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Teaching Textbooks for High School...reviews please

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I have been reading reviews and researching this as an option for us next year.  (I will have a 8th, 10 and 11th grader next year) But, like normal, I have found both positive and negative reviews of TT for this level.  So I would like to ask you guys some very specific questions.  

 

1) are the algebra 1, geometry and algebra 2 good enough for a college bound student? (for both STEM students or not)?  

 

2) how much review is included?

 

3) would it work to start using TT at the high school level, if you haven't previously used TT?

 

4) I read both that TT prepared their student for the ACT tests and for some it didn't.  So I was wondering what your experience was with that. 

 

please, if there is anything else I need to consider for using TT at the high school level, I would love to hear it.  Thanks.

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I used TT high school for my younger kiddos, as I needed something they could do very independently after a family crisis (which lasted for several years).  I loved it!  But in hind site, it definitely would have worked better if I had been more hands on.  My kids did fine with it, did fine on the ACT, though I'm certain that if I had really worked with them on it every day myself instead of relying on the program to be their teacher, they would have come through with a stronger understanding and even stronger test scores.

 

My younger three only had Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry.  Two of them continued on to college and got into the college of their choice.  

 

Now if they were planning to attend a more competitive school, I think we would have tried to do more.

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I cannot teach high school math myself.

 

And I didn't know about online programs a few years ago.

 

So- We used TT for a second go through of Algebra 1 (after using MUS algebra 1 cause kiddo didn't have good enough grasp & wants to go STEM). Then he used it for Geometry. It was fine. He liked the immediate feedback, he has to wait a few days for grading turn around with online program. (I didn't like that he didn't always go back & retry ones he got wrong).

 

Kid did fine on SAT math. Not national merit but good enough to get into state schools at merit level.

He's doing great in his DE computer science classes.

 

We then switched to Derek Owens online for Alg 2 & will likely stick to that for pre calc senior year (TT didn't have a graded version yet). DO is more difficult & more thorough, IMO. But you have to wait for grading turn around.

 

I wish I'd known to have him start Alg 1 in 8th so he could get through Calc in high school, but I didn't & it's not a thing in our local schools, except for the g& t class.

 

Eta- forgot to say, it had lots of review

Edited by Hilltopmom

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My STEM focused son used TT for geometry (the old edition).  It wasn't honors level, but it got the job done.  His ACT math score was 30.

 

That said, if you think your student would do well with Jacobs Geometry, then Derek Owens would be far superior to TT, and his Algebra I, II, and precalculus sequence is excellent.

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Have used TT Pre-Alg., Alg.1, Alg. 2, and Geometry. We used Saxon from grades 3 up for my 1st and had no problems till Alg 1, that's when we switched to TT. Looking back we should have stuck with Saxon. TT is a good program for a child who is struggling in math or not college bound, but I can no longer recommend it as a good strong math program. My daughter is finding LOTS of holes in her Algebra skills. She had decided to switched to Saxon Advanced math after comparing her math to her other homeschool friend's work. She has brought her SAT practice score up a lot since starting the new book. TT runs behind other rigorous programs. Saxon is my 1st choice for HS math- using the DVD's from Art Reed. My 2nd DD is finishing TT Pre-Alg., she struggles with math. I am considering putting her back in Saxon though, after what her sister has noticed.

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quick question about switching to Saxon....we tried Saxon when we first started homeschooling and it wasn't a good fit.  So we switched to a mastery math program and that was much better.  

 

So I am debating whether or not trying it again, now that the kids are much older, and using the DVDs, if we would have more success  than we did 8 years ago...  Can anybody speak to that?

 

thanks.

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A friend whose youngest DS struggled terribly with school, esp. writing and math, went through Saxon and MUS (and possibly others), before finding TT along about 9th grade, which worked for him. He went on to earn his Associate's degree at the local community college, so TT worked fine as prep for the the College Algebra he needed for that degree.

 

 

I know that doesn't really directly address your needs and questions, but it's all I've got on TT as far as how it works coming to it in high school, and prep for education beyond high school. ;)

Edited by Lori D.

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All I have is anecdotal.

DS used Jacobs Algebra and then TT for Geometry, Alg 2 and Pre-Calc.  His SAT score is presently 680 in math (retesting next week)

His best friend used TT for Algebra 1- Pre-calc  His SAT math is 790.  (Now he did to a run through of AOPS Alg early on, but for years after his SAT score was 650.  He raised it to 790 after TT Alg 2, Pre-Calc and Kahn academy practice.

