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Author Topic: open source text books and online math instruction
Flying Fish
Member # 12032

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Math is the subject my son (a rising 5th grader) has the most problems with. I think that in order to help him with his homework in the next few years I need to brush up.

I'm in a job where I haven't used anything more complicated than arithmetic for years. Are there some good free websites where I (and my son sometimes if I can cajole him into it) can learn and relearn algebra, geometry, statistics, trig, on up to basic calculus? (And no I'm not going to be pushing him into calc before they do it in school).

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Member # 11834

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You'd do much better just forking out the money for a book, probably Idiot's Guide or ...for Dummies. The sheer volume of material involved in a mathmatics program generally precludes the internet as a good resource.

You can usually find older text books in the junior high / high school range if you scout a little in secondhand book stores. A little cheaper in places like Deseret Industries or Salvation Army.

Ebay and used copies of books at Amazon might be able to go a little cheaper.

The only totally free quality resources would be on the torrent networks, where you can find about any textbook you want. But that's illegal, and it might set a bad example.

[ June 10, 2009, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Herblay ]

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We used Algebra the Easy Way and Geometry the Easy Way when my mom was homeschooling me in math for a semester of 8th grade. I recall liking them, though they seem to be getting rather mixed reviews. (I thought the fantasy storyline in the Algebra book was fun, unlike many of the Amazon reviewers. Apparently I'm a dork.) Used copies seem to be going for less than a dollar.
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I compiled some resources when I attempted to homeschool my older daughter in 8th grade.


These are just a few links and I haven't looked at them in a couple of years. There are tons of resources for homeschooling that should work for parents who are supplementing regular school.

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There is a whole series of math books out there, the Demystified series that is great. They have other topics besides math too but they helped me a ton recently.
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Oh god, I so want these books. I want them for things I need them for. I need "longitudinal sociopolitical network analysis is fun" because, see, if it is fun, I'll do it faster.
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Member # 741

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My wife swears by Teaching Textbooks, and my kids agree (for the most part [Wink] )
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I just clicked on the Teaching Textbooks site and looked at the sample for 4th grade (which I teach in a public school). Many of the lessons seemed very young for 4th grade; they cover content which is taught at a much younger grade than fourth. For example, the content of the first demo lesson on writing dates I would expect to have been learned by at least second grade, if not be first grade. The same goes with the lesson on coins.

DSH, I'd like to know more about what your wife thinks about Teaching Textbooks. The format was really cool, and I could see that it would be great for homeschoolers. Is there any concern that the content is not at a high-enough level to match content taught in public schools? Or do you feel that public schools put too much emphasis on content that really doesn't belong at that level?

I'm not trying to start a flame war here. I'm truly interested. I originally went into teaching so that I would feel knowledgeable for homeschooling my own kids. But I never had any kids and discovered that teaching was a really good profession for me, so I ahve nothing against homeschooling whatsoever.


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No flaming taken Sala [Smile]

Unfortunately, I'm not very involved in the day-to-day of homeschooling our kids, but math is the one area my wife and kids have struggled in the most.

Teaching Textbooks has taken lots of the burden off her shoulders and my kids enjoy (if that's the right word for it!) the lessons. My wife swears that this was the best curriculum buy she's made in 3 years of homeschooling (we pulled our kids out of public school 3 years ago for a variety of reasons, their academic performance was not one of them).

It's hard to comment on the content/grade level question. My oldest son and daughter, 7th & 6th graders respectively, started school in Kansas City. When we moved to Ft Wayne, Indiana six years ago, they ended up in some of the best schools in the area but were about 1 year ahead of their peers. It took some doing but we eventually got the school to get them in classes more appropriate to their skill level. Two years later we moved north of Ft Wayne, this school district was about a year behind the Ft Wayne school! Unlike the Ft Wayne school, however, this school was unwilling to work with us.

It's probably fair to say my kids are keeping up with their peers in DeKalb county Indiana (in math, our biggest struggle as I've mentioned), but I don't know how that compares with kids nationwide.

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I have a close friend who has been homeschooling (using Saxon Math, I believe) and now wants to put her kids in public schools. They took a placement test and he is, 1.5 grade levels behind in math. He's going into 4th grade but testing at grade 2.5.

She was stunned, because she was sure that Saxon was "so much better" than the public schools could teach. In my experience with homeschoolers who have gone back to public school or entered public school for the first time, math is the weakest area. My niece (who is brilliant, and I mean that honestly) entered public school in 9th grade. She was taught at home by my sister in law with help from my brother in law who have four degrees between them, and yet still she was woefully behind in math.

Math seems to be the biggest area of concern for most homeschoolers, and I really think there are some curriculum issues that need to be addressed. I haven't noticed too much trouble with the English curriculum...many of the homeschooled teens I know read a lot of novels, probably more in a school year than public school kids do. I've noticed homeschoolers tend to be pretty strong readers, for the most part. I can't say as much for their writing, however...I've read some work by high schoolers that wouldn't have passed muster in the 7th grade classroom where I student-taught.

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