Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Normally, when I agree to review a product, I am not really sure what to expect or what I am getting, but this review was a little different. My oldest son was already working through No-Nonsense Algebra by Math Essentials and I was excited to get the newest edition for my daughter to use.
If I am being completely honest, I NEVER liked algebra. Not when I took it in eighth grade, not when I took Algebra II in high school, not when I helped tutor it later. I just never found it to be easy and I was not looking forward to teaching it in our homeschool. I would much rather sit and read aloud or do a science experiment. However, I know that algebra is an important part of my children’s education so I set out to find a curriculum that would help me through this process as painlessly as possible.
My son is very bright but struggles with the attention to detail needed for upper level math. He does not like a lot of frills and wanted a basic laid out approach. I needed something that could help teach him the concepts each day. No-Nonsense Algebra is a text book that provides written instruction and a short video tutorial (typically about 3-5 minutes) for each lesson. Then there are 12 to 18 problems for the student to complete related to that lesson and four review problems covering concepts from previous lessons. This provided enough practice and review to ensure understanding of the concepts without feeling like there was a lot of ‘busy work’. Often in math curriculums I see every practice problem similarly worked in an example. With Non-Nonsense Algebra the practice problems tended to be of increasing complexity, forcing the learner to ‘take the next step’ in solving the problem.
One issue we had with the older edition were occasional mistakes in the answer key (which is located in the back of the book). These simple mistakes were causing us a lot of problems, because I was not working out the problems and thus would not realize that it was wrong until he had tried it again several times and my husband would work it out later. However, when we received the 2nd edition, I was pleased to find out that those mistakes had been corrected. There are also some extra chapter quizzes included in the 2nd Edition to help with review and retention.
No-Nonsense Algebra did not make my son fall in love with algebra. He would have still rather letters have never been included with math. However, he did like the way it was laid out and I feel like it was an effective program for him. Many days, especially once he started following the directions and writing down the practice problems with the video lessons, he was able to work through the lessons independently and understand the concepts. Other days, my husband would sit down and help him with the concepts that challenged him. The video lessons were still beneficial for those lessons because it gave my husband a quick review of concepts he hadn’t seen since middle school.
I think this program is great for student that wants to work independently and has a fairly good grasp of basic math concepts. A student that doesn’t need lots of extra practice and instruction can do very well with this program. It is also beneficial for parents who need a quick review. If you have a student that really struggles with math, enjoys long(er) lessons, or needs lots of detailed explanations, this might not be the best fit.
Be sure to check out No-Nonsense Algebra over at the Math Essentials website to get more information. Don’t forget to click on the graphic below to check out the reviews from other Review Crew members who reviewed this program and some of the other math products from Math Essentials.