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Everything You Need to Ace Math Review by Amber Smith

Workman Publishing
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014-4381

This year we added Everything You Need to Ace MATH, Big Fat Book from Workman Publishing, to our reference library. It has been a true help in my time of need; we are switching up to middle school math. Last year, I spent quite a bit of time searching the internet for things like how to find the area of a triangle. It had been quite some time since we covered that and we both couldn’t remember exactly how it was done. I am sure you have had a similar experience with math stumpers.

When my child doesn’t know how to spell a word, I have them look it up in the dictionary. If they don’t know a certain rule for a writing assignment, we check our writers reference guide, so it would be natural to have a reference book for all things mathematical. We want our middle schoolers to work independently and solve as many of their own questions as possible. The Big Fat Notebook for MATH makes it easy for our student to do that.

Easy to Search and Just as Easy to Use
The Big Fat Notebook (BFN) is broken into six chapters. Each chapter heading is broken down by subject covered, so there no guessing where a mathematical concept might be hiding. Every concept that is covered is listed line by line in the contents page making this very searchable by your student.

The Six Units covered are:

The Number System
Ratios, Proportions, and Percents
Expressions and Equations
Statistics and Probability
The Coordinate Plane and Functions

The Perfect Review Resource
Most of the math concepts are covered in a one page spread, so all of the information is on the page in front of your student. If the concept can be illustrated, it is. There is even a handy color-coded reference key for concepts that are highlighted. Vocabulary words are in yellow, definitions are in green and blue is for important people, places, dates, and terms. I love that the publisher has granted permission to reproduce the pages for you students. This means that you have maximum flexibility in how you use this book.

We used it as a summer review. I copied a “concept of the day” on our giant white board and left it up for a few days. You could use the check your knowledge pages to give an informal quiz with fun prize or leave a question of the day on the white board for review. The answers are also provided for you on the following page so neither you or your student will be left guessing.

Now, I want to collect all of the BFN series for our homeschool reference library. Workman has published Big Fat Notebooks for World History, Science, American History and English. These are a solid tool for every middle school student and interesting enough to guarantee that they will open it, even when they don’t have a question. I wouldn’t expect anything less Workman, the publisher who brought us the Brain Quest learning decks you probably have in your car or schoolroom right now. They have created yet another great tool to back up their motto, reinforcing, “It’s fun to be smart.”

-Product review by Amber Smith, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2018