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Kiana, or anyone else, can you tell me more about Math Power Basics

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You mentioned this program on another thread for my two older dc who are struggling with math. I'm having a hard time telling from the samples what the philosophy of math behind the program is. Is it more teaching how to do the algorithm, which it seems from the samples, or does actually teach the concepts behind them? I really want my dc to understand the why's of math not just the how's.

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Walch Power Basics are texts that cover language arts, math, science, and social studies. They are lower level reading/ higher level content for struggling students. I think it is something like a 4th-5th grade reading level, but designed to to meet standards for jrhigh through high school. The Walch site should give the reading level and the standards met. I know that the Power Basics 3 book World History series is 3 color- black, white and purple. It is designed so that it is not visually distracting (so no color, no distracting color photos, but it does contain basic maps). It is well designed. The pages are never visually confusing. The pages are well organized and there is a nice amount of white space. They are never overwhelming in the amount of print on a single page. They will have a short section immediately followed by questions. I like the Power Basics World History as a step up from Story of the World. The books are about the size of Story of the World and are mostly black and white like Story of the World.


As far as Power Basics- Basic Mathematics, I have never seen it and can only look at the samples online. Based solely on the samples online, this looks like a book designed for older students who have not been exposed to much math as a quick run-through of the four operations with whole numbers starting at the very, very beginning with single digit addition represented by pictures of concrete objects. It assumes that the child is capable and moves very quickly from addition to subtraction in about 50 pages. It then covers multiplication and division in about 50 pages and goes on to cover fractions and decimals in about 50 pages. The last 50 pages cover percents, powers, and roots. With these brief, review-type topical sections and about 200 pages to cover the basic math presented in K-6, I wouldn't expect deep conceptual learning. OTOH, it appears that there are application problems so that the student can see how this skill is used IRL. The Walch Power Basics books have been thoughtfully designed and like the rest of the books in this series this one has a clear goal stated at the beginning of each lesson, so it is easy for you to teach and the student know exactly what he is supposed to learn. I would expect this book to be nonthreatening and confidence building exposure that should take between 8 to 16 weeks. From here a child could move on to something like the Key to series if he needed more guided work with fractions, decimals, and percents or use some of the geometry and measurement books to cover some of the topics not covered in Power Basics: Basic Math. If covering this book just helped everything gel in the child's mind, he could go on to a basic and more conceptual pre-Alg text.


If you have children who are older and very behind, it may be worthwhile to run through a book like this. It is designed for an older learner, so the student doesn't feel coddled or stupid. This may build confidence. It may be important for an older learner, who is starting with basics, to see how a skill will be used in his life. Sure, they should be presented math conceptually, but to get them motivated to move forward they may need to see how these math skills are used. Also, since it looks like we are discussing a 12 and 13yo, have you looked at products that are out-of-the-box type programs? After something like Power Basics Math, products like Becoming a Problem Solving Genius and Primary Challenge Math by Zaccaro and Hands-On Equations by Borenson could help build mathematically thinking skills.


You may want to post about this on the logic board.



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Mandy, thanks for the helpful review. I will have to look at the Walch website thoroughly for me information. I had no idea they had other products! I don't like the idea of them just learning to plug numbers in but maybe a brief review of all the operations would help build their confidence, then we could add more conceptual word. Thanks for the links to the other products, I've never heard of those. Off to do some research.

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