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Barron's Painless Pre-Algebra, Painless Algebra, and Painless Writing Review by Latonya Moore and Jacquelin Caffey

Barron’s Painless Algebra 4th Edition
Lynette Long, Ph.D.
Barron’s Painless Pre-Algebra 2nd Edition
Amy Stahl
Painless Writing - Learn how to write using fresh ideas and vivid images…the painless way!
Jeffery Strausser
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, New York 11788

Barron’s Painless Pre-Algebra and Painless Algebra are math resource books which fit well on any learning shelf.  Math isn’t necessarily my weakest subject, but I can admit that I don’t remember it all when it comes to a few formulas that I do not use often.  As a home educating parent, I find it important to arm myself with a variety of resources to ensure that the girls do not struggle because of something that I don’t know, and Barron’s Painless Pre-Algebra and Painless Algebra are some of the resources I am using as we progress through higher math.

Barron’s Painless Pre-Algebra Second Edition was written by Amy Stahl.  The 351 page book is broken down into ten chapters.  The chapters are separated into specific concepts which make it easier to find exactly the type of problem you are looking for.  Concepts discussed in the Painless Pre-Algebra are: Exponents, Solving Equations, Linear Equations, Systems of Equations, Introduction to Functions, Triangles and Angles, Transformations, Real Number System, Geometry, and Introduction to Bivariate Statistics.  Each chapter is set up in a similar format with several subtopics.  Within each subtopic, you will find detailed steps for understanding the subject followed by math talk which takes the information in puts it in simpler terms. Not only is the information explained, but there are examples to go with each new bit of information introduced.  At the end of each subtopic, there are questions related to the subject which are called Brain Ticklers.  The answers for all of the Brain Ticklers for the chapter are shared at the end of the chapter.

Barron’s Painless Algebra Fourth Edition was written by Lynette Long, Ph.D. The 359 page book has a setup similar to the Pre-Algebra book, but it also includes a section titled Major Mistake Territory.  This section causes the mathematician to stop and think about possibilities which may not have been at the forefront of the mind.  It also serves as a reminder of previous learned knowledge which is similar to the Math Buster section of Painless Pre-Algebra book.  Painless Algebra has ten chapter which are:  A Painless Beginning this section is a review, The Integers, Solving Equations with One Variable, Solving Inequalities, Graphing Linear Equations and Inequalities, Solving Systems of Equations and Inequalities, Exponents, Roots and Radicals, Quadratic Equations, and Advance Topics. 

Barron’s Painless Algebra and Painless Pre-Algebra are not stand alone math curriculum, but instead they are resources to help anyone who may be struggling with specific areas of math.  They can be used by the student alone or by a parent who desires to be able to better explain concepts to the child. They can also be used to review previously learned information to make sure that the student has a solid footing.  I like that each section has many questions versus only 2 or 3.  I also appreciate that the examples in each book work problems out step by step so that the reader isn’t guessing about what is being done.

-Product review by Latonya Moore, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016

Painless Writing - Learn how to write using fresh ideas and vivid images…the painless way!

Jeffery Strausser

If putting pen to paper strikes fear into your student, then this book is for you. Painless Writing – Learn how to write using fresh ideas and vivid images…the painless way! is a softcover paperback book with 300 pages filled with ways to help you start writing to your fullest potential. Learning to write well is likened to playing a sport or musical instrument. All of these three things require you to master specific techniques. This books guides you through the process and the techniques to become a writer in a clear and concise way.

Retailing for just $9.99 your middle to high school level student will soon find themselves constructing sentences that flow together into themes that are fun to write and to read. Within the nine painless techniques taught you will find straightforward examples and practice opportunities to strengthen your writing skills. Sprinkled throughout the book are fun “Brain Ticklers” that challenge you as a writer. There are also bonus games found online to help improve your writing skills while giving you a little laugh.

Working through this book with my reluctant writer who is a new teenager was a welcomed addition to her writing experience. Using the prompts in the book were met with an excitement instead of dread. The chapter exercises were short enough, yet thorough, that it did not seem like such a chore for her to get her writing work done. This was a welcomed attitude change for me after her struggling for so long.

If you have a struggling or reluctant writer definitely check out this book. It may be small, but it packs a mighty punch in helping to tackle middle and high school writing. It also aligns and supports state standards if that is important to you. Bottom line it helps your student write and write well.

—Product review by Jacquelin Caffey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016