cakemom Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 Hi Everyone, My daughter is currently finishing Teaching Textbooks for pre-algebra and has really liked it because it is engaging and interactive. As I am now ready to order the algebra program, I am a little hesitant because of reviews from others saying that TT is way too easy compared to other high school algebra programs out there. My daughter does not plan on going to college to pursue any kind of math major as it is not one of her least favorite subjects (although she does very well at math) but at the same time, I want her to be able to do well when SAT/ACT time comes around in a couple of years. Any advise or opinions on this? Thanks for your help! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Pam L in Mid Tenn Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 If TT has worked for your family then don't change it because of "reviews". I used TT Algebra 1 with my two oldest and switched for my next who was more "mathy". I sold TT. Now, I wish I would have kept TT and supplemented with another program. For test prep, buy a math test prep book and study that. I think McGraw Hill has a book with the most important concepts that are needed on the SAT/ACT tests. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Jann in TX Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 TT Algebra 1 is not really that far behind most other Algebra 1 programs... I have students who used TT for Algebra 1 and they have been fine in my Algebra 2 class. TT Geometry is a solid PROOF HEAVY course (compared to current PS texts)... it is extremely easy on the algebraic applications==but it is still a solid Geometry course. TT Algebra 2 is weak. It is much easier than a traditional Algebra 2 course... TT Pre-Calc is also weak. It gives students a 'taste' of the traditional Pre-Calc concepts-- enough that they should be able to go into a regular Calc class-- but they will not have as much critical thinking practice as students who use a traditional Pre-Calc course. It is a nice introductory Pre-Calc course for students who have time and will go on to college level maths in future. (bridge between Algebra 2 and traditional Pre-Calc ). Be careful with the new layout-- make sure your student is showing their work neatly in a notebook and THEN inputting their answer into the computer program. I have seen several students who have become lazy--- especially in the early stages of Algebra by not showing their work-- these students have a VERY HARD time when the problems get longer--- they do not have the discipline to set the problem up correctly. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Candid Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 I think whether to switch or not depends on why you have been using TT. If your dd was struggling in other programs prior to TT, then that would be an excellent reason to stay with the program. If you just switched because it seemed a good program to use, then you could consider other programs. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 If you stick with TT you could always suppliment with more challenging problems from other texts such as Dolciani, Foerster, Jacobs, BJU, Lials, etc... As Jan pointed out showing one's work is very important to learning good problem solving skills. This greatly facilitates developing the ability to discover one's own mistakes which is key to critical thinking. It also helps with breaking more complex problems down into simpler parts. You could also consider other similar web based programs which are more at grade level such as KineticBooks, TabletClass, etc... We've also found Khan Academy to be great as a supplimental. They have corresponding online problems which go along their math lessons. This would be a good minimum to do to solidify concepts. Even if not going into math as a major having solid Algebra and Geometry skills are important for a number of reasons including the standardized tests you've mentioned. Remember many science courses require good Algebra skills and beyond. And many young adults have been known to change their majors once in college. I know I did at least once maybe even twice. :D Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

creekland Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 TT worked just fine for my guys. My oldest got top 3% on the ACT and middle got top 1%. The only supplement I added was more on Matrices in Pre-Calc. Both boys moved into Calc with no problems whatsoever. We did use test prep books, although, let me rephrase that... I bought test prep books. Oldest never touched them. Middle son probably did every test in them (didn't bother with the prep part). Youngest only got through Alg 1 before he went back to ps. He's not my math guy, but tested in the top 15% for his 8th grade standardized test in math. He was leaps and bounds ahead of most (if not all) of his ps peers in Geometry and then had nice carryover for Alg 2 as well. If TT is working, continuing on shouldn't be a problem, but I've never looked at the new versions. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

