Learn Math Fast is a series of books I recently discovered through a discussion in a Right Start Math discussion group. While Right Start Math is an amazing homeschool curriculum for elementary and middle school students, the question was asked where to start with older students who had major gaps in math and needed to catch up quickly. In my particular case, I was working with two 8th graders who wanted to be prepared for high school algebra but struggled with fractions and decimals. As I found out, they had other gaps including having no working strategies for addition and subtraction other than counting up/down by ones.
Someone suggested Learn Math Fast. I looked around their website, and it seemed to be exactly what I needed. It said the system could be used by “anyone who can count to 100, can read and write numbers, has a basic understanding of our base 10 system and knows that 1 + 2=3.” As Cathy Duffy writes on her homeschool curriculum review site, “The Learn Math Fast System is a unique approach for teaching math that condenses the process while still stressing conceptual understanding.” The books are self directing and written to be easy to read for dyslexic students or other students who struggle with reading comprehension. They follow a logical sequence which focuses on the most important concepts (not always the same sequence typically followed by other math programs.) Grade levels are never mentioned. Each lesson has clear instruction, practice worksheets, and a timed test. All answers are in the back of the book. The geometry book comes with a manipulatives set.
It can be used by younger students to advance three grade levels in one year doing one lesson a week, or by high school students struggling to graduate to finish the entire program in 1-2 years by completing multiple lessons a day. After completing all seven volumes, students are supposed to be ready to take the SAT, ACT, or GED.
I ordered Volume 1 for the 8th graders as well as the Algebra 2 book for a homeschooled high school senior who was struggling with the class. Volume 1 starts at the very beginning with strategies for adding and subtracting within 5 (using coins as manipulatives) and progresses to dividing decimals by lesson 44. Volume 2 covers fractions and percentages and Volume 3 is pre algebra. My plan for the 8th graders is to get through all 3 of these volumes this school year.
The algebra 2 book (volume 6, directly following algebra 1) condenses the course to 15 lessons of the most important concepts. This includes:
- Building an equation to solve difficult story problems.
- Using the distance formula to solve story problem that involve travel.
- Using congruent triangles to solve story problems that are often found on the SAT.
- Determining if two triangles are similar or congruent.
- The basics of solving for the probability of an event
- Solving Equations with Inequalities
- Solution and Mixture Problems
- System of Equations to solve word problems and other algebraic equations.
- Graphing Linear and Quadratic Equations.
The books also come with an optional “big big bookmark.” This is an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet that contains hints to all the most easily forgotten math concepts from volumes 1 – 4.
As of writing this post I have only been using the books for a couple of weeks, but they are meeting the intended purposes. The students like doing them and we are able to move quickly though concepts they already understand while catching gaps at every level. With the 8th graders, I am using them in conjunction with Math Fact Lab
These books come with a money-back guarantee. Try them for 30 days, and if you don’t learn math, send them back for a refund of your purchase price. It’s worth checking out if you have a student who needs to learn math fast!