Our Experience with Teaching Textbooks

A dear reader, Tracy, asked a question about how we use Teaching Textbooks in our homeschool.

Our Experience with Teaching Textbooks www.hodgepodge.me

Question about Teaching Textbooks:

I remember reading that you use Teaching Textbooks (TT) for at least some of your children. I currently have two using A Beka Math (finishing up 2nd grade and kindergarten), plus I have a toddler. I’m REALLY wanting to find some independent learning to help me out. But I’m a little nervous about TT since many of the reviews state that it is easy, below grade level, and doesn’t test well. We are required to test with a state-approved proctor at certain grade levels. And while the test isn’t everything, I do want my kids to be prepared. What has your experience been with this curriculum? And would you recommend it? ~ Tracy

Saxon Math manipulatives

My answer:

Hi Tracy, I understand the need to be in many places at once as a homeschool mom. Especially when it comes to math!

To answer your TT question, first a little background:

For the 2013-2014 year with our five children we are currently using Saxon Math for kindergarten and 2nd grade as well as Teaching Textbooks Math 6, Algebra I and Geometry.

  • We use Saxon Math through 3rd grade then switch to TT. Saxon has offered that basic grounding in the mathematical operations and learning multiplication. (We are considering using 3rd grade for our 4th child next year though!)
  • We used Saxon Math through 6th grade with my older two then switched to Teaching Textbooks with them.
  • The earliest we have used TT is 4th grade – with my third child.
  • I don’t have any experience with A Beka math though I have heard it is very thorough.

Homeschool Math for Multiple Ages at Hodgepodge

I shared some thoughts on all the resources we use for math for our multiple ages plus our basic math schedule (just this time last year) here: Homeschool Math with Multiple Ages

I have heard about the criticisms about TT. However, my older two struggled with math in middle school until we found TT. It was truly an answer to a prayer! Plus, at the time my older two started using TT, I was helping my younger ones with Saxon Math. So it helped me to be able to oversee them while I was teaching the younger ones.

I am not concerned about the criticisms because TT has offered success to us. We excel in fine arts, language arts and sciences. Math is our ‘challenge’ area. Basically, if they have a B average in math I am happy. We are getting it done. And since I have high schoolers – I have the end in mind. Picturing what the goal is for them as adults. Tailoring their learning towards their interests.

Brother as math tutor www.hodgepodge.me

However, I don’t want to steer you wrong if you are concerned about testing with a state-approved proctor. We are required to test at 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th grade and keep the results on file. So I do not have the performance pressure that you do.

Have you tried the sample lessons on the Teaching Textbooks site?

More on Teaching Textbooks and Homeschool Math

Getting Math Done with Morning Room Time

May I also offer some time management help? No matter what curriculum you use, this helpful habit saved our days while we had small ones – and older ones needing to work on math.

How Morning Room Time Builds Important Skills for Later

Here’s a question I’ve heard a few times lately as well: How can I get math done with my older ones with my toddlers roaming about? We sit down to do our math lesson and my little ones crawl on the table!

Morning room time made it possible for me to have time to teach older children – especially math – through five babies and a dozen years of homeschooling so far. It’s a tried and true habit. Each of our children knew when morning room time was. And when the CD ended, they knew it was time to clean up. There were times we had two in morning room time. It’s a habit to stick with for babies to about five years of age.  All the very best of I Can’t Homeschool Because of the Little Ones (and the morning room time habit)

I hope Tracy’s question and our discussion will help other homeschoolers. What curriculum choices are you facing?


  1. 1

    Christa says

    My son just started using TT 7, 2 weeks ago, and he is enjoying it. I know he is getting a complete math lesson, completing the problems and the problems are graded for me. Each set of problems ask questions regarding past and present lessons, which is great for my son who has an issue retaining. He is doing great so far!

    • 2


      That is awesome Christa! And I agree – it’s that same spiraling approach that Saxon Math uses. A bit of review. And introduction of new concepts along with plenty of practice. A full lecture! I vividly remember when my son started Math 6 Teaching Textbooks – he stood up and skipped across the room he was so happy! Skipping with math? Now that was an answer to a prayer! (He is an auditory learner so it also fits his learning style.) Plus they love the little buddy characters that cheer them along too.

  2. 3


    We are loving TT, too. It changed my struggling with math child to a math successful child, so I am hooked, too. Wish I had switched to it earlier. I like other math programs for Elementary school age, and start with TT at Pre-Algebra stage. It was very interesting hearing your thoughts and experiences with TT.
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  3. 4


    As a former Abeka user, I can say without a doubt our switch to TT has been a good one. My oldest did Abeka math through 4th grade and we made the switch for 5th grade. The biggest difference I have noticed is the lack of busy work. This has been very freeing for my hard-to-focus child. TT reviews, presents the lesson, then practices each concept; any more would be too much for him to stay interested and any less would not be enough. I always said that I would assign some extra (busy work) in the case of him not getting something, but there has not been a need. It was always a struggle to get him to sit down for math, not anymore! I do not have to present the lesson to him with TT and now I can focus on my younger 2 during that time. I hope this helps anyone that is considering the switch from Abeka to TT.
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