Math Enrichment Curriculum Homeschool
Whether math seems like a monster with three heads to your child, or she’s a real math wiz, Algebra for Breakfast will propel her to a whole new level of conceptualization.
I’m excited Super Hero’s doing so, gaining a deeper understanding of algebra using Algebra for Breakfast, our newest math enrichment curriculum. It’s helping him visualize and assimilate fundamental algebra concepts in a totally hands-on way. Plus Algebra for Breakfast is super easy-to-follow and fun to boot!
What We Received
We received a 6-month subscription for Algebra for Breakfast, grades 5/6, free of charge. In return, I’m posting my thorough and honest review of this excellent math enrichment program. A program for grades 3/4 is also available.
What to Expect with Algebra for Breakfast
Expect a math program that explains to young kids fundamental algebra concepts in a highly visual and hands-on fashion. Algebra for Breakfast is almost entirely filmed in an actual classroom full of 8 to 12 year-olds. Essential to the program is a set of manipulatives, Algebra for Breakfast uses a third-party set, the “Mortensen Math Combo Kit.” Although it’s possible to use cuisenaire rods, place value tiles, or other similar items, the real strength of the program springs from nuances in this particular kit. Hence, skipping these manipulatives might defeat its very purpose.
Bob Hazen, an experienced math teacher, and mastermind of Algebra for Breakfast, preps the students with fun games and activities. Children are to play these games while waiting for the manipulatives to arrive. A zip file with skip counting songs is part of the package, too. So is a set of math dice: 2 12-sided and 3 regular dice.
Accessing the material in the website is as easy as it gets. Right after login the site shows a simple table of contents (lessons.) Depending on the package you buy, the contents will vary. Ours shows the following groups:
- Prep activities
- Lessons 1-10
- Lessons 11-20
- Lessons 21-30
- Lessons 31-40
Each lesson presents 2 videos. The first one is an intro to the lesson, it’s brief, no more than a couple of minutes. The second video is the lesson itself, which takes between 2 to 10 minutes. Then comes the worksheet, one or two per lesson. And lastly, there’s a “Parent’s Corner,” which contains all answer keys for the section.
The first video, the intro, is directed to the parent or has pointers to the student. The second video, the actual lesson, is filmed in a live classroom, as I mentioned earlier. It does get noisy at times, when the children are scrambling to find the required tiles and all. It can get a bit distracting. Still, I rather like the classroom setting. It’s nice to see the kids working on the tiles along with Super Hero. Mr. Bob goes around making sure everyone’s tiles got the math expression just right. Watching him correct the children makes a good reinforcement. He then demonstrates by placing the tiles on the whiteboard himself. Sometimes, though, the glare on his whiteboard makes it difficult to read his writings.
The final lesson’s worksheet (sometimes two) is definitely a must do. It offers further exercises to cement the learning.
Our Thoughts & Usage
The program is self-directed. That is, the Super Hero is to work mostly on his own. From time to time, there’s a note to the parent, which I am to watch accordingly to offer help or guidance. I really like this aspect of the program. As Super Hero grows older, I find myself more partial to independent work. I know this is the logical and natural progression, but I really appreciate him working independently now, as an 11 year-old boy.
Hence Super Hero has been doing Algebra for Breakfast completely by himself. It takes him about 10 to 15 minutes to complete a lesson with worksheet and all. He finds the program “easy and fun to do.” —His very words.
Still, I have watched most of the videos so far (by myself, while I work.) I want to have a fresh perspective of my own. I find the use of these tiles brilliant. It offers an exceptional, totally hands-on way to conceptualize what otherwise would remain an abstract affair. Had you ever visualize x² + 3x + 5 this way? I sure hadn’t. (And I have a degree in math, darn it!) Don’t you wish you’d been taught this way? I sure do!
I also appreciate Mr. Bob’s pleasant demeanor with the children. You can tell he has experience dealing with children in this age group. Because of this, plus the easy-going nature of the program Super Hero’s always willing to have Algebra for Breakfast! 😉
In a Nutshell
In Super Hero's Own Words
I like Algebra for Breakfast because I’ve never seen an algebra thing that uses tiles or cubes. I like the worksheets and the lessons. Sometimes I think the lessons are kind of short, but they’re still nice. I like it!
I don’t think you can go wrong with Algebra for Breakfast. Which child, young or old, could not possibly benefit from forming patterns, visualizing, and manipulating to conceptualize math concepts? Algebra can be very abstract, but with Algebra for Breakfast not so anymore. Your child can actually touch it, see it, and get it!
If You’re Interested
If you’d like to give Algebra for Breakfast a try, you can buy a monthly subscription for $22. This price point does not include the tiles, indispensable to the program. Please visit Algebra for Breakfast to learn more about its packages and pricing.
Want to Learn More?
I love reading curriculum reviews. I’ve learned about many excellent programs that have so enriched our homeschool. If you, too, enjoy them, make sure you visit the Crew to read more. Or just pay Algebra for Breakfast a visit at its facebook account. That’ll give you an immediate feel for what it’s all about: