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Learn Math Fast System Volumes 1-7 Review by Debra BrinkmanJ. K. Mergens
Learn Math Fast System
Math was something I always seemed to have understood. I don’t remember ever really struggling with it at all up through algebra, and even once I was no longer grasping it (calculus!), I was always able to actually do it well enough to get an A or a B. My kids, however, seem to have a harder time.
When I first read about the Learn Math Fast System in an email from The Old Schoolhouse®, I wondered if maybe this was what I needed. The entire system consists of seven non-consumable books and some manipulatives and charts for the two different geometry levels. I was skeptical though. I just couldn’t see enough on the website to figure out if the $289 would be an investment in my kids, or if it would be another math program to sit on my shelves.
One really neat aspect of the program though is that you can get the first two volumes for $55, and then add on Volumes 3-7 for $234. You don’t pay shipping in the US, so you can see if the books make sense for you with a fairly minimal cost, and still get the deal for the entire system once you realize the program does what it promises.
You could use the books as a consumable, but all of the worksheets and tests are available online with a code included in the book, so this can be a one-time purchase for your entire family. Considering that this really does seem to cover at least 2nd to 12th grade math, I think it is a bargain. This program does not start quite at the very beginning. Before beginning, a student should know the basics about numbers, such as being able to count up to 100, and knowing simple addition like 1+2=3.
There is a placement test that you can take to figure out where to start, but the Learn Math Fast folks suggest starting in Volume 1, and that is what we did. The first volume does have some suggestions for how to use the program. The suggestions vary depending on the age of the child. My students are in 6th to 12th grades, and for all of them, it boiled down to:
- Start with Volume 1, Lesson 1.
- Work through each and every lesson in order.
- Do as many lessons as you can each day, but be sure to do at least one.
- Take the tests, and if you don’t do well, go back through that chapter and do the worksheets.
I have been reading the lessons out loud, and we work through them all together. The plan was to keep going at the pace my senior needs in order to get through these before summer is over, and for everyone else to drop out and go at their own pace at whatever point that becomes necessary. We’re all in Volume V right now, and I am starting to consider whether the 6th grader may need to slow down soon.
Prior to this program, I had determined that my oldest was going to graduate with one math credit, Algebra I, hopefully with at least a C. At this point, he is on track to finish up with Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Best of all, he is truly understanding what he is doing.
Let’s talk about the books. The tone of the book is appealing to a variety of ages. We never feel patronized or talked down to, and we never feel overwhelmed.
- Volume I – this book covers basic operations with 49 lessons in four chapters. The chapters cover Addition and Subtraction; Multiplication and Division; and US Standard Measurements. This book includes timed tests to get those math facts down. This corresponds roughly to 1st-4th grade math. Lessons average five pages each, but the timed tests slowed us down some in here. Getting math facts quickly is not a strong suit for most dyslexic students. I adapted the time allotment for the timed tests, or we would still be in this book.
- Volume II – this book has chapters on Fractions; Percentages; and Positive and Negative Numbers, and is 23 lessons long. This corresponds roughly to 4th-5th grade math. Lessons are around five pages each, and this book went pretty quickly.
- Volume III – covers pre-algebra, with 25 lessons in three chapters. This is a more solid pre-algebra than I ever had, getting into linear equations by the end. Lessons average six pages each.
- Volume IV – this one covers elementary geometry and the metric system, with 21 lessons over five chapters. Lessons average five pages each, and go very quickly. We were able to finish the book in less than a week. Dyslexic students tend to easily grasp geometry though, so that may be part of why we found this level to be so easy.
- Volume V – Algebra I. There are 36 lessons in seven chapters. If you were doing this over an entire school year, that is just one lesson a week. If you are working with an older student, you can certainly cover it much faster than that. Lessons are only around five pages each, on average, so we anticipate covering at least two lessons per day, though we went much faster through the first two chapters on Algebra Lingo and Exponents and Terms with Exponents. The remaining chapters cover Laws of Algebra; Distributive Law of Multiplication; Factoring and Prime Factorization; Polynomials; and Quadratic Equations.
- Volume VI – Algebra II. This includes just 15 lessons in three chapters. I anticipate we will not be doubling up on lessons in a day once we get here, but from the lessons I have read, I do think we can continue to do a lesson a day at first, and maybe a lesson over two days partway through. Lessons average 10-11 pages each. Chapters include Building Equations; Probability, Inequalities, Solution, and Mixture Problems; and Two Variable Equations.
- Volume VII – High School Geometry. This has 30 lessons in five chapters, with lessons averaging about ten pages each. Chapters include Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygons, and Circles. And yes, this does include formal proofs. I am confident we will be able to move at a lesson per day here.
This has worked great in our household. My children are all understanding math and they are feeling more confident about math as well. My senior told me that this program has made it so that he has grasped concepts so far, and “it makes me think I’ll continue to be able to understand the math concepts that are still ahead.”
Nobody gripes at me about math now, and since I am reading it aloud and working through it with them, they can’t lie to me about whether or not they did their math today. I call that a win.
If you have students who struggle with math, I would highly recommend this program. Math shouldn’t have to take hours and hours each week, every year from first to twelfth grade. The Learn Math Fast System frees up time for my children to pursue what interests them, while still actually learning math.
-Product review by Debra Brinkman, Crew Administrator, The Old Schoolhouse® Homeschool Review Crew, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, April, 2018