Teaching Textbooks Math Curriculum Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Curriculum Review

5 comments

During our homeschool journey math has been such a tricky subject for us. It’s not my personal favorite to teach and it is not a subject my older two children naturally excel at. We have tried the gamut of math curricula and finally have settled on one for the foreseeable future. I think math in the early years should be hands-on and play-based, but once a strong foundation was laid, I was comfortable switching to something the kids can do more independently.

Related: 50 Hands-on Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Honestly, the main reason I was on the hunt for a different math curriculum when my children were ages 8 and 9 was that, with two younger children, I needed at least some of my older children’s schoolwork to be able to be completed independently. Our previous math curriculum required a lot of my hands-on time every day with either math games, manipulatives, or encouraging frustrated, confused children. I don’t think our previous math choices were bad, I just think we entered a new season and needed something fresh and more independent.

Related: Our Math Journey: Honest Curriculum Reviews

To be honest, at first, I was leery of an online curriculum and procrastinated looking into Teaching Textbooks, even after hearing how much success a few of my friends were having with it. I didn’t like the idea of delegating a subject to a screen-based course and I was worried that it would be too over-stimulating and fluffy. I had tried online math programs for extra practice in the past and loathed the “video game” feel. I was also turned off by a curriculum with the word “textbook” in the title. That might sound silly, but to me, the word “textbook” says dry, boring, and unengaging.  

I am glad that I gave Teaching Textbooks a fair chance and did the trial run they offer for free. I also recommend doing the placement test to determine where to begin with your students. 

In this blog post: 

  • What is Teaching Textbooks?
  • What my kids are saying about Teaching Textbooks
  • Benefits of using Teaching Textbooks
  • Additional materials needed for Teaching Textbooks

What is Teaching Textbooks?

teaching textbooks curriculum review

Teaching Textbooks is a spiral-approach, digital math curriculum that offers teaching videos, math problems, and grades every single math problem with instant feedback. Teaching Textbooks gently introduces new math concepts in plain, easy-to-understand language and in an engaging way. The formatting makes math approachable and fun for students, without being over-stimulating.

Teaching Textbooks lessons are designed for independent learning in three stages: watch the lesson, work out the math problems, and watch an explanation of any problems answered incorrectly. There are also “bonus rounds” at the end of every seventh lesson or so. These are fun, game-show-like sessions where kids show off their speed and knowledge of the previous lessons. A quiz follows after about 13 lessons. There is no lecture for quiz days, you just load up your lesson and answer 23 different math problems.

teaching textbooks curriculum review homeschool

The part that makes it fun for kids is the animated stickers. They earn stickers as they go through lessons and the stickers pop up after problems to celebrate and encourage. For example, a superhero flies through the screen dodging fireballs and punches a dragon in the nose while shouting “Nice Job!” Kids can also “turn off” stickers they don’t like. I was concerned they would "reward" kids with long video-game like activities after completing so many problems, but that isn't the case. The quick appearance of animated stickers is enough to make my kids excited to move through the problems, without it being too much of a time waste.

Teaching Textbooks covers all standard math topics for each grade level, from Math 3-7, plus Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. The Geometry unit includes questions designed for preparation for the SAT and ACT. 

Teaching Textbooks provides an online gradebook for each child and offers additional lessons if children are struggling in any area. I receive emails multiple times a week with progress reports for my children’s lessons. I can also log in anytime to view their progress, see scores, and look over any problems they have missed. While we haven’t needed to do this yet, you can also purchase physical workbooks that align with the lessons for additional practice. 

Each leveled course includes an app and a multi-hundred-page eBook that can be viewed directly in the app or printed. Every Teaching Textbooks course lasts one calendar year and includes three months of additional pause time. 

In my experience, lessons take around 30-45 minutes per day. The platform offers a scratchpad where they can “write” numbers using their mouse to work out the problems. I prefer my children to write out the problems on paper, so each child has a notebook with graph paper that they use during math lessons. 

teaching textbooks curriculum review

I love that I can check their progress and offer extra hands-on practice like board games and practical math activities when I am inspired, but it can also stand alone.

So far we have used Math 3, 4, and 5. We are moving on to 4th and 6th grades in the fall. After 18 months of using Teaching Textbooks, my children both surpassed their grade level when completing the CAT standardized test. 

Related: Finishing Your Homeschool Year: Testing, Portfolios, and More

What my kids are saying about Teaching Textbooks

Titus (age 11, completed Math 4 & 5): “I love teaching Textbooks because the stickers are funny and lessons are fun. The bonus rounds are crazy and were overwhelming at first, but I have learned how to do problems faster because of them.”

Josie (age 9, completed Math 3): “Math isn’t my favorite subject, but at least with Teaching Textbooks it makes it more fun than a boring workbook. I like the cute animal stickers like cats and bunnies.”

Benefits of using Teaching Textbooks

teaching textbooks curriculum review

In my experience, these are some of the main benefits of using Teaching Textbooks in a homeschool setting:

  • Independent study - Children can do lessons independently with minimal input from the parent or teacher. This is a great option if math is not your favorite subject to teach or if you have younger children to attend to.
  • Instant feedback - The online gradebook provides instant feedback that is available to review at any time.
  • Engaging and fun for kids - Kids love collecting unique stickers as they go through the lessons, and the bonus rounds are exciting and build confidence.
  • Pleasant digital interface - Even though we are using screens to do this curriculum, the platform is engaging while not feeling like a traditional video game. 
  • Digital only - No hard copy books or workbooks are required.
  • Gaining computer skills- Children gain computer literacy skills as they type in answers, navigate screens, and learn to use a computer mouse.

Materials needed to use Teaching Textbooks

These are materials I obtained as we used this platform:

What math curriculum is your favorite? Would a platform like Teaching Textbooks work for your homeschool? Let me know in the comments below.

5 comments

Catherine

I used Teaching Textbooks as a student when I was in high school (physical, textbook copies with CDs that went through each problem) and appreciated them then, at least compared to what I had been using prior. I love hearing how they’ve been updated!

Treehouses Schoolhouse

HI Rachel! Yes, every problem is read aloud to the student

Robin Greenwood

Thank you for sharing about your experience with teaching textbooks. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it so this review was super helpful too. I have children similar ages and feel as if our homeschool approaches are very similar, so I appreciate your comments very much. We’ve been using math-u-see with my 5, 8, and 11 year old, but would like to possibly give this a try in the fall for my older two while still using math-u-see with my now 6-year-old. We may have a go with the free trial this summer and see!

Vanessa

Thanks for this careful explanation of your new math curriculum choice. I had also been using Math U See but heard about another online math curriculum: CTC Math. I decided to try it at the end of the school year. I love that it removes the distraction of a pencil which can become a toy or fall and distract. I also realized my son can learn some computer skills as well.

Rachel McCorkle

This looks like a lovely solution and I’d love to try it too. My kiddo just finishing 2nd grade is severely dyslexic and not yet reading. Will the textbooks read the problem aloud, or does the learner have to read it for themself?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.