We had the opportunity to review a physical copy of No-Nonsense Algebra by Math Essentials.

Algebra is a completely different math experience. It is not elementary math. It is not general math. It is even not pre-algebra. Fortunately, math is one of my favorite subjects. There are not too many people who will say that. For whatever reason, most people do not like math and that includes many parents.

The high school years brings higher level math. Many homeschool parents dread those years, because their children begin studying subject areas, which they (the parents) no longer have the tools (knowledge) required to teach. One of those areas is algebra. If you do not like math, there will definitely be no motivation to teach Algebra 1. It would be easy to outsource the class and hire a tutor, but they are expensive. So what can one do? Hmm. How about using a resource called No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials?

Math Essentials was created by mathematics instructor Rick Fisher who has dedicated his career to instructing fifth and sixth grade math students. Fisher created a math teaching system that when used by his students, enabled many of them to skip the seventh grade and move on to eighth grade level mathematics. We have used other Math Essentials books and like the math review they offer.

No-Nonsense Algebra is one of the curriculum books in the Mastering Math Skills series from Math Essentials. The 275-page, paperback book comes with access to free online video lessons taught by Fisher. Each lesson follows a similar format to the other Mastering Math Skills books with lessons that are concise, but thorough and are easy to follow.

River is very bright and is able to do complicated equations in his head. I think that is wonderful, but also think he should be able to show me those steps that run through his head – from the beginning to the end of an equation. Using No-Nonsense Algebra helped with that process.

River completed one lesson a day. I had him start with watching the video lesson and working the equations alongside Mr. Fisher. Using No-Nonsense Algebra with the videos is just like having a personal tutor without the expensive fee.

Although the lessons cover a number of algebraic areas . . .

The material is direct and to the point; no nonsense. The student is taught and will learn exactly what they need from an Algebra 1 study.

A lesson day for River looked like this:

- Watch the video for the lesson and work the problems along with Mr. Fisher.
- Read the lesson Introduction and Helpful Tips.
- Read through and write out the Examples.
- Work through (write out) the Exercises and the Review equations.

At the end of each chapter is a Chapter Review. The answers to all of the lessons and reviews are in the back of the book. That is where the student will also find other resources like a glossary of math terms, a list of formulas and more.

The No-Nonsense Algebra book is a complete/full Algebra 1 study, so your student could use the curriculum to satisfy that high school credit. Even though the book is not as thick as some other Algebra 1 books or have pages and pages of equations to solve like in others, the content is complete and will prepare a student for Algebra 2.

I like that Fisher does not skip any steps in his explanations. Detail (crossing out numbers and making checkmarks) make it easy for a student to follow along for a good understanding of the lesson. Fisher knows math and your child will too. If you are a parent who does not like math, Math Essentials will take care of the teaching for you.

One thing I like about the way Fisher teaches is his belief that math should be “written out”. Math is a thinking subject, just like literature and writing. Math is not “call and response”. There is a path that starts at a beginning and finishes at an end; in between the beginning and the end are the steps that one takes. Those steps should be shown and students need to know how to write them. If they did not know before how to write those steps, they will definitely learn after using No-Nonsense Algebra.

**Availabilty**

No-Nonsense Algebra is available for $28.95.

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