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Needing wisdom for Algebra 1 and beyond

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I posted a few weeks ago on this topic but I've changed my thinking a little since then.  I was going to go ahead and go with TT since I have it, but I just can't get past the fact that it may be weak.  


So background:  13yo, just finishing 7th grade, does sufficiently well in math.  He has used Singapore from K through 6a. He then switched to Saxon 8/7.  Our intent was to use Saxon all the way through.  He is a very obedient student who does his best.  He cooperated but would sigh every time we sat down to do it.  He did well, mostly 90s and above throughout the year, but there was no love, just obligation.  I want more than that for him.  I think surely I could work at it and help him have a love for math and not just a "eat your vegetables" idea behind it.  


So he of course finds TT Algebra simple and a breath of fresh air.  We will likely work through some of it this summer then move to another Algebra course in early August.  I just can't seem to have a peace about it being our main curriculum.


I own Lial's Introductory Algebra (I think that is it) and I just don't know about the layout.  The pages are so full.  I like a cleaner look.  I also own Dolciani Pre-Algebra and like the feel of it better.  


Here is what I'd like in a math curriculum:  

1) I would like it to potentially be easy to get some backup materials:  solutions manual that shows the work or teacher's manual, some type of videos if possible.  I feel I can work through this with him but Algebra was a while ago for me and I'd like some more support.

2.) I'd like it to feel that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  Saxon 8/7 is MASSIVE.  It felt like we were slogging through.  Is there something that will give a thorough foundation in Algebra but still be doable in a reasonable amount of time?  

3.) My next child who is finishing 5th is one that I could see being an engineer.  I'd like to buy a curriculum that is thorough enough for both of them but also a gentle approach as well.  The older of the two is good at math but doesn't love it.  The younger of the two seems to love math and will likely be doing Pre-algebra in 6th.  


I've looked at Foersters somewhat.  I haven't gotten my hands on it yet.  I've considered using MWOB along with it.  It sounds like it might be fairly difficult.  I would like something that is very clear in its instructions, even if that means using a video to make it so.  The older of the two "gets" math, but appreciates thorough explanations.  


I'm also considering Derek Owen.  I just don't like the price tag!!  Even the half-price version is steep with me grading.  Is there any alternative where you can purchase the video instruction yourself and use it for multiple children?


I also saw that Memoria Press may have DVDs to go along with Prentice Hall (which is Foerster's, right?), but all I'm seeing is that you pay $55 to stream the videos for a few months.  You don't get to keep them.  Am I right?


I have three kids at home, I'm quite good at lower maths and do have a math mind but need to work through the higher levels along with my kids, so I really need something that would help me in that regard.  Thanks.

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If I had to do Algebra 1 again with another kid, I would consider getting Holt Algebra 1


Here is a link to it on Amazon



Holt is a solid algebra curriculum and you can buy the older version on Amazon along with the practice workbook for $25. Combine that with the really good videos on Khan academy and you are done.

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Dana Mosely's (of Chalkdust Math) instruction videos for Larson Algebra Within Reach is available free here:




You could get the text and solution manual or instructor guide and DIY.


Another option if your son loved Singapore Math is AoPS. There are videos for the first 13 chapters of Introduction to Algebra which roughly corresponds to Algebra 1. They sell a complete solution manual.


Homeschool Connections has complete courses with taped classes and answer keys as well as tutoring available for an extra fee. It costs $30/month for a subscription that includes all of their classes. They're a Catholic provider and offer lots of science including AP, foreign languages, writing instruction, history and lit.

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Thank you both!!!  Are Larson and Holt the same?  I'm looking more into both.  


AoPS intimidates me for some reason.  I don't think he would like it just by perusing samples.  I would love to have a copy of each level to use when I wanted but I don't know about us using it as a stand-alone.  

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We are doing a run-through of AoPS pre-algebra before starting algebra in the fall. We're only on the fourth chapter, but I really like how it explains why things work, instead of just giving the procedure. That said, it definitely takes more time (although I'm sure that varies depending on the student). My plan for fall is to use AoPS Intro to Algebra 1 along with some Dolciani. Somewhere on the forum, I found a link to preview/borrow some of the Dolciani texts here: https://openlibrary.org/search?q=dolciani+algebra It looks like they have a copy of Foerster's Algebra, although it looks to be checked out at the moment.

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We used Foerster.  It does have a solutions manual which was helpful to me.  I don't know if it's right for your students but *I* loved it.  Ds did well with it, and it was outstanding preparation for a college STEM major.  When he was taking CC classes, he would tell me about the students who struggled with word problems.  After completing every word problem in Foerster, ds did not struggle.


We used Foerster’s Algebra in 8th grade after completing MUS Algebra (easy) and LoF Algebra (challenging).  With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had done something different for 7th grade, perhaps MUS Algebra and Patty Paper Geometry.  I was able to obtain the 1999 student book and 1999 teacher book used.  I purchased the solutions manual new through Prentice Hall.



  • Clear, easy to understand explanations
  • Explicit, step-by-step working through problems
  • Sufficient practice and continual review of concepts
  • Clear building upon and relationships between concepts
  • Explicit demonstration of how to apply concepts to word problems
  • Challenging, real-life word problems
  • Solutions manual provides worked out solutions for every problem
  • Solid preparation for ACT/SAT, sciences, college level math
  • Amusing names in many word problems:  Moe Delaune, Mary Thon, Fran Tick, etc.
  • Math Without Borders DVDs available



  • None


Here is an example from Foerster’s Chapter 6 on the Quadratic Formula:

In Foerster's Chapter 6 they teach the quadratic formula. That's

x = [-b +- sqrt(b2-4ac)]/2a

(not easy to type here)
Within this chapter, they teach the vertical motion formula: d = rt - 5t(squared)
They have a section with 12 problems. The TM says to take 2 days to do these problems, but only do 3 problems a day. Here is the first one:
Football problem - A football is kicked into the air with an initial upward velocity of 25 meters per second (m/sec).
a. Calculate it's height after 2 seconds; 3 seconds
b. When will it be 20 meters above the ground?
c. Copy the diagram. Show the answers to part (a) in relationship to the 20 meters of part b.
d. When will the ball hit the ground?


We used 1999 student and teacher text. The solution manual was from the publisher and it had no date on it.  It worked fine.


student 020132458X

teacher 0201324598

solution 0201861003


FWIW - I have a degree in math and ds is math-oriented.

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