Math Essentials

The following is a review of No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials with the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.  

We are planning to start our back to school routine next week, but with reviews like this we got a jump start on some subjects during the summer. 

As reviewers, our family has had the opportunity to try a lot of different curriculum options. Some have become favorites. All three of my children have different interests and even different learning styles. Despite that, this No-Nonsense Algebra curriculum has worked for all of them! There are not many other lessons that I can say that about. 

We first reviewed No-Nonsense Algebra in 2012 with my oldest daughter. Her little sister used it next, and now it's my son's turn. As their mom, some subjects are just wonderful to teach. Math, however, has at times been a struggle. This book comes with a code to access the accompanying online video lessons which take that stress away from me for algebra lessons. As my children have grown, they have become more independent with their lessons. No-Nonsense Algebra is set up in such a way to promote that independence.   

The first video lesson options from their home screen

an example of a problem explained with the whiteboard in a video lesson

Since we first tried this over five years ago, every time someone has asked for a recommendation for high school algebra, my response has consistently been "No-Nonsense Algebra." 

Richard Fisher, the author of the book, is also the online video instructor. He clearly demonstrates problems step by step as he explains them.

This book is reusable. As problems are written out and completed on separate paper, the book remains clean for repeated use, in our case for younger siblings. The author even suggests that students write out the example problems that are completely done in the book to aid their understanding of the process. I emailed the company about using this after it sat on our shelf a few years, and can tell you that their customer service is wonderful.

My daughter stated that these lessons are easy to follow. She found the video lessons "very helpful and needed." "It was one of my favorite algebra books." (Yes, we did try others.) "It was clear, understandable, and straightforward." 

Now it is my eighth grade son's turn to use this curriculum. (He previously used the geometry book from Math Essentials and enjoyed the lessons.) I know! That still amazes me, too. I involve my children and the participate with me in the selection process for our crew reviews. My son asked me for this book! We did think it would be a revised version, but the book we received for this review is still their 2011 first printing. Obviously it did not need to be improved! 

So, this summer, my son started using No-Nonsense Algebra. He will absolutely be continuing these lessons until he completes this book this school year. 

Some of the initial content was review for him, so I didn't make him complete all of the exercises when he already clearly understood it. We quickly made it to "new" content for him. I'll walk you through one of his lessons. In the book, lessons begin with an introduction. Key concepts, helpful hints, and tips to remember are shared. The second section of each lesson is examples. Problems are demonstrated and even explained in the book, step by step. Although I shared how I am having my son work toward more independence, I stayed with him as he read through those sections. At times he gave me that sideways grin I love and simply told me he did not understand. But then I played the videos. Each video is approximately 15 minutes (some less) and they clearly demonstrate the lesson. The next part of the lesson in the book is a set of exercises for him to work through. Some of these are challenging, but with each lesson just two pages long the quantity was manageable, typically 14-18 problems. The last section of each lesson was a set of just four review problems. I'm not rushing my son through these lessons, rather hoping for mastery more than speed. He is learning. Each chapter ends with a more comprehensive review. A final exam is included, too, to use upon his completion of the course.

I recommend No-Nonsense Algebra to every algebra student. My only complaint is that they do not offer a book and video lessons for Algebra II and other advanced math courses.  

Find them on Facebook and watch their intro video there, and be sure to tell them hi from Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life.

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}
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