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Math for Puzzled Parents, Book 1 Review by Becky Voytek and Courtney Larson

Nancy Teas-Crain and Linda Thompson
Wheatmark and Puzzled Parents Press
610 East Delano Street Suite 104
Tucson, AZ 85705
450 Summerhill Court
Alpine, CA 91901
888-934-0888 ext. 3

Math for Puzzled Parents, Book 1, reteaches math skills that a parent would need in order to help kids with their homework. It presents many of the common arithmetic concepts taught in primary and middle school, such as sets, numbers, fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions, percents, and problem-solving skills. These concepts are taught in self-contained lessons called modules.

In each module, the authors point out why the topic is important, present definitions, and give examples. The examples are worked out in a step-by-step format along with tips, hints, and referrals to other modules to provide additional help to the parents.

After the explanations, there are a few problems to either test the parents' understanding or to assist them in working on that particular concept with their child. Complete solutions are provided. Finally, each module contains a short and fun activity for parents to do with their child to practice the concepts of the module.

This book was written for parents who are not the primary math teacher of their child. However, as the math teacher for my boys who are ages eleven and twelve, I have been able to modify this book for my teaching, and I have found it very helpful. The introductory module, "Getting Started: A Look at Sets and Numbers," includes information that is not in our current math curriculum. But it was not completely new to me. My memory was awakened to concepts I had not learned long ago in school. Even though the material was not in our curriculum, we went through the module because the concepts seemed important to teach. In regards to the other modules, we have been working through various ones based on the subject areas we are currently studying or will be studying soon. That is what's nice about this book. A parent does not need to read the book from cover to cover or go in a particular order through the modules. It's flexible for your family's needs.

So far, both my children and I have enjoyed supplementing our math lessons with this handy book. Each module is short and to the point. The examples are clear, and the problems include both abstract and practical word problems. My kids also like it because each problem set usually has only five to ten problems.

I really don't have anything negative to say about this book. The listed price of $14.95 seems reasonable for all the information you get. I would highly recommend this book to help you brush up on your math skills and to help reinforce the math skills your children are learning.

A Spanish translation will soon be available, and Volume 2 is in the works. Topics in Volume 2 will include measurement, integers, probability, statistics and graphing, and an introduction to algebra and geometry. I'm looking forward to seeing that volume.

Product review by Becky Voytek, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007

Another review:

Has your child ever approached you, math book in hand, with a question? And when you look at the problem, you panic slightly as you realize you cannot remember how to solve it? If so, Math for Puzzled Parents is for you. This book is written for puzzled parents, and it explains sets, numbers, fractions, decimals, ratio, proportion, percents, and problem-solving skills.

This book is very user friendly. It is broken down into modules (or lessons) that begin with an explanation of why the topic is important, and it defines any unfamiliar terms. Each module then presents worked examples, complete with step-by-step instructions (in gray boxes in the margin so that the steps are easily referenced). Following the example problems are practice problems for the parent to work (with answers included as well), and then an activity to do with your child to round out the module. Topics are explained thoroughly, but the explanations are short and to the point, and most importantly, they are clear. Sprinkled throughout the text (also in gray boxes) are "Hot Tips," which are little bits of important information; and references to other modules contain prerequisite skills. There is a table of contents and a very thorough index, so it is very easy to find the skill you're looking for.

I think Math for Puzzled Parents is a wonderful book. My 5th and 4th grade sons complete math mostly on their own, only asking me for help if they get stuck. Like many homeschool parents, I'm short on time, and I'm often teaching one of my younger three sons when the older boys approach me for help. I've also forgotten a lot of math from my school days. It's been so helpful to be able to pull Math for Puzzled Parents off the shelf and quickly review a concept and explain it to my sons. I no longer panic when my sons approach me with math book in hand. I highly recommend this resource for any parent who is not a math whiz.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2010