“Math success in just 20 minutes a day” is the philosophy behind Math Essentials. I appreciate that idea since math isn’t our favorite subject. Richard W. Fisher, the man behind Math Essentials, believes that in order to obtain success in math, it must be practiced just as an athlete trains or a musician practices for a performance. Without mastering the basics, like memorizing facts, math will continue to be a struggle for students with each passing year. I agree!
We received Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1 (Grades 4/5) and Mastering Essential Math Skills: Problem Solving to review. These are the bare bones type of workbooks that focus on the task at hand — nailing down the facts and operations necessary to advance in math. They don’t include cutesy characters or colorful drawings, but they accomplish the task they are intended for very well: math practice.
I like the progression of the lessons, the no-nonsense practice, and lack of distractions. It’s very easy to work on the assignments with a clear goal in mind. Big Sis knows that she can work on this for 20 minutes and it won’t be “painful” to complete her math for the day.
Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1 comes with America’s Math Teacher DVD. Topics covered include:
- whole numbers
- graphs and more.
These are topics that I didn’t particularly enjoy when I had to learn them, so I want to make it as simple as possible for Big Sis. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want her to inherit my math phobia. So far, so good. She was not intimidated by this workbook and was able to improve her basic skills. I’m proud of the progress she has made and how quickly she was able to pick up some concepts as they were presented here. It has been a great math resource for us!
The book is set up in a logical order with similar sections for each concept. The sections include Speed Drill wheels for addition and multiplication, review exercises, helpful hints (reminders of the steps to take in solving a type of problem), and then the new concept introductory exercises. I agree with the idea that if a skill isn’t used routinely, like in the review exercises, it will be forgotten. This layout helps keep those skills sharp and building upon each other. As mentioned in the DVD, it’s important to have this foundation for higher math like Algebra when the time comes.
The Problem Solving workbook offers more practice on the fundamentals covered in Book 1 in the form of word problems. More practice means more proficiency. These skills will help her throughout her educational career, so I want them to be solid for her now. Mr. Fisher mentions in the DVD that this type of problem solving is important because “what good does it do to have math skills if you can’t apply them to real life?” The Problem Solving book provides more real life application problems.
I recommend Mastering Essential Math Skills to anyone who wants affordable, easy-to-follow math practice for their children.
Check out more homeschool math ideas from the iHomeschool Network: