Move over Wheaties!

We have been starting the day the best way possible, nourishing our body and our minds by breaking the fast the right way with healthy proteins, minimal carbohydrates and Algebra for Breakfast. My children have truly enjoyed our review of Algebra For Breakfast Grades 3/4 and Grades 5/6 math enrichment programs.

Bob Hazen has a wonderful and simple way of teaching various math concepts that help us to fully understand math. All three of my kids are fairly confident in math and rarely are they struggling to grasp mathematical concepts. However, his methods of teaching concepts, even some that they already knew, deepened their understanding and moved them from grasping to mastering. A good example of this is his lesson titled First Name, Last Name. He explains that virtually everything in the world around us has both a first name and a last name. The wooden table: first name wooden, last name table; the red blocks: first name red, last name blocks; Sally Smith: first name Sally and last name Smith. Math is no exception. The first name of anything mathematical is the number itself or how many; while the last name is what it is. This is a foundational concept that helped my children understand the importance of grouping like things while working through math problems.

Algebra for Breakfast provides lessons for 3/4 grades or 5/6 grades and teaches the use of hands-on manipulatives  to further understanding and enable mastery. The 164-piece set of math manipulatives by Mortenson Math, math dice and their skip counting CD is necessary for completing the program and is available for $122 (includes shipping and the first month of access to Algebra for Breakfast lessons). A reduced package is available for individuals that already own the Mortenson Math manipulatives and includes the dice, the CD and the first month of access to lessons for $42. The last option available is for those that already own all of the manipulatives; for $22 per month.

The lessons themselves are online video clips of Bob Hazen teaching a concept to a class of kids. It is nice for viewers to be able to hear the answers to other kids’ questions when watching an authentic teaching. You also have the ability to watch and go back and review anything presented along the way. Each lesson also provides a downloadable worksheet to coincide with the concept taught.

My only frustration with this program is of the website itself. I found myself lost on this site, more than once. I quickly learned to not click on my name when I got lost. I had assumed that it would lead me to a customer portal; it did not. It took me to my dashboard where I could enter profile information and it seems to be a WordPress dashboard for the website itself. It was confusing. Oftentimes I would need to go from a grades 3/4 lesson to a grades 5/6 lesson and inevitably I would get lost somewhere. Fortunately, I would just go to the history on my address bar and find what I was looking for. For me, this was just a frustrating inconvenience that I was able to see beyond. I am not looking into this program to have a fanciful online experience but rather to have rich math lessons!

We used this program many times throughout our review period. Our kids are in grades 1, 2 and 6. We reviewed several of the grades 3/4 lessons but spent far more time viewing grades 5/6 lessons together. I found that with his instruction and our working on the worksheets together, the younger kids were able to follow along quite well. However, I would not have done this if I only had younger kids that did not already have a solid mastery of quick mental addition and a decent understanding of multiplication. For us, this worked well.

The use of the math manipulatives made this program not just easier to follow but also easier for the kids to see the mathematical concepts. These really are essential to this program and I could argue they are simply essential to math period. The more that the kids can actually experience math, the greater their mastery will be and the greater their mastery of the basic concepts the less they will struggle in all levels of math.

We enjoyed this program and will continue to work through the lessons. Move over Kix, Algebra for Breakfast is kids tested and mother approved!

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