Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Math Refresher for Adults Review

Right now, in this place in our homeschool, I am a competent teacher and guide. I'm not trying to brag. Trust me on this. It's just that my kids are going into first and third grade. Before they came along, I was an elementary school teacher with a master's degree in education. Elementary school is kind of my sweet spot. Either I know it, and I'm the "expert" on the rules of phonics and simple multiplication, or I can be ok with not knowing it, and we find out the answer of which animals hibernate or the intricacies of the settlement rush in the 1880s together. I'm a resource, a guide, and a co-learner.

But I'm also nervous, because the elementary years go quickly, and things get more complicated. When I was in ninth grade, I hit a road bump with geometry. I had sailed through pre-algebra and algebra, but now I just couldn't make sense of theorems and proofs. I met with the teacher after school with tears in my eyes. It is always in the back of my mind that my math savvy third grader will either a) quickly surpass my teaching skills and realize her mother is no longer effective or b) see that I shut down and feel like she can do that too. I often hear homeschool moms talk about being intimidated by teaching math to their children so I was excited to learn about Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials.

Math Essentials

What I like most about Math Refresher for Adults is that it is designed to help without intimidating.  These short lessons make it easy to focus on one topic at a time and the detailed Table of Contents makes it easy to find exactly what you would like to work on.  It makes it perfect for moms and dads who are trying to help their children succeed, but have not worked specific types of problems in a few (or more) years and may be a bit fuzzy. For each lesson in the textbook, there is a corresponding video lesson online. This is key. Sometimes, the brief textbook explanation was enough, but sometimes, I read through and thought...uh...can I have that again? The videos were SO helpful, especially when I braved the geometry. The online videos consist of the instructor speaking as the problem is worked on a digital whiteboard.  You do not see the instructor so there are absolutely no distractions.  You simply watch the problems, write them down, and then read and complete the corresponding lesson from the text. 

Math Refresher for Adults

So, here we go. I did a few pages, and my confidence soared throughout the general calculations and problem solving. Arithmetic was always a strength of mine (and Madison appears to be following in those footsteps). But the point of this book was not to stroke my ego, but to let me work through any weaknesses. So I went to tackle probabilities. I'm pretty good at simple probabilities, but once things get more complicated...it's time to remind myself. 

As I realized that I do have more abilities than I remember, I began to challenge myself. Integers. Square roots. Scientific notation. Ratios and proportions. Coordinates. Linear equations. Geometry. (And yes, I'm feeling a bit like Anne of Green Gables right now.) Things that I'm sure I used to know, but haven't been part of my life for quite some time. And shockingly, challenging myself like this was actually enjoyable, like any other kind of puzzle. I read, I tried, and if I struggled, those videos were there to help.

I decided that I'll pull out this book during some of our math time next year. The girls need to realize that struggling and forgetting is normal, and this will reinforce that learning is a lifetime process.

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

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