Tabitha has taken a break from her normal math curriculum to use Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School from Math Essentials. This is the same company that publishes Math Refresher for Adults, which I reviewed a couple of years ago, and some of my fellow Crew Mates have been currently reviewing. I had enjoyed the book I was using, and figured Tabitha could see what she thought about the book that was designed for her age group.
We received the 158-page, softcover book, plus we also have access to free online video lessons. The book is divided into eight topic sections, plus there is a final review section in the back, followed by the answer key. The book concludes with a Resource Center that contains a glossary, important symbols, and charts.
Here is a list of the chapter topics the book is divided into:
- Whole Numbers
- Charts and Graphs
- Word Problems
There is a section at the beginning of the book that explains the 8-step process in using the book. I took this to be more for classroom use, and have actually been allowing Tabitha to use the book independently.
Each page has the same format. The top of the page has Speed Drills and Review Exercises.
The idea of the speed drills is that I choose a number to put in the center of the circles and Tabitha gets to work on her math facts for both addition and multiplication.
I'll time her to see how fast she can get it done.
Next she will work on the review exercises if she feels she needs the practice.
The middle of the page gives helpful hints for that page's lesson. Most of the time it will also show a couple of examples. There are then 12 problems to work out, 2 of which are labeled "S" for sample, or so we assume. And then at the bottom of the page there is a Problem Solving word problem.
Each lesson has a corresponding video lesson on the Math Essentials website.
The lessons are taught by the author of the book, Richard W. Fisher, winner of the "Intel Innovations in Teaching Award." He will teach the lesson off-screen while the lesson appears on the "board."
Tabitha decided she wanted to start at the beginning of the book because she likes to work through things in order. I agreed with this decision because I wanted to make sure she was confident with all these essential skills that build upon each other. So she has been working through the Whole Numbers and Fractions sections of the book, most days working on one page, other times doing two or even on occasion three. The hints help her to make sure she is on track.
She's worked through Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division of whole numbers, plus such topics as Identifying Fractions, Expressing them in their simplest form, adding and subtracting them.
Tabitha has enjoyed working through this book and I am glad she is able to ensure she knows all these essential math skills. What sort of surprised me though, was when I learned that the lessons are the exact same lessons, down to each and every problem, as the corresponding lessons in the Math Refreshers for Adults book. I honestly thought the lessons were going to be at a different level as the one was supposed to be for adults. So, technically, she has been reviewing the same material I reviewed two years ago. Granted, the Mastering Essential Math Skill Book 2 book is half the size as it doesn't include the pre-algebra and algebra that is in the second half of the Adult Refresher book. And she does have Speed Drills where the adult book does not.
I'm not saying that makes it a bad book in any way. I'm just confused as to how one book is marketed for adults and the other for middle grades/high school. Plus, I would think a high school book should still have the pre-algebra and algebra section. I'm finding it difficult to determine what grades the book would be appropriate for.
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Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates have to say about the Math Essentials book they reviewed. We had our choice of this Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School, Math Refresher for Adults, and No-Nonsense Algebra.