A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, July 23, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Geometry & No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials

High school math. Three words that many a homeschool mother never wants to utter! Geometry and algebra can be intimidating, frustrating, even nauseating. But Math Essentials offers a solution for the math weary homeschool mom!

The Geometry book in the Mastering Essential Math Skills series is an 80-page softcover book that packs quite a big punch for it's small size. This is a quality resource in that each lesson reviews skills previously learned, and it begins with the basics (addition, subtraction, multiplication & division). Each lesson is laid out in the same manner; Review Exercises, Helpful Hints, and Student Mastery. There is space at the back of the book to take notes - which is perfect for our family since I am notorious for having my kids keep a binder of "math notes". A solution key and a glossary (with diagrams!) are also included. The books says this about the method: "Not just a math book, but system of teaching math."  I would have to say that is a fitting description of Math Essentials Geometry! Simply open the book, read the "How to Use This Book" section on page 2, and viola! you are ready to grow your child's geometry skills! It only takes about 20 minutes to complete a page, but those are 20 minutes well spent! (One side note about Geometry - you cannot legally photocopy this book's pages.)

Now I'm going to move on to the second book I received from Math Essentials - No-Nonsense Algebra. This is a 280-page book that contains 10 chapters of algebra lessons. Each lesson has five key parts;  Intro/Explanation, Helpful Hints, Examples (with solutions), Written Exercises, & Review. Each lesson has a corresponding video lesson available online. You simply visit the course website ( and set up an account; an access code in the back of the textbook provides free access to all the videos. The course is written to the student, and there is no separate teacher's guide, so your students can use No-Nonsense Algebra at their own pace while working on their own. I like having the option of allowing my children to study alone, since they won't have me there holding their hand when they head off to college. But I also like having the option of jumping in when I'm needed, and the short  (8-10 minutes each) but thorough videos allow me that freedom. After watching the video, the student completes the lesson in the workbook. All solutions are available in the back of the book. At the end of each chapter is a Chapter Review and a comprehensive Final Exam is also included.

No-Nonsense Algebra begins with simple algebraic equations, so the student who is new to algebra does not need to feel intimidated by higher math...and neither does the homeschooling mom!  Topics covered include Tools for Algebra, Solving Equations, Graphing, Linear Equations, Solving & Graphing Inequalities, Polynomials, Rational Expressions, Radical Expressions & Geometry, Quadratic Equations, and Word Problems. This is a full algebra course that can be counted for full high school credit. And there's even a free iPhone app available!

The author (Richard W. Fisher) strongly suggests writing down every single problem and then working each one step by step. I agree with him 100%. This practice cements learning and really will enable your student to get a handle on algebra. Each lesson is short - no wasted time on busy-work here! - and the online video lessons really are terrific. In fact, I think the videos make this program a winner! Having several different learning styles among my children (visual, kinesthetic, auditory) means that a traditional math textbook isn't always quite enough. I can use the videos to suit our need by having my visual learners watch the videos, my auditory learners get to hear the lesson taught aloud while watching the videos, and my hands-on learners work the problems along with the video. I also found the videos helpful for reviewing topics with my older daughters. They're just a terrific resource to have.

Mr. Fisher encourages the students to "write that down" as he teaches the video lessons. I LOVE that!! Mostly because I am always harping on them to write out all of their work and keep their math notes updated. This curriculum fits our family's homeschool needs and I really hope you take the time to check it out and read the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers.

Visit the company website @

The Geometry book sells for $11.95 and No-Nonsense Algebra sells for $27.95. Yes, those prices are correct. Yes, that's a crazy-good price for a full year of high school math with access to online video lessons. And right now, with any order, customers will receive a free A+ Math Homework Kit (a $4.99 value). 

To read what my friends at the Crew have to say about Math Essentials, click HERE.

Disclaimer ~ I received these products free of charge for review purposes. All opinions shared here are my own.

Lord bless you and your family today!

Day 203 done :)

Jan L. Burt

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