Jul 232013

ALGEBRA! Perhaps the most feared subject by homeschooling moms in general.

Fear NOT, for behold–Here are algebra homeschool curriculum options with features to help your learning abled kid learn algebra.

These algebra homeschool curriculum are selected for their visual and/or hands-on methods for teaching high school students and are commonly used in homeschooling.  Some sites are provided for their “FUN” math enrichment, allowing students to explore, play, and enhance their understanding of algebraic concepts. Other sites are complete algebra courses for high school level homeschooling.

Brief Aside for Fearful Parents

Before we talk about algebra homeschool curriculum for your high school student, I wanted to talk to you briefly about your options. If you are apprehensive about teaching your child high school algebra because you don’t remember much from algebra or you doubt your own abilities, you might want to consider a refresher course for yourself. If you plan to teach your child directly, it could save you time to have a review first. For review, Parents Learn Algebra is designed specifically for parents. I have not personally used the Parents Learn Algebra program, so let me know if it is helpful for you or not. 😉 ALSO, the Practical Algebra, Self-Teaching Guide is a very well-liked option. 😉

Resources to Use as or in Addition to Your Algebra Homeschool Curriculum

Many of the algebra homeschool curriculum below include math teaching videos. Your high schooler may be able to learn the algebra more easily through the audio-visual teaching. Sometimes a student gets “stuck,” and the explanation being used doesn’t make sense, so some of the resources can be really helpful.

When my guys got stuck with their algebra homeschool curriculum and I wasn’t sure how to explain the concepts to them we used Purple Math’s and Khan Academy’s free teaching videos online.  It is fairly easy to locate videos that teach whatever math concept your child is having trouble understanding through one of these resources or via YouTube videos.  We sometimes used one or the other, and sometimes both!

High School Algebra Homeschool Curriculum Choices:

Algebra Homeschool Curriculum

Hands-on Equations is a great multi-sensory program that helps kids conceptualize and understand equations. Since equations are at the very heart of Algebra, Hands-On Equations is an excellent program to use as you transition from division and fractions into equations. While we have pre-calculus programs, one of the biggest math conception jumps actually occurs with the transition from simple computation into application and reasoning using equations. Therefore, I think of Hands-On Equations as a “pre-Algebra” program that will benefit any child who is struggling to make the transition from elementary-middle school math into high school math.

**Coolmath Algebra – hundreds of really easy to follow lessons and examples that can help your child be successful in learning algebra.

**Coolmath’s Graphing Calculator – this is a tool that can help make Algebra visual. It’s not really an algebra homeschool curriculum.

**Math-U-See – A great homeschool curriculum at the elementary levels, but somewhat less rigorous at the upper math levels. The explanatory DVDs and Videos are great. The texts are plain. The printing is all black and white, uncluttered, and very straightforward. This algebra homeschool curriculum may be the best of the lot for those wanting simple presentation where the child does not require visual graphics to understand the content. If you need in depth explanation or visual diagrams, you will likely find the program falls short of your needs.

Catchup Math – If your child is struggling with high school math, this math and algebra homeschool curriculum is a mastery-based program that will review basic concepts with your child as needed, and progress through mastery of high school-level math. “Catchup Math covers Grade 6 Math up through Geometry, Algebra 2 and College Developmental Math, drilling down to elementary school topics as needed.” This program is a good overall math program, but is especially good for kids who are struggling with Algebra. Because the program goes back and reviews basic concepts as needed, it can help fill in the learning gaps for your child as he works on Algebra. The main thing to be aware of is that the program includes both Algebra 1 and 2 as well as Geometry, so it isn’t “just” an Algebra program. Be sure to check out the free trial before buying to see if the program suits your child.

**A Beka Academy DVD Program – This algebra homeschool curriculum is provided at a college preparatory level and is my favorite of the Algebra I & II video-based programs. It has a lot of neat elements, like having the DVD instructor show the word “parenthesis” when she introduces parenthesis. This helps a 2e child see how the word is spelled, hear what it sounds like, and to see what parenthesis look like at the time of introduction. The book is colorful, with many visual drawings & diagrams to demonstrate concepts, and presented in a clear, concise manner. I did not, however, care for the Pre-Algebra (as of May 2005), as the text was black-and-white with few visual aids. While the program is pricey, I think it will be worth the money for any college-bound student needing to learn Algebra. The only downfall of Abeka’s teaching DVDs is using a real classroom setting.. Sometimes the showing of other students can be a distraction to the viewer. This is particularly true when a student in the video works a problem incorrectly. This can be confusing to a child who is watching the DVD even though the errors are corrected by the teacher. Therefore, you’ll want to consider how much of a problem this may be for your learning abled kid before selecting this algebra homeschool curriculum.