 

 

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GRRRR!!!!!!!!  this is so hard...I hear both sides of this...and I just don't know which way to go.   thanks for all of your thoughts, however, I do appreciate it.

 

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another question on TT....are ALL of the problems worked out completely someplace?  There is nothing I hate more than the answer key being just the answers...and not the entire solution.

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I think the reason this is so hard is that some programs work better for some kids than others. 

You will find positives & negatives for ALL programs out there - even the ones that seem like they are the Holy Grail of Math. (You may have to work harder to find people who will talk badly about certain programs.)

 

You don't necessarily know if something will work for your student until you try it. The biggest thing I've seen with TT reviews is that if your kid uses it, you need to stay really involved because it is easy to game the system and get through looking like you know what you are doing (high grades), but really, you don't. Some people have their kids do the work by hand before entering it into the computer. Others sit by their kids for every lesson. The key is to stay on top of it.

 

There are other things that pop up in reviews - that TT is "behind" so you might have to use half of their Alg 2 before you get all of the same Alg 1 content as Some Other Programs, for example. There are other things.

 

The positives that you see again & again are that some kids finally find their math mojo because TT gives them back their confidence or lowers their anxiety. Parents often report that math is no longer a fight. For those kids for whom it works, they transition to higher math with little to no trouble & report back to their families that TT prepared them well.

 

For those kids that TT doesn't work well for, they might find themselves having to back-track and repeat a level or more of math that they thought they'd done already. This is a case where Your Mileage May Vary. There is no way of knowing based on other people's experiences if it will work for your kid(s). It really is kid-specific!

 

[My eldest completed an Alg 1 program that was not TT. She really thrived with this program's (not TT's) Pre-A & Alg. I was mostly happy with it. Fast forward to Alg 2 & she used a more rigorous program. The "review" material at the beginning was all new for her as her Alg 1 program didn't cover it. No problem - she just had to learn it from the review. But, for that reason & a few others, my other kids won't be using that program for Alg 1. Other people who stick with the same program all the way through might not have this same problem.]

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you are right...that is what makes it super hard.  

 

educating our kids is such a huge responsibility that I fear make a huge mistake.  

 

thanks for all the advice.

 

 

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I know a lady who had TT and Saxon on her shelves.

 

Her oldest dc used Saxon and got higher math scores on standardized tests (not her goal, but it was her observation and I mean SAT and/or ACT). Her middle kids used TT and did OK on standardized tests, but not as well as those who used Saxon.

 

Because she had both on her shelves, she had her youngest dc start w/ TT, complete the book and videos, and then test into Saxon. (Not sure about geometry, since I don't believe Saxon has/had geometry when she was homeschooling). She found it to be a good fit esp. w/ one who didn't love math. That child benefitted from the combo of approaches. By test into Saxon I mean she had her take the tests that came w/ the Saxon book and if the child scored above a certain %, the child kept testing, but once the test score dipped below that %, they backed up the first chapter that was covered on that test, and the child started there. 

 

Now, she did that b/c she had both. She didn't recommend folks buy both. I realize you were asking about TT and not Saxon necessarily, but I wanted to share that rambling story. 

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I have been reading reviews and researching this as an option for us next year.  (I will have a 8th, 10 and 11th grader next year) But, like normal, I have found both positive and negative reviews of TT for this level.  So I would like to ask you guys some very specific questions.  

 

1) are the algebra 1, geometry and algebra 2 good enough for a college bound student? (for both STEM students or not)?  

 

2) how much review is included?

 

3) would it work to start using TT at the high school level, if you haven't previously used TT?

 

4) I read both that TT prepared their student for the ACT tests and for some it didn't.  So I was wondering what your experience was with that. 

 

please, if there is anything else I need to consider for using TT at the high school level, I would love to hear it.  Thanks.

 

My daughter wrote a review after using TT, years ago:

 

http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/reviews/reviewteachingtextbooks.html

 

She's 25, almost 26 now, and teaching English at a school in Japan. She took both the ACT and the SAT and did fine on both in the math section. She did score higher in the English section, but that's her strong area, and math has always been something she struggled with and often disliked.

