What should you know about Teaching Textbooks 3.0 before you buy an online math learning program?
Every child learns differently and math can be one of the hardest subjects to find that perfect curriculum match. To help you find out if this math curriculum will work for your family’s homeschool math program, here are a few things about Teaching Textbooks 3.0 I wish I’d known from the beginning.
What I Wish I’d Known About Teaching Textbooks
While I did receive compensation for my time writing a review for Teaching Textbooks 3.0, I have had this post in mind to write for quite awhile and my thoughts and opinions are honest and entirely my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
If you’ve shopped around even a little bit for homeschool math curriculum you’ve probably heard about Teaching Textbooks. The big allure of this program is right there in its name. It makes you imagine a curriculum that gets you off the hook from teaching math yourself. Whether you’re not confident teaching math to your kids or you just have so many kids you can’t fathom preparing daily math lessons for each of them ?♀️, Teaching Textbooks certainly sounds like an appealing choice.
I’ve had Teaching Textbooks on my radar for years, mentally earmarking it as what I’d turn to when my kids graduated multiplication tables and needed more in depth teaching. While I personally don’t feel inept at teaching math, I do have some anxiety over how to present the more advanced concepts. After finally taking some time at a homeschool conference to sit down and do some clicking around, I was ready to try it out sooner than I’d planned. My 9 year old daughter took on Math 5 this last year and we gave it quite the go.
There are so many great reviews that discuss the overall benefits of Teaching Textbooks 3.0. Instead of following suit, I’d like to share some of the things we learned along the way that would have been helpful to know from the start.
After our year long experience, here are a few things I wish I’d known about Teaching Textbooks 3.0:
? While you may find great bargains on the older physical books and CDs, the online 3.0 version is far superior.
As I mentioned before, Teaching Textbooks has been on my radar for years. So when a friend was selling her hard copies of the Algebra level, I shelled out some good cash to stock my curriculum shelf for the future. This was long before I had ever laid eyes on the online version. Now, I’m regretting that decision. The online version is just so much more fun. Kids can choose from a bunch of different math buddies that give them encouragement as they try problems. They can even customize their backgrounds.
My nerdy self wants to also point out that one of the most effective features of Teaching Textbooks 3.0 is that during the teachings, there are prompts for the student to answer. So instead of the traditional method of watch-this-video-then-answer-questions, there is the interactive element that keeps kids from tuning out and missing what was taught.
Bravo Teaching Textbooks. Bravo.
The other advantage of the online version is that you’ll benefit from all the updates that Teaching Textbooks makes. When we first started we were set back a bit that the program didn’t remember where the student left off during the last use so my daughter would have to scroll through the lessons each time. After a couple months that feature magically appeared. I heart programmers who update software based on user feedback. (<– another nerd alert!)
? You might need to level up.
You can use placement tests and free trials to make sure your child is in the best level for them.
We ended up using Math 5 for 4th grade after doing a couple of placement tests and trying out a couple levels. You can get a free trial of every single level, so take your time to make sure you have placed your child correctly. This is another wonderful benefit to Teaching Textbook 3.0’s generous trials – they’re good for 15 whole lessons and have no time limit. This means you can really be sure of the correct level before committing to your purchase.
To try out a few placement tests, click here: http://teachingtextbooks.com/v/vspfiles/tt/Placement.htm
You can sign up for a free trial without entering a credit card and for any or all the levels you think might be good for your kid(s).
To get a free trial, click here: https://www.teachingtextbooks.com/v/vspfiles/tt/free_trial.html
If you have any questions about the trials, check out their trial FAQs here: https://www.teachingtextbooks.com/v/vspfiles/tt/free_trial_faq.html
? You can print the instruction book, lesson work, and quizzes even on 3.0
While my daughter loved Teaching Textbooks for the first 3/4s of the year, she suddenly decided she wanted a printed math book. After trying to push her to keep going with the online version I finally conceded and printed out the rest of the curriculum and bound her a workbook. To be completely honest, I was super bummed she didn’t keep going with the online lessons. However, what a relief it was to be able to finish out the year without having to scrap the curriculum we’d paid for.
We also loved the option to print out quizzes when we wanted to. Sometimes working on the computer just isn’t the same as good old fashioned paper and pencil. I just love that with Teaching Textbooks 3.0 you can do whatever works best for your family – even if your kids keep changing their minds!
? If your kid’s world crumbles around them when they miss an answer, you can reset their questions so they can try again.
Probably the biggest tip I could have used when we first started, my daughter and I learned this the hard way. While you can adjust your child’s setting to allow multiple tries for answering questions, kids only get one shot for multiple choice answers. For my daughter anything less than 100% on a lesson was devastating. Luckily, you can log in as the parent and delete answers that your child missed to allow them to try again.
This tip may not apply to you if your kids don’t mind missing answers. But if you’ve got a budding perfectionist you’ll be thankful you read this before starting Teaching Textbooks!
? Extend the time you have for your child to finish their level by using a free trial + pause feature.
When you purchase Teaching Textbooks 3.0 you will have access to the subscription for 1 year. If you want more flexibility or think your child might not finish in time, simply try the free trial first. That will get you through the first 15 lessons without any time limit. Then, once you know Teaching Textbooks 3.0 works for your family and you’ve got the right level, purchase the rest of that level and get an entire year to finish it after that. You also have the option to pause your subscription, so you don’t have to panic if you need some time off for vacations and such.
