Thursday, April 30, 2015

Critical Thinking Co.'s "Understanding Algebra I" [a book review]

I was given the opportunity to review two great books for The Critical Thinking Company. The first one is called Understanding Algebra I. Since my oldest child is just wrapping up Algebra 1, I thought this would be a great overview after-the-fact as math is not easy for her.

One thing we noticed right off the bat were well-laid-out pages. There was color, charts, diagrams, and plenty of white space! One thing I personally think math textbooks get wrong too often is jamming too much information onto a page, and the student can start the lesson overwhelmed. That often happens with my oldest, so this was a bonus right away.

Another thing that we liked was the opportunities to practice each concept at the end of the section. I actually felt like she had more practice problems related to the concept than her current math program. Part of that, in my opinion, is the nature of having a very spiral approach since there are so many review problems in each lesson. I am not opposed to it (I actually prefer spiral math), but I think her current mathematics program could add a few more problems to each section that are specifically related to that lesson so that the child has ample opportunity to master the concept before moving on. Understanding Algebra I did that very well, and even threw in Word Problems sections and More Practice sections.

There was a time or two that she saw something in the book that she didn't already know and neither she nor I felt it was explained well. Part of that could be that her current math program is not known to be advanced and some Algebra I courses could be more advanced. I'm not sure the reason, but it only happened a couple of times - so that is likely just due to our difficulty with that particular concept each time.

Additionally, we battled a lot of illness and my daughter participated in a high school musical with her tutorial program during the time we were reviewing this book, so we did not complete it. We intend to finish it, though, because she has to take a test to demonstrate mastery over Algebra I shortly. :)

In conclusion, I think Understanding Algebra I is a great resource! If a parent doesn't understand Algebra, this would be a great book to put into the hands of the student who needs a better explanation of the subject (or if the parent just wants the student to learn independently!).

EXTRA!! As part of my review, The Critical Thinking Co. is offering my readers the following deal - Happy Learning! :)
15% Off Any Size Order!
Details: Offer expires 5/31/2015 at Midnight PST. Use Coupon Code BLOGR315. Online prepaid orders only. Valid one per customer. Offer does not apply to iOS or Android apps, or manipulatives such as Attribute Blocks, Interlocking Cubes or Pattern Blocks. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or offers, and is not retroactive. Not valid on wholesale orders.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the above-mentioned book for free with the intent to use and review it honestly. A positive review is not required and the above review is my honest feedback after using the book.

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