ilanao Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 I regret changing from TT to Chalkdust and Keystone for three years. He seemed to enjoy doing math much more when we switched from Calvert to TT. I then decided to switch because of the reviews about TT not being rigorous enough. He went back to dreading math everyday. I switched back for Algebra 2 this year, and he is doing much better. He gets A's on all his tests. If that's because it's a little too easy, I'm willing to live with that. I have a happy kid who seems to get the material better instead on an unhappy one that doesn't. The point of school is to learn, and the program that accomplishes this is the best one for the child. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Harriet Vane Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 TT Algebra 1 is not really that far behind most other Algebra 1 programs... I have students who used TT for Algebra 1 and they have been fine in my Algebra 2 class. TT Geometry is a solid PROOF HEAVY course (compared to current PS texts)... it is extremely easy on the algebraic applications==but it is still a solid Geometry course. TT Algebra 2 is weak. It is much easier than a traditional Algebra 2 course... TT Pre-Calc is also weak. It gives students a 'taste' of the traditional Pre-Calc concepts-- enough that they should be able to go into a regular Calc class-- but they will not have as much critical thinking practice as students who use a traditional Pre-Calc course. It is a nice introductory Pre-Calc course for students who have time and will go on to college level maths in future. (bridge between Algebra 2 and traditional Pre-Calc ). Be careful with the new layout-- make sure your student is showing their work neatly in a notebook and THEN inputting their answer into the computer program. I have seen several students who have become lazy--- especially in the early stages of Algebra by not showing their work-- these students have a VERY HARD time when the problems get longer--- they do not have the discipline to set the problem up correctly. How does TT compare to Math-U-See? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Lolly Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 I think TT is just fine. DD#1 only went through Alg 2. She has a fantastic understanding of math and has made all high A's in her college math classes. DD#2 has gone through TT Alg. 2 and is doing a year of repeat with Lial's Alg. 2 this year. She has significant ld's and math is very difficult for her. Dd#3 has been through TT through Alg 2. Last year, she used Lial's Alg 2 because she did not feel ready to move forward. (Scared of math???) Her ACT score in math did not change between TT and completing Lial's. I found the two books to be extremely similar in content. The Lial's book appeared more difficult because of the wording and subject matter of the word problems. The problems were actually no more difficult than TT. This year, she is back in TT for Pre-Calc. She could have gone straight through and skipped the Lial's, but it made a nice review and gave her a little more confidence. I have to say, I am not a parent/teacher who believes that high maths should be taken in high school. I think high school should be for gaining excellent foundations in math. What I am seeing in high school students taking high maths--even beyond Calculus here-- is that the students do not know, much less understand, the material. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Kim in Appalachia Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 TT Algebra 1 is not really that far behind most other Algebra 1 programs... I have students who used TT for Algebra 1 and they have been fine in my Algebra 2 class. TT Geometry is a solid PROOF HEAVY course (compared to current PS texts)... it is extremely easy on the algebraic applications==but it is still a solid Geometry course. TT Algebra 2 is weak. It is much easier than a traditional Algebra 2 course... TT Pre-Calc is also weak. It gives students a 'taste' of the traditional Pre-Calc concepts-- enough that they should be able to go into a regular Calc class-- but they will not have as much critical thinking practice as students who use a traditional Pre-Calc course. It is a nice introductory Pre-Calc course for students who have time and will go on to college level maths in future. (bridge between Algebra 2 and traditional Pre-Calc ). Be careful with the new layout-- make sure your student is showing their work neatly in a notebook and THEN inputting their answer into the computer program. I have seen several students who have become lazy--- especially in the early stages of Algebra by not showing their work-- these students have a VERY HARD time when the problems get longer--- they do not have the discipline to set the problem up correctly. This is so helpful, Thank-you! We just started using TT and my dd likes it, a lot. I'm planning on letting my ds use it as well. Even if my son gets through the Algebra 2, it will be enough to take college Algebra the the local University (which is really an Algebra 2 class. My oldest dd took the course). And thanks for the advice about showing the work. I've been on my dd to do that, but I haven't checked lately. I need to do that. I know that it's important. And to the OP. I was hesitant about switching to TT because of the negative reviews, but I decided that learning the basics well was better than what we were doing ( Chalkdust, which wasn't going well) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Pawz4me Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 My oldest DS did TT Algebra 1 in eighth grade. He decided to go back to public school for high school, and chose to repeat Algebra 1 in ninth grade just in case he'd missed something by using TT. He found that he hadn't missed anything. In hindsight it was a poor choice to repeat the course because it was a huge waste of his time and incredibly boring, but on the plus side he finished with an easy 100 final average for that class. This past summer he asked me to get TT Pre-Calc so he could get ahead for his high school honors pre-calc class that started in late August. He worked with TT a little every day over the summer, and so far he's doing *very* well in class. This is a kid who is very bright but doesn't love math. I have no reason to doubt TT, and at this point plan on using it all the way through with youngest DS. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 I think TT is just fine... I have to say, I am not a parent/teacher who believes that high maths should be taken in high school. I think high school should be for gaining excellent foundations in math. What I am seeing in high school students taking high maths--even beyond Calculus here-- is that the students do not know, much less understand, the material. While this may be true for some students there are also STEM students who need Calculus prerequistes to be on track their freshman year of college. For example when I first entered college on a Pre-Med track many of my freshman sciences required calculus or as a minimum pre-calc. And that was back in the stone ages. Granted the OP mentioned her daughter is not going to major in math, etc... But many majors require sciences with their own math prerequisites as well. When they haven't been satisfied this leads to extra years of remedial courses. I do agree with the general idea that students should never rush into Calculus without first having a solid foundation in Algebra. And for some there is no need for Calculus at all. Even for very bright students the race into Calculus as an end itself isn't always a good thing. AoPS has an interesting article on this entitled The Calculus Trap. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 How does TT compare to Math-U-See? We used MUS through Pre-Algebra and I generally found it weaker than other Pre-Algebra programs such as the one we switched to called TabletClass. Many have used MUS Algebra as a Pre-Algebra since its scope and level of challenge is less than other programs. We have not tried TT to compare. With both MUS and TT there are three things in common: 1. Critiques on the level of rigor or depth depending on the particular course as Jan mentions above with her students. 2. A huge fan base that swear by them. 3. Great for helping struggling students or those who hate math. I think all three are relevant to consider in making an informed decision. If certain topics are left out of Algebra 1 like quadratic equations then it is missing part the standard Algebra 1 core curriculum. If more challenging multi-step equations are not introduced it should be noted. But does that mean that its a bad program or won't necessarily produce good results? No, I don't think its that cut and dry. Just look at all the parents that insist they are both wonderful programs for their children. For some either may be great programs depending on where they are at and what their goals are while for others not so much. No program is perfect, even the more challenging ones have weaknesses. So its good to be aware of those weaknesses with eyes wide open and suppliment at times when and where appropriate. Maybe add in some challenging word problems or use test prep books which present things in a different light. Even if you go TT all the way that certainly couldn't hurt. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

