I’ve been asked many times if I plan to homeschool my boys throughout high school. My response is always, “Of course!” The confidence with which I speak covers my fear of one very important subject: math. I have only recently discovered the beauty of math and its place everywhere throughout creation. But although I admire math and the numerous ways we use it without even being aware, I am still not that great at it. Math was the only subject when I was growing up that I truly had to work hard to understand. Which means that I need all the help I can get in order to teach math to the boys. We’ve been reviewing No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials and I’m so glad to find another tool to add to my math toolkit.
Every child learns differently and needs a different way of getting math. I love the versatility of No-Nonsense Algebra. It can be used as a full-year algebra class, or it can be used as a supplement to help explain topics that are particularly difficult for the student. This second method is how I’ve been using this textbook with my oldest son, Nathan.
Nathan isn’t quite ready for a full algebra class but he needed some extra help with a topic that has been troubling him. Mastery before moving on is very important in math so we paused his regular pre-algebra class to focus on his weak area. He has been working through Chapter 1: Necessary Tools for Algebra, which is basically all the topics covered in a typical pre-algebra course. Finally, he understands what has been troubling him and is continuing with pre-algebra. Once he is done with that course, he will be able to move back to this book for algebra.
No-Nonsense Algebra combines video instructions for each lesson with examples and exercises, as well as a few review problems to keep prior lessons fresh in the student’s mind. I have found this combination to be especially effective. The book is non-consumable so the student is expected to write out the problem and work it out by hand on paper. The author, Richard Fisher, has found this process to be an important part of learning and understanding math.
The chapters are laid out as follows:
Chapter 1: Necessary Tools for Algebra
Chapter 2: Solving Equations
Chapter 3: Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
Chapter 4: Solving and Graphing Inequalities
Chapter 5: Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Chapter 6: Polynomials
Chapter 7: Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
Chapter 8: Radical Expressions and Geometry
Chapter 9: Quadratic Equations
Chapter 10: Algebra Word Problems
Each chapter has several lessons that break the topic into smaller segments. For example, in chapter 1, there are several lessons covering integers, a lesson on square roots, and a couple of lessons on percents, to name just a few. The chapters all have a review lesson that covers all the topics to make sure that the student understands the lessons before moving forward. There is a final review at the end of the book that is quite comprehensive.
In the back of the book you will find several helpful things. A glossary gives the definitions of terms and there are several charts of useful information. Solutions to all problems are also included, but these are answers only. The lesson videos are accessed through the books’ website and are very easy to navigate.
Because Nathan isn’t quite ready for algebra he used this book as a supplement but other students reviewed it as their main algebra class. You can read those reviews by clicking the banner below.