? Teaching Textbooks 3.0 works on mobile devices, you just need to use a special browser.
Teaching Textbooks 3.0 uses Adobe Flash which is not supported by the traditional browsers pre-loaded on mobile devices. Luckily, there’s a browser called Puffin that uses Adobe Flash in the cloud, thereby allowing you to use Teaching Textbooks 3.0 on any mobile device.
For more info on using Teaching Textbooks 3.0 on mobile devices, click here.
A note about how to use Teaching Textbooks 3.0 on an Amazon Fire tablet:
Initially I wanted my kids to be able to do their math work on a tablet while we were out and about. Not wanting to drop hundreds on a tablet just for my kids I opted for a black friday deal on a Kindle Fire. Since I couldn’t find any mention of using Teaching Textbooks 3.0 on Amazon Fire tablets, I wanted to post something myself on how we got it to work.
As of last Christmas, the Puffin browser was not available in the Amazon App Store. This meant I had to side load Google Play in order to install it. It was a bit more work, but eventually we were able to load Puffin, get to Teaching Textbooks 3.0, and my daughter used it just fine. Switch to Theater mode for the best experience. Personally, I don’t know how she dealt with the small screen, but hey – kids these days! She loved it. Go figure.
If you want to use Teaching Textbooks 3.0 on a mobile device, I suggest signing up for a trial and trying it out. You may find yourself wanting to upgrade to a larger screen or faster device.
So what do I really think about Teaching Textbooks 3.0??
It really does end up being true that certain curriculum works better for different types of kids – and at different ages. But considering their generous free trials, flexibility with online & print, and modest price point, Teaching Textbooks 3.0 packs a promising chance to be a great option for your family. And speaking of price, they also offer a large family discount plan so that families with multiple children can keep their costs down. So if you’ve made it this far reading my review, hop on over to their free trial page and set up a trial for any level you like.
I LOVED Teaching Textbooks in high school (I was homeschooled). Saxon was always so difficult to slog through, whereas I just flew through TT in record time. I like the idea that you can access the curriculum online, but I’d much rather buy something 1 time and let both my daughters use it at their own pace. I think I’ll be searching out a hard copy when my 4-year-old is ready for this.
Adobe will suspend all support for Flash in 2020. Already it is almost impossible to use in Google Chrome, and even Firefox (an Adobe friendly browser) barely supports it. I wish I had know THAT before I spent my money on Teaching Textbooks.
But don’t panic, their customer service is awesome! Heres what they said about the flash situation from their website faq:
“What Happens When Support for Adobe Flash Ends?
Our developers have been hard at work on the 4.0 version of Teaching Textbooks that will no longer require Flash. An official announcement regarding the release of the 4.0 is expected in the coming months. The 4.0 will run on any Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device and it will have ALL the features you love about our 3.0 plus some cool new ones. Most importantly, you can buy the 3.0 now without any worries about upgrading to the 4.0 when it is ready. Teaching Textbooks will upgrade any 3.0 user for free (upon request) once the 4.0 version has been released”
TT is working on a 4.0 which will be available at no extra cost to 3.0 subscribers when Adobe phases out. But i just purchased 3.0 and was able to load on a Chromebook after adjusting my settings.
I would love to hear feedback on the actual math content. Is this a budding engineer worthy curriculum?
I agree that it’s a little behind in the elementary years, but catches up by Algebra 1. It begins to move more quickly and covers more concepts. We love this program, both for our math whiz and our kiddo who isn’t as math savvy. The only down side is that the highest level currently is precalculus, so if you are homeschooling through 12th grade and your student is very adept in math, you may run out of math curriculum before senior year. This would have happened to us except that my daughter is enrolling in a dual credit program at the local college starting next year (11th grade) so if she wants more math, the college will have it. However, I haven’t done a ton of curriculum research, so I’m not sure if there even are programs that go much higher than that.
Beth, from what I have read and see myself it is ‘behind’ in elementary years and catches up in 7th grade. This has more variety than the program we were using so we are whooshing through some catch-up. For example, my son who can do multiple digit division had never seen fractions and not spent enough time on geometry.
In short, it depends. I used the free trial to look at the program’s scope and sequence to decide on a level. Both my son’s are engineer types and love it. I have heard Saxon is more exhaustive but too much for some kids; I am not sure if that means in terms of volume or challenge. I am hoping this program will achieve understanding without the busy work. I plan to complete through Math 5 with my fourth grader & at least part of Math 7 with my sixth grader.
Has anyone found a way to print a work sample from the 4.0 online version? We need to do that for our school and the teacher says it’s not possible. Really?
When I needed a work sample for our school, I printed a quiz and had my child do that on paper. Then I had a paper sample I could turn in. Hope that helps! 🙂
I have been using the discs for Teaching Textbooks up until this year. I even have the old Teaching Textbooks discs for grade 3 to grade 7. Both kids are now in grade 9 and 10, so no more kids will be using the old discs. Do you guys think that the discs will soon be obsolete and no longer supported by Windows? Should I just sell them.
I have a similar situation! I bought the Algebra course from a friend for good money years ago. Not sure if theres still a market for the discs, but I’d say sell them if you can 🙂