A dear reader, Tracy, asked a question about how we use Teaching Textbooks in our homeschool.
Question about Teaching Textbooks:
I remember reading that you use Teaching Textbooks (TT) for at least some of your children. I currently have two using A Beka Math (finishing up 2nd grade and kindergarten), plus I have a toddler. I’m REALLY wanting to find some independent learning to help me out. But I’m a little nervous about TT since many of the reviews state that it is easy, below grade level, and doesn’t test well. We are required to test with a state-approved proctor at certain grade levels. And while the test isn’t everything, I do want my kids to be prepared. What has your experience been with this curriculum? And would you recommend it? ~ Tracy
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Hi Tracy, I understand the need to be in many places at once as a homeschool mom. Especially when it comes to math!
To answer your TT question, first a little background:
For the 2013-2014 year with our five children we are currently using Saxon Math for kindergarten and 2nd grade as well as Teaching Textbooks Math 6, Algebra I and Geometry.
- We use Saxon Math through 2nd grade then switch to TT. Saxon has offered that basic grounding in the mathematical operations and learning multiplication.
- We used Saxon Math through 6th grade with my older two then switched to Teaching Textbooks with them. Oh hooray for Teaching Textbooks! The earlier grades were not available for my eldest two children at that age.
- The earliest we have used TT is 3th grade – with my fourth child.
- I don’t have any experience with A Beka math though I have heard it is very thorough.
I shared some thoughts on all the resources we use for math for our multiple ages plus our basic math schedule (just this time last year) here: Homeschool Math with Multiple Ages
I have heard about the criticisms about TT. However, my older two struggled with math in middle school until we found TT. It was truly an answer to a prayer! Plus, at the time my older two started using TT, I was helping my younger ones with Saxon Math. So it helped me to be able to oversee them while I was teaching the younger ones.
I am not concerned about the criticisms because TT has offered success to us. We excel in fine arts, language arts and sciences. Math is our ‘challenge’ area. Basically, if they have a B average in math I am happy. We are getting it done. And since I have high schoolers – I have the end in mind. Picturing what the goal is for them as adults. Tailoring their learning towards their interests.
**Update 2016: My eldest children have now successfully taken the SAT and ACT. Our eldest was accepted to her first choice college. We have proof of Teaching Textbooks.
However, I don’t want to steer you wrong if you are concerned about testing with a state-approved proctor. We are required to test at 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th grade and keep the results on file. So I do not have the performance pressure that you do.
Have you tried the sample lessons on the Teaching Textbooks site?
More on Teaching Textbooks and Homeschool Math
- Find Teaching Textbooks and try their online placement tests.
- Full Teaching Textbooks reviews at The Curriculum Choice: by Heather, by Kendra, by Korey
- Teaching Textbooks review by Jamie at See Jamie Blog
- Kindergarten Saxon Math Review by Amy
- Math Resources from The Curriculum Choice Authors
Getting Math Done with Morning Room Time
May I also offer some time management help? No matter what curriculum you use, this helpful habit saved our days while we had small ones – and older ones needing to work on math.
Here’s a question I’ve heard a few times lately as well: How can I get math done with my older ones with my toddlers roaming about? We sit down to do our math lesson and my little ones crawl on the table!
Morning room time made it possible for me to have time to teach older children – especially math – through five babies and a dozen years of homeschooling so far. It’s a tried and true habit. Each of our children knew when morning room time was. And when the CD ended, they knew it was time to clean up. There were times we had two in morning room time. It’s a habit to stick with for babies to about five years of age. All the very best of I Can’t Homeschool Because of the Little Ones (and the morning room time habit)
I hope Tracy’s question and our discussion will help other homeschoolers. What curriculum choices are you facing?
My son just started using TT 7, 2 weeks ago, and he is enjoying it. I know he is getting a complete math lesson, completing the problems and the problems are graded for me. Each set of problems ask questions regarding past and present lessons, which is great for my son who has an issue retaining. He is doing great so far!