cakemom Posted December 4, 2012 Author Share Posted December 4, 2012 I really appreciate everyones replys on this topic! It helps to hear what others are saying that have also had experience with using TT and are now past algebra level and noticing how it helped or did not help their students in their future math classes or testing. Thanks so much! I feel since my daughter really likes the program, I might as well keep her with it. I do agree about making sure they write out each step of the problems. I am seeing that that will make a huge difference down the road!! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

chirowife Posted December 6, 2012 Share Posted December 6, 2012 My 7th grader just changed back to TT pre alg from Horizon's pre alg and is so much happier - she can do it on her own! My 9th grader used TT Alg1 last year and tutored her friend using Saxon Alg 1 with no problem. She switched to Life of Fred Advanced algebra this year. She likes it but I had to hire a tutor because there are not enough explanations in the book for her to really understand the topics. She doing well now but will go back to TT for geometry next year then we are not sure what to do for pre-calc... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

TiaTia Posted December 8, 2012 Share Posted December 8, 2012 I'll repeat the excellent advice of using what works for your goals. TT served us well for two purposes: (1) math desensitization and (2) independent prep for more rigorous Saxon courses. The DD who is "fine with math" independently used TT Math 7, followed by TT Pre-Algebra (skipping the lengthy review at the beginning), then TT Algebra I as a very young 7th grader. She loved the independence and enjoyed TT's approach. She scored in the A range in Algebra I. She found it went very slowly in some lectures. Sometimes this exasperated her. However, I do not think she would have been totally ready for a standard Geometry or Algebra II at the end of TT Algebra I, and she wants to go to a challenging 4-year college. So she's taking Saxon Algebra I this year, as a very young 8th grader, in a class of two. She studies with her year-younger buddy, who used Life of Fred last year. Both are sailing smoothly through Saxon together, but definitely benefit from the Saxon curriculum and hands-on teaching by my wonderful mathy friend. It takes MUCH more time, obviously, but the pay-off is worth it. Learning to write out your work and show the steps is invaluable. TT alone can't get you there, because students simply type the answer into a blank on the screen. Given our goals, TT was a fantastic prep, with nearly zero involvement on my part. My friend will be skipping/reducing some portions of Saxon Algebra I, so the kids won't get bored and can use their time wisely. If the girls finish early this year, that's just more time for the many other things life presents. I'm sure she'll KNOW this math, so next year will go smoothly. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

goldberry Posted December 8, 2012 Share Posted December 8, 2012 Be careful with the new layout-- make sure your student is showing their work neatly in a notebook and THEN inputting their answer into the computer program. I have seen several students who have become lazy--- especially in the early stages of Algebra by not showing their work-- these students have a VERY HARD time when the problems get longer--- they do not have the discipline to set the problem up correctly. You are spot on with this! DD is in Alg1 and I have to be on her all the time to show her steps. She gets mad, because she likes to do them in her head. I keep explaining that as the problems get harder there will be no way to do that and she will just get confused. We love TT. She used it for Pre-Alg and on her ITBS scored in the 93rd percentile on the Math section. She hated math previously and actually enjoys it now. She is not planning a math career path though. Our plans are Alg 1, Geometry, Alg 2, then College Algebra at the community college. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Lolly Posted December 8, 2012 Share Posted December 8, 2012 I'll repeat the excellent advice of using what works for your goals. TT served us well for two purposes: (1) math desensitization and (2) independent prep for more rigorous Saxon courses. The DD who is "fine with math" independently used TT Math 7, followed by TT Pre-Algebra (skipping the lengthy review at the beginning), then TT Algebra I as a very young 7th grader. She loved the independence and enjoyed TT's approach. She scored in the A range in Algebra I. She found it went very slowly in some lectures. Sometimes this exasperated her. However, I do not think she would have been totally ready for a standard Geometry or Algebra II at the end of TT Algebra I, and she wants to go to a challenging 4-year college. So she's taking Saxon Algebra I this year, as a very young 8th grader, in a class of two. She studies with her year-younger buddy, who used Life of Fred last year. Both are sailing smoothly through Saxon together, but definitely benefit from the Saxon curriculum and hands-on teaching by my wonderful mathy friend. It takes MUCH more time, obviously, but the pay-off is worth it. Learning to write out your work and show the steps is invaluable. TT alone can't get you there, because students simply type the answer into a blank on the screen. Given our goals, TT was a fantastic prep, with nearly zero involvement on my part. My friend will be skipping/reducing some portions of Saxon Algebra I, so the kids won't get bored and can use their time wisely. If the girls finish early this year, that's just more time for the many other things life presents. I'm sure she'll KNOW this math, so next year will go smoothly. I only have the old TT where there is on computer component, but the student still has to be doing something in order to get the answers! If they are capable of simply guessing the correct answer often enough to get most of them correct, then they should be fine as adults just by winning with lottery tickets. A parent would simply need to look over the student's work in order to make sure they are working the problems out on paper. It is a necessary skill, one that is best learned in middle school math; not high school level classes. However, it is a skill that can be learned easily in any math class. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

