Category Archives: math

A Look at the BJU Press Algebra 2

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Is there a great Algebra 2 Curriculum out there?

Algebra 2 isn’t a subject most people are excited about but it is a necessary evil;). I took a look at the BJU Press Algebra 2 curriculum that I am currently using with my 4th student. Let me start off by saying that we love this curriculum but it isn’t for the faint-hearted but you also don’t need to be an Algebra 2 whiz to teach it to your student!

How hard is it to teach this Algebra 2?

We are math nerds. I was a math tutor back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. But let’s be honest, I didn’t remember Algebra 2. I wasn’t even phenomenal when I took it. But have no fear. The Teacher’s Edition goes through all the concepts thoroughly and every single problem is done with all the steps. These are the most complete Teacher’s Editions I have ever seen! Seriously, includes all the steps and even logic. Have a student get stuck on a review problem? No fear, they tell you where the original concept was taught.

How we went through this curriculum was from the first problem to the last, with every problem getting done. But this isn’t how everyone needs to do it. The curriculum has different assignment options and of course, you can always just do what you want;). We have 3 students who are going to have to take multiple semesters of calculus so we wanted to make sure they have a firm foundation. It also means at least one of the kids took a year and a half to work through it.

This is an intense curriculum that really prepares your student to go on to take college-level Trig and Pre-Calculus without any problems. But you don’t have to make it as intense as we did. The curriculum is about $90 but for that, you get the textbook and 2 Teachers Editions. You can also purchase test answers (we don’t test), an e-text, and online instruction for an additional fee.

Do you have a fear of Algebra 2 or teaching it to your student? Let me know what I can do to help! Looking for a different curriculum? Leave me a comment. Looking for awesome videos on homeschooling? Check out Homeschool Hangout over on Youtube! Also, join our Facebook group for support and resources (Homeschool Hangout by NerdFamily).

10 Math Card Games

10 Math Card Games NerdFamily


It isn’t shocking that math skills are built by repetition. It is also well known facts that we remember having fun and if we are learning at the same time, we remember that too! In that spirit here are some fun math games to play with your kids! All you need is a standard deck of cards. You will have learning and quality time! Can’t beat that!

1) Multiplication Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the multiplication fact first wins the cards!

2) Guess my number: Basically 20 questions. Are you a factor of 10? Are you higher than 3?

3) Make the highest number: Deal out 4 cards. Who ever can make the highest total (using addition or multiplication) wins.

4) Go Fish Add Up/Subtract Down: This is great for preschool kids. If you have a four you could ask for a 5 or a 3. Teaches number order.

5) Largest pile: Come up with a total goal (say 20) then deal out cards evenly among the players and who ever can get to 20 with the largest amount of cards wins. You can chose addition and/or subtraction.

6) Addition Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the addition fact first wins the cards.

7) Factor Family: Deal out 5 cards and the first person who can make a factoring relationship with all 5 wins. Say you get a 2, 3, 5, 10 and 6. You could go obvious and say 1800 (all multiplied together) or go a bit smoother with 60. 10 time 6 is 60 and 5, 3, and 2 are factors. The lowest number wins because that is the best factoring relationship.

8) Skip Series Rummy: Like regular rummy but instead of runs (1,2,3) or groups of 3 you are looking for skip runs (2, 4, 6, or 1, 3, 5).

9) Sum 10 memory: Instead of looking for boring pairs you are looking for pairs that add up to 10.

10) Make up a math sentence: You are dealt a card. You must make up a math sentence that results in that number. Round 2 is to deal out 2 cards. 1 card is the answer to the math question and 1 is in it.

10daysbutton  This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 


Frugal Homeschooler: Fraction Help

Here in the NerdFamily we are having fraction issues. The NerdBug and NerdPie basically understand them but haven’t gotten used to using them so there is a constant reminder lesson going on. We are really having challenges in multiplying, dividing, and reducing. So I have decided we need some dedicated fraction time! And why pay for a book when you know there have to be some great resources out there? Here are some of the awesome things I found!

Home School Math has some great worksheets! They have free worksheets that will work on multiplying and dividing factions (and mixed numbers) along with another option that works on reducing! Just scroll part way down the page of worksheet options to find it!

One of my all time favorite sources for fact math sheets, The Math Worksheet Site, also has a generator for reducing fractions.

Dositey has a great Fraction Mystery Game. The kids match the numbers to the clues. Not only is it great fraction practice but problem solving and that will help with algebra in the future.

CoolMath4Kids has a section explaining how to work the fractions. And then at the bottom they have a couple great games!

