Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teaching Textbooks: How do They Measure Up?

I have heard so much about Teaching Textbooks for Math that I finally decided to put my daughter in this curriculum in the hopes that it would save me some time. Teaching Textbooks is a math program that comes with Cd's for each grade. As of now they only have the Cd's and books for 4th grade and above.

The student listens to a lecture, does the practice problems and then proceeds to the rest of the problems. A huge workbook comes with the Cd's. The problems to be worked are in the workbook and on the Cd. The student has the choice of doing it all online or using the workbook. This is handy because the child isn't always by a computer. If you are going to be gone the student can listen to the lecture and then do the lesson later.

The program also has a button that the child can "rewind" and listen to the lecture as often as the like. They then watch the problems being worked out as a voice walks them through each step. After viewing the method they then do the problems that follow.

There is a gradebook online that the parent can check to see all the problems the child has done. It shows how many times he tried the problem and which ones were wrong. It also shows if he viewed the solution to the problem. Ideally if the student misses a problem he will watch a demonstration of the problem being worked out step by step. The parent can check quizzes and quiz grades too. Every problem in the workbook is repeated on the Cd so the child could possibly view the solution to them all if he were so inclined. Now keep in mind TT doesn't just tell them the answer. It works it out step by step explaining the entire process.

I love the concept behind this program. However, there is one thing I don't like. Teaching Textbooks is behind most faith based Math such as Horizons, Bob Jones, Abeka, etc. Because of this I am using the Cd's as practice in trouble areas. For example, Tink, who has a processing disorder, is having a difficult time with long division. She has been at it now for 2 months. Some days she seems to grasp the concept and other days she just has no idea how to get the answer. So now I have her listening to the Cd's and working through a lesson a day in the long division chapters of Teaching Textbooks. I started her at Lesson 64. When used in this way I love the books.

I would not advise anyone who has been using faith based Math to go to Teaching Textbooks as their sole Math program. When I discovered how slow the Teaching Textbooks were I decided to continue in Bob Jones. I use Bob Jones for my main curriculum. I use it as my compass to show me where my daughter should be. If she hits a snag we stop and do those chapters in Teaching Textbooks. To show you just where Teaching Textbooks line up with Bob Jones I will do a chapter by chapter comparison. I will use BJ for Bob Jones and TT for Teaching Textbooks in this review of the curriculum.

This is a review of Bob Jones Grade 4 with Teaching Textbooks Grade 5. Note the grade differences then note that in BJ 4 they are covering the subject matter of TT 5. I will go through the Table of Contents in the Teaching Textbooks beginning at Lesson 1 of fifth grade.

Number Patterns - BJ doesnt cover this because they did it in Grade 3
The Way Numbers Work- again too elementary for BJ 4
Numbers and Words- BJ (same as above)
Millions - BJ (same as above)
Greater than Less Than- BJ reviews this but it was taught in Grade 3
Addition Basics up to 4 digit numbers- BJ
Subtraction Basics - BJ
Surveys and Tally Marks- BJ
Rounding and Estimating with 2 and 3 digit Numbers- BJ
Addition with Carrying and adding more than 2 - BJ
Adding and Subtracting with 3 digit numbers - BJ
Roman Numerals- Bob Jones
2 step word problems- BJ
Multiplying 3 digit numbers with carrying- BJ
Rounding and Estimating- BJ
Geometry- lines, segments angles, polygons, perimeter, area, - BJ
Fractions - equivalent, reducing, comparing, adding and subtracting with different denominators -BJ
Decimals in fractions, words, dollars, adding and subtracting, regrouping twice, regrouping with zeros and comparing decimals - Bj
Percentages - BJ
Metric Measurements- BJ
Dividing a Decimal by a Whole Number - BJ

You can see here that everything covered in 5th grade TT is covered in 4th grade BJ.

On the other hand Bob Jones has added Statistics, Graphing, and pre algebra to their 4th grade program.

This is not a matter of Grade 5 TT teaching the same things as BJ 4th grade but using more complex problems. No, not at all. Most, if not all, of TT 5's problems are simpler than BJ 4!

To sum it up, again I say Teaching Textbooks is a wonderful program if used as a Math Lab for the student. However, if you have had your child in faith based curriculum you must get Teaching Textbooks a grade higher than where your child is in the faith based books.

My hope is that this will clear up some of the confusion about TT that I am seeing on homeschooling sites. I hope you have found this review helpful. I will gladly answer any questions you have on this..that is.. if I know the answer!


  1. Thanks for this review! I am using Singapore Math presently and think Teaching Textbooks will be a lot of fun to have onhand. I was considering switching over in the sixth grade, but your review makes me want to consider purchasing a sixth grade program in the middle of fifth grade. :]

  2. how does this compare with saxon?

  3. It's about the same. Saxon too is a slow moving Math curriculum.

  4. Saxon is a high paced, aggressive curriculum which matches in intensity with Abeka. Their grade levels are actually one to one and a half years above the average paced curriculum. My daughter is in Saxon 5/4 (she is in 4th grade) and my other daughter did that curric. level last year. This year we moved her to TT 6 and NO NEW CONCEPTS have been introduced from Saxon 5/4. Saxon may appear to be slow paced but that is only b/c they introduce small pieces in each lesson while cycling in review.

  5. Thank you for the review-it solidified my own thinking after looking at TT's online samples. My DS has been using abeka for 2nd math and was flying through the samples at the 4th and even 5th grade levels on TT.
    If we use them at all I think it will only be supplemental.


Thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion here. Your ideas and thoughts are always welcome!

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