We’ve been using Teaching Textbooks (TT) for well over a year now, so it’s time for a curriculum review.
Sprite has completed TT 5 and is currently finishing up TT level 6. I have every intention of moving on to level 7 as soon as she has worked through level 6.
In preschool and early elementary days, we used Singapore Math curriculum. In third and fourth grades, I slowly transitioned into a living math approach. Then we made a huge change by shifting to TT, a computer based math curriculum while we continued our math history studies and math notebooking.
Teaching Textbooks curriculum is computer based, so each level comes with four CDs. A large, paperback, spiral-bound textbook can be purchased with the CDs as a set or individually. It is a more expensive curriculum than many options, but the CDs hold their value very well when it comes time to sell your used curriculum.
The textbook is designed to be a consumable, with the student writing directly in the book. In that way it’s really a combination textbook and workbook in one. You could use notebook paper to write down the problems and save the textbook for another child or for resale. I want to make math as easy for Sprite as I can, so I allow her to write in her book.
Generally she finds that the book offers enough blank space to work the problems, but occasionally she reaches for some notebook paper when an exercise is especially problematic.
There is some teaching material in the book, but the discs present it with a visual and audio component that is good for auditory and visual learners both. Sprite tells me that she never looks at the instructional material in the book, preferring to listen to the disc’s lecture and follow along. Even when she needs to go back and listen again, she consistently chooses the computer format versus flipping back in the paperback book.
Of course, the program immediately gives feedback on answers, both in the practice and in the quizzes. In the case of a wrong answer, there is often reteaching that clarifies the problem.
Benefits of Teaching Textbooks
There is a lot of review integrated into the program so that the students won’t forget what they have learned. I have found this review to be a good fit for Sprite’s learning style. I discovered that without review, even if the new lesson builds on previous learning, she would forget how to do something she had worked on in earlier lessons.
Another advantage (or disadvantage depending on how you look at it) is that for the most part, TT takes math teaching off a homeschool mom’s radar. Because the discs include instruction via short “lectures” and walk the student through practice exercises and even quizzes, you don’t really have to plan any of the math lessons. In fact, it’s easy to let your child simply go to the next thing without your even knowing what she is studying.
If you’re looking for a math curriculum which a child can do independently, Teaching Textbooks Math Curriculum is a good choice. But if you really need to stay on top of what your child is studying in math, be aware that TT makes it easy to “forget” about math. I have to be very deliberate to look at the textbook at least every week to see what skills are being taught. Then I try to discuss the math with Sprite a few times a week.
The computer program gives her immediate feedback on each answer and gives an overall grade at the end of every lesson. There is an option to print out a grade report of the chapter quizzes (pictured above). At the end of the year, you can simply average the quiz scores to assign a grade if that is necessary.
The program is flexible and allows a student to move back to the instruction whenever necessary during the practice. A student can also skip problems and go back to them later. This is wonderful when there are trouble spots that require mom’s help. There’s no need to sit and wait for mom. Instead, the student can keep working on other problems and revisit the sticky ones when mom (or dad) can assist.
The program also allows for skipping around in the textbook and for omitting entire lessons or chapters as well. This means that you can customize your use of TT to match what your child needs to focus on.
The parent does have the ability to change quiz grades or allow a child to retake a quiz.
Purchasing Teaching Textbooks
Teaching Textbooks products are available at Christian Book Distributors. (That’s where I buy mine.)
TT has free placement tests on the main website. I do recommend printing those out and using them to determine what level your child needs — from grade 3 up to pre-calculus.
Be sure to see the DEMO offered at TT website. Before buying this curriculum, let your child try out the demo to see if this way of learning is a good fit. It has been a very good fit for my highly visual daughter, and I plan to continue using TT.
Do you have any questions about Teaching Textbooks or your own assessment if you have used it?