Hopefully these resources will help your kids either learn fractions for the first time or help them just hone their skills! Remember that education doesn’t have to be expensive!

Reading and Learning While Little

Recently I have been part of a few discussions about how hard it is to find non-fiction books for young readers. I can say here in the NerdFamily house it has always been a challenge. With our oldest we struggle with a child who can read quite well for his age but at the same time the non-fiction books at that level contain such advanced data that it is hard for him to really comprehend the information. With NerdPie she wants to learn real information but is still really developing her reading ability. Then we have our 4 year old. He can’t read but he loves to be read to. I want to encourage him to understand what I am reading so I don’t want books that are to hard. With all of these kids it would be a shame to lose this sponge like time.

At my local library I have found a few different series that we have used. Typically what happens is that I find 1 in a series, like it, and then request every other book they put out. So in order to help others, in a way I wish someone would have helped me, here are a few series that I have found. I am not going to really talk about math because I have already posted a bit about some good options here and here.
Time for Kids Series (they have great history and science)

Our Galaxy and Beyond Series

Let’s Read and Find Out! Series

So there are just a few. What do you use with your early elementary school kids?


I have talked to a few of my friends about reading books about math with my kids in the preschool, kindergarten and the early elementary years. I really like Stuart J Murphy’sMathStart series. They have them coded by level so you can slowly work yourself into more difficult material. You can start just working with basic number concepts and then do groupong, money, probability or more! These books are great because they are colorful and entertaining. It is just a great book that happens to teach math! Is there anything more you could ask for a book than both reading and math?

Keeping Parents and Kids Happy!

ArcadeI recently received a copy of JumpStart 3D Virtual World 1st and 2nd grade to review. My kids and I love it! For those of you that aren’t familiar with JumpStart, it is educational software. It has always been fun but wasn’t as always something kids would choose over video games. With the incarnation of the 3D Virtual World they have found the secret to kids hearts.

The kids start out creating their own characters, or jumpees, by picking out forms and then they personalize them by choosing all the characteristics. My oldest is excited that he can be a robot and NerdPie got to pick all her girlie things;). Then they cruise through the world that the conquering and earning jewels by completing academic missions. These are are in all different areas from sentance formations, charts, logical thinking, patterns, and lots more. There is also an entire online world! But that is another review;).
Then comes the parts for parents. First off I can register up to 3 kids, I love that. JumpStart will track each one separately. Then JumpStart sends me a progress report. They tell me what areas the kids have worked on and if they have completed it or if it is in progress. It is great because I can see areas the kids have mastery in and the areas they might be struggling in.
The kids seem to love this and I like that they are learning during their computer time without just doing drills. This would make an awesome gift the kid in your life if they are very familiar with computers or even just learning because it is so intuitive. So run out and buy a copy! Then let me know what you think about it!

Math Tutor Review

I recently had the opportunity to review a couple of videos from The Math Tutor. I have to say that I am not a fan of these. I tutored math for years and I was looking forward to videos but they just didn’t hit the spot with me. The math seems solid but they are boring. If you have a student who has never dealt with the subject matter and you are looking for a teacher, they might do. But if you have a kid whose is already having an issue, these will bore the student and cause them to tune out. They have many dvds in various areas of math. I could totally be off but that is my opinion.

A plus, I may have been inspired to create my own videos!

Times Tales Review

We recently received Times Tales to help the NerdBug learn his times tables. This is a cute mnemonic based system that is full of illustrations to help kids memorize their upper times table. Everyone I have talked to loves it. Well, we aren’t those people. For us, this system is harder than just memorizing the facts themselves. Because we are focusing so much on teaching him the theory, by the time he understood the concept he memorized it. This would be perfect for the person who isn’t working on the concept but is just trying to memorize. I am just not sure what kind of recall speed you would have if you have to recall the picture and translate it to numbers. At $29.95 you really have to figure out if you have the kind of child who would benifit from this system.

Amusing Math Module

I recently got my hands on The Old Schoolhouse’s November module, Amusing Math. It correlates with their awesome planner (you may recall my review of that back in September) but you don’t need the planner for this 48 page module.

Basically this a lighthearted math unit that would work across quite a few grades. This has sections on math games, multiplication, math jokes, shapes and telling time. It not only has activities in the module but it also has links to other free and fun resources. I love that it even has different levels of copy work and word searches so you could make an entire unit from it.

With the holidays coming up, and the crazy schedules, it is a perfect time to take a little break from the normal routine and spend some fun time learning. Go check it out because at $7.95 it is a deal!