Anyone use Teaching Textbooks for math?

I am engaged in a constant conversation with myself, “I can do it all.  No I can’t.  Well, you should be able to do a, b, and c, through x, and y, and z, and do it all well.  Well, you can’t.  So, whattya going to do about it?  Well, whattya going to do about it after you stress and get crabby?”

A friend of mine, who is working three jobs, plus pregnant and very ill, told me that one lesson she learned, to get through this season is to “allow myself to do work that is adequate instead of excellent.”

I’m thinking about that with this approaching schoolyear, even though this one is not yet past.

I feel that I should be able to do all the read-alouds, and history, and Bible devotions, and English, and science, and math lessons, et al, and do them one-on-one with all my children.  But, the sad fact is, I can’t.

So, I’m in the process of investigating what it is that I can alter to allow for less of my time, yet still provide an excellent education for my children, or at least an adequate one.  Ack.  That hurts just to write it.  Well, I guess the truth is that I don’t WANT just an “adequate” education for my kids.  Yet, there isn’t enough of me and my time to speak into every aspect of their character and education (not to mention the littles, our home, my husband, my responsibilities at church, etc.) to directly and excellently do EACH subject with each child.

All of that to say, I’m considering Teaching Textbooks for Ethan next year, when he’s in 7th grade.  Here’s what I like:

  • The program was created by some really smart guys.  It appears to be an academically rigorous program, but done in a way that is — at least from reviews — interesting and fun.
  • It used both text-and-workbook and a CD-ROM.  I don’t want math to be JUST done on the computer, but I don’t think Ethan could do well enough with just a book-based do-it-yourself curriculum.
  • Math is probably Ethan’s weakest subject, and sometimes I feel like I’m not able to communicate math ideas in way that Ethan understands best.  So, I like that the teachers give a 10-15 minute lesson, AND after I have corrected Ethan’s work, there is a step-by-step explanation of EACH of the homework problems for whichever ones he doesn’t understand.
  • And, of course, I like that this will require less of my time.  At least, it seems like it will.
  • Plus, Singapore, which we currently use, doesn’t have a full curriculum beyond 6th grade, so I have to switch to something.

So, if any of you use Teaching Textbooks and like or dislike it — or, if you use another math program that you adore, OR you want to say, “PLEASE stay away from X curriculum!”  please let me know!!


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on March 31, 2009, in Christian Living, Homeschooling, Motherhood, Reviews, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Hey there Karen 🙂

    I don’t know anything about Teaching Textbooks, but I can tell you that I LOVE our math curriculum! We’re using Math U See and math has become Jacqui’s favorite subject. I love that I have a visual tool to work through new concepts with her and I love that the same tools I have right now will work all the way through high school algebra. I love seeing the light bulb go on and how quickly she begins extrapolating concepts she’s learned to everyday life.

    Jacqui’s in kindergarten and she’s already completing three-digit addition/subtraction problems with ease — often in her head. I chose Math U See because Jacqui is a very tactile kid and I knew that she would learn well with the program, but it has far exceeded my expectations. If you are interested, the website has some demos up for viewing:

    Hope you find something that works for you and that you both love!


    • I know a lot of homeschooling families love MUS. It’s funny, because I initially shied away from it because of its name. Hahaha! It sounds like you love MUS like I love Singapore. At first, I was unhappy that Singapore stops at sixth grade, but it’s time for a change anyways, at least for Ethan.

  2. We use Teaching Textbooks, Karen, and I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!! It’s an awesome program. We switched to it a couple of years ago and I’ve never regretted it! We used A Beka all through elementary school and I loved their program but once we got to the upper grades I didn’t like it AT ALL! We have used Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 and it’s been wonderful. It’s academically challenging, written for homeschoolers, and taught in a way that you can’t really go wrong. With the way they explain every single problem in detail on the discs you can’t help but get it. 😉

    I wrote a review on my blog about this curriculum two years ago. I won’t paste the link here because it’s really long but if you want to read what I wrote you can look at April 14, 2007, on my blog. 🙂

    • Thanks, Donetta! I did read your post, and even followed up with one of your other commenters, asking her opinion! It makes a difference to me when someone says, “I’ve been using this for years, and I still love it.”

  3. Funny that you should post this. I am considering Teaching Textbooks for my 12yo next year. Only I have an advantage that you don’t. The brothers that wrote the books live here and they have a class at our homeschool group that lets the kids ask questions. Or at least I have been told. My friend does it and she loves it.

    I do core 3 with all 3 of the older kids. I know that the 8 yo doesn’t catch it all and it is a little easy for the 12yo but I just figure that means that 8yo will have an excellant education and the 12 yo might need to work a little harder in college. I do make him write more than the other 2.

    I use math-u-see for the girls (10,8,6). They love it. It was the first math program that made sense to Lioness. It makes it easier for the younger ones too.

    I know that, if the Lord doesn’t come back soon, I am really going to need to step it up for Brown Bear so that he can get everything in for high school. I am also considering Apologia science for next year. Do you use the sonlight science? One more thing that I do, that has saved my sanity, is doing 4 weeks on and 1 week off. On that week off I have them read an hour or more a day from the readers and that catches us up. Give yourself some slack. I think a homeschool education (even adequate) is generally better that a public school one.

    • Christy ~ That is SO COOL that the Sabouri brothers are invested in homeschooling, even at a local level. Wow.

      I think I’m going to hold off on Apologia or other “serious” science until high school. I am thinking about doing one of the “Christian Kids Explore…” series, probably either physics or chemistry. It’s an inexpensive program that I can use with all three boys.