 

When she entered college, she actually became a high school math tutor for a while to make a little extra income. Her time with TT made it so she was proficient enough to do that. She was also in a nursing program in college (until she changed her goals) and had a lot of exposure to math. She did just fine.

 

I remember TT having a lot of review built into each level, and that a lot of the beginning of each year goes over some pretty basic stuff. I haven't had a kid using it for a few years, though, so it could have changed.

 

I've been listening to (er, reading) the TT debate for years now. My experience is that it kept my daughter from hating math and helped her be successful in her future endeavours. That's what mattered to me, and I'm glad I used it.

 

Having said that, if I had a student who planned on being a chemistry or physics major, I'd go with something that's more of a challenge. One of my sons used Art of Problem Solving books and a mix of other things that were more rigorous and suited for him (on top of TT which he basically did for fun, lol).

 

I think it really comes down to the kid.

 

I thought I'd chime in though, because I have a homeschool graduate who used it and finally got over her math hurdle because of it. She also did decently on both the ACT and SAT. So, I'm happy I chose to use it, in my particular cirumstances.

 

Edited to add: My daughter took TT in high school, but not previous to that, so yes, in my opinion, you could easily start up TT in high school after using something else for the younger years. I personally would NOT use TT before high school (except maybe prealgebra) because I prefer different math programs like Singapore for the elementary years. 

Edited by jenn&charles

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One reason I like TT is that every single problem is worked out and explained on the DVDs. This alone lowers the stress in our house, and it has allowed DD to LOVE math. I wish I had found it for her older brothers. DD does not use the DVDs to do problems-- she works them all out in her notebook, then I check them with her. If she makes a mistake and is not able to figure it out on her own, then she goes to the DVD for the explanation. She got a 27 in Math on the ACT with just Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry. She is working through Pre-Calc now, and did run into trouble with understanding some things. I cannot teach math, so I have her meet with a tutor once a week. 

I think one thing that is overlooked in these discussions is whether a kid likes math, and what kind of learner the kid is. I think the kid's attitude -- and their style of learning -- make a bigger difference in his or her success than the program.

Maria

 

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you are right that different kids need different things...let me share with you about my kids:

 

dd16: struggles with math, college bound, but not STEM.  Her college of choice only requires Algebra 1, geo and Algebra 2.  She only needs Algebra 2.  We have been using Math Relief with good results...however, the geometry isn't very good, I don't think...she finished it and is now going through Geometry on khan Academy.  Hoping that will be enough for her.  We own Math Relief Algebra 2, so we will probably use that for her. 

 

ds15: is good at math, but doesn't like it. Doesn't plan on being a STEM kid....but is most likely college bound....we just don't where yet. He is currently doing Math relief Algebra 1 and is doing ok with it.  But I don't plan on using Math Relief Geometry with him...so i am looking for something new...but it needs to be DVD based.  So that is why I am considering TT.  

 

ds12: struggles with math somewhat.  We are doing Rod and Staff and it's going ok.  Not great, but ok.  He loves science and wants to do more with science, but that usually means higher math too.  So, I want to make sure he has math that he likes and understands, but that is rigorous enough....

 

so, based on that, is there anything you all can recommend?  One thing I am thinking is if my ds15 uses TT for geometry, will I use TT for Algebra 2...or what?  

 

sigh....at some point, I just need to make a decision and go with it. 

 

still listening to all of you.

 

thanks.

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My dd is going back to TT because the algebra we have been using is taking so long to complete and she feels better using TT.  She is college bound, but not as a STEM student.   As to whether a student can use TT if they are going to college, yes I think they can.  I think the best thing is to have the student in the program that is going to teach them and move them forward and that they can feel comfortable with, whether the program  has consistently good reviews or not.  The college will test your student for placement anyway.  Going through TT will most likely put your student in a good starting place in college as long as they understood the material and with TT  they are probably going to understand it since they have such  good explanations of each problem. 

 

I'm thinking if you have a student headed for a STEM degree in college you would probably want them to go through another pre-calc or calc class before heading off to college.  JMHO

 

Blessings,

Pat 

 

PS. My ds went to public school for 9-12th grade and his single biggest  complaint about math courses was that they did not explain the material well or tell why you did something.  He didn't encounter that teacher until he went to CC.  Ds didn't do great  in his high school courses but he did well in the college course. A Student  that hates a  program or can't understand the material  will never do well with that course.  

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