Homeschool Math - Mastering Essential Math Skills
Homeschool math can be a bit daunting to take on. Every parent needs a solid approach to teaching math to their children. Mastering Essential Math Skills by Richard W. Fisher just may be one of the homeschool programs you love for your homeschool.
As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew
, I received Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1 for grades 4 and 5 as well as their Problem Solving book
. Book 1 comes with a DVD of lessons that correspond with the book. Book 1 sells for $33.95. The Problem Solving book sells for $11.95 each. You’ll have to buy one book for each child you want to have go through the program or just photocopy the pages in one book for another child to use at the same time.
Book 1 has 125 pages of practice work (plus review pages and answer key for main practice page equations) with each page containing five sections:
- Review - this section goes over problems which your child should be able to do easily. It reminded me of a warm-up that helped to encourage our children to complete the main practice page
- Speed Drills - These drills are helpful in reinforcing your child’s addition and multiplication facts. I’m not sure why subtraction and division speed drills were not included in this book
- Helpful Hints - This is just an example worked out for your children or reminders of what to look for and do for this section of problems
- Main Practice Page - This section starts out with two sample equations for your child to work on their own
- Problem Solving - One word problem is at the end of each page for your child to work through
Detailed steps are laid out in the beginning of Book 1 to let you know exactly how you should be using this book with your children. Following this method will yield the best results. Richard W. Fisher has had much success using this process in his classroom, so you should try to follow his directions.
By contrast, the Problem Solving book is all about worded math problems. If your child needs a bit more help in problem solving, this book provides the extra practice. This book doesn’t come with it’s own DVD, however, the DVD that came with Book 1 does include quite a few examples of the different word problems in this book. Seeing a word problem worked out helps immensely with understanding how to tackle a similar problem.
The format is the same as in Book 1, minus the problem solving section and the speed drills. The word problems are divided into different areas of math. There are whole number, fraction, decimal, percent and graph problems each with a chapter of its own. For each area of math that a chapter focuses on, there are different strategies: single, 2-step and multiple step solving strategies that the problems require to solve. There is also a review section at the beginning and end of each chapter. The first review goes over the area of math being targeted in that chapter. The last review section mixes up the different solving strategies.
One of the key main features of this system is the review section. It’s built right into the book that you practice in. This method of going back to review every day is what helps to solidify what was already learned in your child’s mind. Your child will continually build on what they learned before without losing any knowledge.
The DVD that comes with the book is in the format of a teacher giving a lesson at a white dry erase board in the front of the class. You only see what the teacher writes down. You can hear what the teacher is saying, but you don’t actually see the teacher.
The lessons that are covered may seem a bit boring for some children. The voice on the DVD is a male monotone voice (I assume Richard’s voice). Children might struggle a bit sitting and listening to the voice. They will most likely appreciate the diagrams that go along with the lessons, though. The video lessons are short, so boredom might not be a problem. He shows you exactly what to do, so your child may just be happy to know how to solve the problems and avoid becoming bored.
Our children are used to playing math games to practice their math facts. Having to sit and do work in a book was a bit different for them. I let them correct their own work to change things up a bit. I can easily see how the speed drills can spark up their time using the book. Children can race each other or just try to beat the clock themselves.
Any order that includes Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1, OR, Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2, OR, No-Nonsense Algebra, will include a free copy of Geometry (A $14.95 value) plus a free Homework Kit (A $4.99 value).
This review was written for The Schoolhouse Review Crew. I received Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1 - Grade 4 and 5 and Problem Solving book for free to use in return for my honest opinion which I have shared with you in this review.