      We usually do six weeks on, one week off, which still allows for 2 weeks off at Christmas, and two months of summer. But, with Fiala’s birth, we took extra time off, and I’m feeling the pressure of summer being upon us, and us not getting done all that I wanted to get done this year. 😦

  4. We didn’t have Teaching Textbooks when I went through math, but I’ve read about others who have: here and here.

    Hope that helps a little!


  5. Here’s another one from 10 minutes ago [smile]:


    • Hehehe! It was my plan to look at “strangers'” reviews, too, but I thought I’d ask my bloggy friends, first. 🙂 I did appreciate all the links, though. The first and second reinforced my beliefs that “self-grading” isn’t always optimal. I think I’ll still do the grading, even if we go w/ TT. The second reviewer switched from Singapore to TT – and he mentioned what I had … perceived (IDK if that’s the right word — it just seemed to me), that Singapore’s “homeschool” material, past 6th grade, isn’t really for hs’ers. And, that last one said that the 6th grade TT program is easy for her 9yo. I’m actually HOPING for that, with my 7th grader. He typically ranges around 75% for math, and I’m hoping to use TT’s 7th grade program as a “gimme a break” year of review for him, AND use it for my 5th grader who is a whiz at math. So, it seems, from these reviews at least, that TT’s 7th grade might be a good fit for all our needs.

  6. “Perfection is the enemy of Good”

    • If I understand you correctly, Jane, I do agree. Almost. I did come to my own conclusion a few years back that even though 100% is best, 50% is better than 0%. 🙂

  7. My friend’s 9th grader is using TT for the first itme this year, and they are very happy with it. He came out of Japanese school (high level math), did a couple levels of Math-U-See, then switched to TT. His mom says it’s a great fit. We have liked Math-U-See, but for the first time this year my daughter complains that his expanations are too short and confusing. So, I am considering TT for her after she finishes her current book (in school she would be an upcoming 6th grader). I’m off to read the links Luke posted…

  8. Hello Karen. Thanks for stopping by our blog to see what we wrote about Teaching Textbooks. If you have any specific questions about any of this stuff, I doubt if I have all the answers, but I would be happy to tell you about our experience with the change from Singapore to Teaching Textbooks.

  9. Keep me posted, Sue, if you do choose TT! (Or, I guess I’ll just check in on your blog…)

  10. This was our first year using Teaching Textbooks for Alegebra I for our daughter. I am very pleased with the curriculum, but I do feel it is pretty intense. If your child is a math whiz already, it may seem easy. But, for those who need a little extra time to remember all the formulas etc. it does take a bit longer. Our daughter rarely goes through a lesson/lecture (the first time) and is able to move on to the next one. It generally takes her a few times of doing the lesson before she remembers the formulas. She enjoys the program and is doing great!

  11. Why aren’t you considering continuing with Singapore Math – The New Elementary Math 1 – made for 7th grade?

    • From what I’ve heard/read, after 6th grade math, Singapore’s materials are more directed towards a classroom environment, and is less effective in a homeschool/one-on-one situation.

  12. We love Singapore and I was looking at Teaching Textbook for pre-Algebra and showed my kids including 2 in the 3rd grade Singapore math some of the examples and they thought that this possibly couldn’t be for 7th grade because it was too easy. My dd has been in the Singapore math all the way through 6th and I am also debating what to do but after looking at other books and the Singapore examples of 7th grade I think we’re probably going to stick with Singapore.

    • Thanks for the comments, Lisa. I will definitely have my two boys take the
      placement tests, just to be sure. I have heard that TT 7th is easy for
      those in Singapore, but according to my theory, anyways, that should work
      well for us. 😉 My son who will be in 7th in the fall finds math fairly
      difficult; if he makes an 80% on any math assignment, we’re both elated.
      And, my son who will be in 5th is advanced, or at least, up until this
      point, all the Singapore math has been easy for him. He flies through each
      assignment w/ 100%, unless he makes some small careless error. He
      completely and quickly grasps all concepts. So… a 7th grader who needs a
      little remedial work, and an advanced 5th grader… I thought TT 7th would
      be a good fit.

    • I’m right at this same cross roads. My 6th grader will be finishing up singapore 6b this spring…and I need to figure out where to go from here. Did you use singapore for 7th grade? How did it go? Any info would be much appreciated.

      • We switched to TT Math 7. It worked GREAT. It was a tad easy, after doing Singapore 6, but my son needed a year of doing really well in math to regain his confidence. This year, both my 8th grader and my 6th grader are doing TT Pre-Algebra, and both are doing well, and my 4th grader is doing TT Math 5. There are placement tests on the TT website — very worthwhile. I’ve been *SO* pleased with TT. 🙂

  13. Dear all, I have used Teaching Textbook from 6th grade through graduation. My son loved it, he could do it all by himself and he needed very little help from me. He graduated with Honors and got a really high SAT score as well as always finishing in the 99th percentile. Did he love school? NO. But this math was great. I highly recommend it and so do others like Timberdoodle which always try everything out before recommending it. I’m not an affiliate! Just a homeschooling Mom. Good luck!

    • Thank you, Camille! I did use it last year, for my older two sons, who both did Math 7. This year, they’re doing Pre-Algebra, and my youngest son is doing Math 5. They all really enjoy it. It’s built a lot of confidence in them, and the way the lessons are presented just make so much sense to all of them. Plus, the quirky humor mixed in… It has been a great fit for us!!

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