PeterPan Posted December 9, 2012 Share Posted December 9, 2012 We're using TT as our main and bringing in the harder problems from BJU on the side. So far, so good. On working things out, I'll be contrarian and suggest I *like* the balance of letting her do things her own way during TT and having her do them fully written out with me. It's another option. She has a spiral notebook by the computer just for her TT algebra 1. I don't *require* her to use it, but I do encourage her to keep all the writing she needs to do in one place. I just checked, and she has been using it (on her own, unforced). I know she's doing written out math with me during our time together for the BJU science and math, so I don't sweat it. It's easy to add BJU, Foerster, or Dolciani to kick it up a notch. I have all of them actually. The TT algebra 1 lessons are taking her a little longer, so she has stopped doubling up the way she did with pre-algebra. If it takes longer, that may affect your ability to have an add-on session. I'm not saying you *have* to add harder problems to it. I choose to, because I think word problems are where it's at. BJU and Dolciani have C level problems that do a good job of checking to make sure the student really understood the concepts and wasn't just following a pattern. So with the BJU, we typically do just the C level problems and the word problems. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted December 9, 2012 Share Posted December 9, 2012 I only have the old TT where there is on computer component, but the student still has to be doing something in order to get the answers! If they are capable of simply guessing the correct answer often enough to get most of them correct, then they should be fine as adults just by winning with lottery tickets. A parent would simply need to look over the student's work in order to make sure they are working the problems out on paper. It is a necessary skill, one that is best learned in middle school math; not high school level classes. However, it is a skill that can be learned easily in any math class. Actually, I do not find it "simple" or "easy" for the student to learn how to write down math correctly. The way some of my college students write their math (at a STEM university, no less!) is sometimes horrible. It takes an effort to teach a student to properly document mathematics, and just "looking over" the student's work is insufficient. These are skills that must actually be taught. The most common issue is a misuse of the equal sign in chains of equations where operations have been performed and the expression is no longer equal to the initial one. Another issue is documenting the operations that have been performed in a way that the written product is still mathematically valid. Canceling and moving factors around in one equation frequently lead to statements that are no longer mathematically correct. These things must be taught correctly, and the student's work must be checked consistently to make sure that he develops good habits. This is at least as important as arriving at the correct answer. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

ilanao Posted December 9, 2012 Share Posted December 9, 2012 My son always does the work in his TT Workbook before putting in the answers on the computer. If he is having trouble with a problem, he asks me. I also use the parent portal on TT to note which questions he missed in each lesson in the chapter, and if there is a trend. If he has trouble with certain types of problems, I have him review these before the test. I also want to educate those who think that the new TT Algebra 2 is just multiple choice. The first 5 examples are always fill-in-the-blank. The lesson contains 20-21 problems, which are 2/3 fill-in-the-blank and 1/3 multiple choice. When I ordered the new version, I was worried about the multiple choice but, after receiving the materials, I realized that the small amount of multiple choice is good practice for standardized tests. My son has not taken these tests every year like the public school kids because he has always been homeschooled, so this is actually a good time for him to start practicing these skills. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

CyndiLJ Posted December 10, 2012 Share Posted December 10, 2012 We are using TT for Algebra 1 for our 8th grader, as well as all our lower level kids having switched from Saxon this year. We have public school oversight and were told by one who evaluates the various math curriculum that if one uses TT all the way through, and doesn't skip back and forth between other curriculum, at the end of high school most students will be doing very, very well with either TT or Saxon. They do not align perfectly, but no two math courses do. Our kids are doing an excellent job with TT, and more importantly they don't dread math time as they did with Saxon which was so dry. It was good, and they did very well with it, too, but since we have no STEM kids here I see no sense at all in shoving a program down their throats that is less engaging if another will do a good job and will be less painful. For us, that is what the choice of homeschooling is all about! I also did a lot of research prior to our switch, and found many, many comments from parents whose kids graduated using TT and they all did quite well in college. That was enough for me. Cindy Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

GoodGrief Posted December 10, 2012 Share Posted December 10, 2012 My ninth grader (15 yo) used TT from pre-alg through Alg 2. She switched over to Derek Owens for pre-calc, and has had no issues. Finishing first semester with a high A. Her placement test at the local university following TT Alg 2 actually qualified her for Calculus there (we opted to go Derek Owens and pre-calc though.) TT is a fine program, truly. I think it comes down to how your child learns best. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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