as well!  Many jobs require you to know basic math skills.  It's also not uncommon nowadays for adults to go back to college to learn new skills.  There are also several tests, such as the SAT, the PRAXIS that this book would be helpful for!  Anyone going into a technical or medical field would also benefit from this refresher course.  So its not only just to help homeschooling parents, but could be a great refresher for anyone, across the board.
    This book covers all of our basics.  The contents and lessons include:

  • Working with whole numbers, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Geometry
  • Integers
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Word Problems
  • Algebra and Pre-algebra
   Just looking through the table of contents floods me with memories of struggling with certain areas with my oldest daughter through math!  It would have been so wonderful to have this resource years ago!  

   Another amazing aspect of this product are the video tutorials available with each lesson!  I can't tell you how helpful it is to be able to get online and watch a video to show you how to work through the problems, especially those problems that you have not refreshed on in years!  You can watch the video to work through problems on your own, or to watch the videos along with your child to work together through the problems and help you both to have an understanding of the basic math that you are learning!  I believe this is an excellent resource.  This is something that my children and I will utilize through our homeschooling career!

    The book can be used as a workbook for students, or as a textbook.  It cannot be photocopied for distribution.  Since I believe that it could be something that I could work through both alone and along with my children on specific topics, I chose to work through the book using it as a textbook, so I would have the problems available in the future.  

   Since fractions is so near and dear to my heart, I started working through a few of the fractions pages!  The first few problems are always review problems, which were refreshing.  The lessons began really simply, with illustrated shaded pies, and advanced as I worked through the book.  The answers are written in the back.  Between the "Helpful hints" in the middle of the page and the helpful videos, I found that fractions weren't as intimidating as I remembered them to be when I was trying to teach it to my hesitant new-to-homeschooling seventh grader.  It made me a little more comfortable and excited to teach my upcoming 6th grader this year!  And really raised my confidence!
   The lesson are long enough to give me a solid understanding, but short enough not to make me feel overwhelmed or bogged down.  The beginning of the book even suggests not to spend more than an hour on math, which is some excellent advice!  Unfortunately in the past I've broken this suggestion with my kids, and its never turned out well.  I think I will follow this as a rule of thumb from now on in our homeschooling adventures!
    I believe the best thing about finding this product, is that I have made the decision to allow my daughter to work through this book for her senior year math credit.  Since she has taken one extra math credit than she needed due to being enrolled in public school at the beginning of last year, she only lacks one credit to graduate with math.  I believe this book will be the perfect way to end her school year!  Not only will it help to prepare her for her first college-level math course, but it will also prepare her to take the SAT, and fill in any gaps that we missed during our school years!  I will certainly keep you updated on how working through this has worked for her!  As hard as it is for me to believe she's only one year away from adulthood, I'm still so prayerfully wanting her to succeed!  
   I also want to work through this entire book this year myself!  Perhaps staying one step ahead of her through the process!  I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this book, and am strongly considering using his products for my younger children through their homeschooling years!  
   All in all, this is a fantastic product with lots of helpful teachings included.  I'm excited about using this book throughout our upcoming school year, and would certainly recommend it to anyone who is home schooling, now or in the future!
Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

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