**Chalkdust Algebra – Larson, Roland, & Hostetler – Chalkdust videos and most texts provide excellent presentation of Algebra. The Pre-Algebra is, in my opinion, better than A Beka’s Pre-Algebra, and the Chalkdust Algebra is equal to A Beka’s. Chalkdust uses accredited Houghton-Mifflin textbooks and primarily provides the accompanying teaching videos. The videos feature an instructor who works through the samples step-by-step and the videos focus solely on the instructor and problem being solved. There are no “distractions” in the Chalkdust videos, but students using this algebra homeschool curriculum have complained of always seeing the back of the instructor’s head. The price of this program is also a hindrance to many parents, but it is well worth the money if you can manage it.
Chalkdust PreAlgebra Books- Aufmann, Barker, & Lockwood
Great Chalkdust Video Demos and Reviews
See the Algebra textbooks by Larson, Roland, & Hostetler 

**Addison-Wesley Algebra – Hornsby, Lial, & McGinnis – An excellent option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, this algebra homeschool curriculum is provided at a college preparatory level. Some of the college level texts have horrible reviews, but the Beginning Algebra and other High School level courses have excellent reviews. The teaching DVD set is available for less than fifty dollars. Even though the textbook itself is pricey, the low price of the DVDs make this an affordable option for those seeking a “traditional” text book with thorough explanations and teaching DVDs. You’ll pay about half as much for the text, solutions, and teaching DVDs for Lial’s mathematics than you will for Chalkdust or Abeka. In comparison, the DVDs are equal in quality, but the text is slightly less appealing, visually speaking. The print is small and there is a lot of text packed on each page. There are a reasonable number of visual diagrams and other visual elements.
Lial Introductory Algebra Video Sample
Or see Margaret Lial’s Algebra Books Listed

**Saxon Math and D.I.V.E. DVDs – Many children benefit from the detailed step-by-step algebra homeschool curriculum that Saxon offers. This math program builds upon itself with plenty of repetitive practice, cementing the concepts cognitively. The Algebra texts are plain. Little in the way of visual content is provided. While the program provides in-depth explanations and spiral teaching of concepts, the lack of visuals may be an issue for highly visual learners.
Buy through ChristianBook.com
Saxon Math on Amazon.com

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Uncle Dan’s Algebra – Dan sent me home-copied DVDs of his algebra homeschool curriculum to view, as well as a link to his downloadable workbook. If you are looking for a low-cost, complete, Algebra solution, “Uncle Dan’s Algebra” may suit your needs. The program costs a fraction of the price of many other programs with teaching videos and text. This program uses incremental steps that are well explained by Dan in the videos. His slow speech provides ample processing time for kids who process information slowly, particularly those with auditory processing issues. Instructions are specific on the videos, leaving no doubt about when to stop the tape to work problems. The (Workbook and Solution Key) texts are “print-it-yourself” documents on CD and are straightforward and uncluttered, providing practice problems, quizzes, and tests. Dan will send anyone a FREE copy of the Algebra Workbook file via email attachment. You get video lessons that are as good as any. It’s a good package for the money, but nothing fancy at all. “Uncle Dan’s Algebra” is definitely “Homespun”, not a commercially published program in that there is no fancy packaging or DVD labels, etc. Dan copies the DVD’s himself, labels them, and ships them, keeping the price low. It’s a one-man operation. Dan will answer your questions about his algebra homeschool curriculum by e-mail, making him one of the more reachable producers of such a package.

Switched On Schoolhouse Math – We switched to the S.O.S. Math programs after difficulty with careless errors in a large number of traditional text-based problems. S.O.S. provides immediate feedback by giving a “correct” or “try again” response to the student in the interactive problems. S.O.S. is a visual software program which provides the instant feedback that is often essential for children with learning disabilities. Additonally, the S.O.S. algebra homeschool curriculum provides visual and auditory reinforcement through teaching text, text-to-speech features, and teaching video clips. The S.O.S. programs are available for all grades up through Pre-Algebra (8th), Algebra I (9th), Algebra II (11th), Geometry(10th), and Pre-Calculus (12th) in High School.