This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Math Essentials: No-Nonsense Algebra ~ a TOS review

When you think of fall do you think of school starting back up, cooler weather, football, and pumpkin everything? I do too! Well, maybe not the pumpkin stuff :-) But I also know that fall begins the beginning of SAT and ACT testing dates. If you’re like me and have a high school Junior or Senior, it’s on your mind. In fact, testing has been on my mind since early May this year.


In early June we were given the opportunity to review Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra and I almost passed it over because I thought we had a good system of review going on. But I am so glad I jumped on the opportunity to review this book with Madison, my Junior because we have found a few gaps in her Algebra knowledge.


No-Nonsense Algebra was written by Richard W. Fisher, who says that Algebra does not have to be a long, drawn out boring subject. Each of the lessons presented is very short and sweet and gets right to the point.

 Table of Contents 

 Chapter 1~ Necessary Tools for Algebra 

 Chapter 2 ~ Solving Equations 

 Chapter 3 ~ Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations 

 Chapter ~ 4 Solving and Graphing Inequalities

 Chapter 5 ~ Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities 

 Chapter 6 ~ Polynomials 

 Chapter 7 ~ Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions) 

 Chapter 8 ~ Radical Expressions and Geometry 

 Chapter 9 ~ Quadratic Equations 

 Chapter 10 ~ Algebra Word Problems 

No-Nonsense Algebra is written to the student with short, concise, self-contained lessons that are easy to understand and eliminates distractions. Each lesson has five key elements to teach the system of Algebra:

~ Clear introduction and explanations of each new topic 
~ Helpful Hints that teach shortcuts and important tips
~ Examples with solutions worked out step-by-step 
~ Written Exercises and corresponding answers in the back of the book 
~ Comprehensive Review to make sure the student remembers what they have just learned


Everything you need to know about Algebra is included in the ten chapters of this non-consumable book. Review is built into each lesson to ensure mastery of topics and full examples are given with step-by-step solutions. Chapter tests and a final exam allow you to measure student progress. How the process works:

Step ONE: Thoroughly read the Introduction that include essential information about the topic.

Step TWO: Read the Helpful Hints for important tips and shortcuts.

Step THREE: Read the Examples that show step-by-step directions to complete each problem. Physically write out each problem and the process it takes to get to the solution.

Step FOUR: Complete the written Exercises. If you need help, repeat steps 1-3 above.

Step FIVE: Review. Complete the review problems.

Step SIX: Check your work for the Exercises and Review. The answers are provided in the back of the book.


When the book arrived, Madison and I jumped right in and use it apart of her 1-hour PSAT/ACT study time! Since she is studying for her first ACT in September and taking the PSAT in October for real this time I want her to have a solid math foundation. Honestly, I am not worried about the LA/reading portions of either test as she is a strong reader and writer, it is the math where she is weak. As she finishes up her Algebra 2 course I have noticed she is making little mistakes using the Quadratic Equation, which just happens to be my favorite kind of equation in math. Yes, I am a bit of a math nerd, LOL! So we dug in right into Chapter 9 to begin with. Having Madison write out each step did clear things up for her and she is now able to solve these types of questions without any hesitation. Next we worked on word problems which are both of our least favorite types of problems but necessary to know.


For the next three weeks Madison is plugging away at the Final Review in the back of the book. It has 157 problems all of which are covered in the book. She has been completing 10 problems each day from the review and I grade them as she goes. If she gets one wrong, I have her go back and re-read the section and write out the steps to similar problems. With this process she should finish the final review by Saturday, August 26th, and then we can focus more on the specific ACT practice tests and again reference this book when we find weak spots. Prayerfully, she and I are shooting for her to score a 28 or better on the math sub-section of the ACT because she is shooting for score of a 32+ overall. If she does as well as preliminary testing has shown, the other sub-sections can carry her math score if she can reach her math score goal. She can do it and I am very confident that with the help of her review of No-Nonsense Algebra she will get it done.


A feature that I really enjoy is that there is a video that corresponds to every lesson. It’s like having your own personal tutor for the price of $28.95 you pay for the book! The code to access the video’s online is self-contained inside the book so you won’t misplace it. Another feature I like is the Glossary. It is eleven pages of algebraic definitions, charts including important formulas, symbols, multiplication table, prime numbers, squares and square roots, and fraction/decimal Equivalents. These are priceless charts, especially the Important Formulas in my opinion, to be able to have handy at your fingertips.

Mastering Algebra should not be stressful; No-Nonsense Algebra takes the stress out of it and for that I wholeheartedly give this book 2 thumbs up! Check out what my CrewMates thought of this book by clicking the banner below.

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

Company ~ Math Essentials 
Format ~ Non-consumable paperback book
 Price ~ $28.95
 Ages ~ 8th grade and up

Math Essentials

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