That is awesome Christa! And I agree – it’s that same spiraling approach that Saxon Math uses. A bit of review. And introduction of new concepts along with plenty of practice. A full lecture! I vividly remember when my son started Math 6 Teaching Textbooks – he stood up and skipped across the room he was so happy! Skipping with math? Now that was an answer to a prayer! (He is an auditory learner so it also fits his learning style.) Plus they love the little buddy characters that cheer them along too.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
We are loving TT, too. It changed my struggling with math child to a math successful child, so I am hooked, too. Wish I had switched to it earlier. I like other math programs for Elementary school age, and start with TT at Pre-Algebra stage. It was very interesting hearing your thoughts and experiences with TT.
As a former Abeka user, I can say without a doubt our switch to TT has been a good one. My oldest did Abeka math through 4th grade and we made the switch for 5th grade. The biggest difference I have noticed is the lack of busy work. This has been very freeing for my hard-to-focus child. TT reviews, presents the lesson, then practices each concept; any more would be too much for him to stay interested and any less would not be enough. I always said that I would assign some extra (busy work) in the case of him not getting something, but there has not been a need. It was always a struggle to get him to sit down for math, not anymore! I do not have to present the lesson to him with TT and now I can focus on my younger 2 during that time. I hope this helps anyone that is considering the switch from Abeka to TT.
Heidi – thank you SO much for your insight and wisdom with your A Beka background. And I am right with you on all you said about TT!
This is only my 2nd year homeschooling, and I was overjoyed when I found teaching textbooks! And even better, they way older lessons keep being included here and there with the new ones, I feel my kids are retaining it better, and they actually ask to do math first and everyday! Even if the books are a grade behind, as fast as they’re going, we may be getting thru almost 2 levels a year. Just amazes me 🙂
Oh I am so happy to hear that Teaching Textbooks is blessing your family too!
I just wanted to comment about the “below level” issue. If you, like we, are switching from another curriculum to TT I HIGHLY recommend taking the placement test at both their current “grade level” and the next up. For us, switching from Horizons for 2nd grade to TT we ended up in TT 4 instead of TT 3. This was our first full year of using TT and my third grader did TT 4 and finished the year with a 96 average which is a miracle! So in TT curriculum she’s a year ahead of her “grade level”. For child #2 we completed Horizons 1st grade and are preparing to go into TT 3 with her in the fall. So next year BOTH kids will be in TT, one in 3 and one in 5 (but 2nd and 4th graders).
My one criticism of TT is more about computer use in general and that is that if your kids are smart with computers (or even curious) it is easy for them to find a way to use other things (like the calculator and web) to do their math for them 🙂 We discovered that this year with our 3rd grader and have made adjustments to computer settings to now track ALL activities on the kids profiles so we know when she’s doing more than just using the TT program during school time 🙂 There are settings for this on Microsoft family accounts but it definitely something we didn’t think about before using TT 🙂
Thank you for those tips!
I just came across your blog as I am looking for reviews for TT vs. Saxon. My concern with TT is the much needed mastery and practice for multiplication facts which leads into and supports division problems. I have been using TT since grade 3 with my daughter who is entering 5th and my son will be in 3rd. I am considering switching to Saxon for both kiddos. TT definitely needs additional supplements for multiplication facts for grades 3 and 4. I am curious about grade 5 and multiplication exposure? Since TT seems to be a grade level below (IMO), does the program catch up as the years progress? Any guidance would be appreciated!
Karen, TT has been such an answer for our visual and auditory learners! My 5th grader just finished Math 5 and felt it had plenty of multiplication practice as well as division.(I did too!) She’s about to begin Math 6. She is also the fourth child in our family to complete Math 5 and move on. We’ve now used all levels of TT – from Math 3 through Pre-Calc and graduated two. In the high school years, in addition to TT, we did SAT and ACT prep and study practice.(Scores were good for both my now high school grads) For us, we have felt it was perfect for our family and meet such a need for our age range. Maybe if one of my students was pursuing a specific math career I would double up on math studies. However, Teaching Textbooks brings the math fun learning to our days and I have nothing but praise!