If Saxon isn’t your cup of tea, but you need a very good secular math program – Prentice Hall can fill that void. This series is written to meet standards and prepare students for standardized testing. The books are colorful and easy to use while the teacher resources give you everything you need to teach the course and a lot of extras.
Each course bundle includes a Student Text, All-in-One Student Workbook, and Teacher Center CD-ROM. The Student Text not only gives you comprehensive colorful lessons, but a plethora of resource information. The front of the book includes web codes (for use at the publisher’s website) for easy access to vocabulary quizzes, chapter tests, chapter projects, and how to access them; how to use the book; diagnostic test; and a problem-solving handbook that teaches students how to work through problems – understand, plan, carryout, and check. Resources are continued in the back of the book with chapter projects, extra practice, skills handbook with exercises, reference tables for measurement, math symbols, formulas & properties, an English/Spanish glossary, select answers to exercises (mostly odd problems), and “Instant Check System” answers. Each chapter in the student text begins with a short review of previous concepts and an introduction as to what will be covered in the present chapter. Chapters are broken down into lessons which include a list of skills needed for fulfilling the chapter content, concept presentation with examples, highlighted vocabulary, ‘Quick Check’ practice, ‘Check Your Understanding,’ homework exercises, notes for where you can go for help, guided problem solving, web codes for homework video tutors (short lessons on key concepts), test prep & mixed review, and activity labs. Sometimes there will be test prep tips, vocabulary builders, or “Math at Work” which highlights math in careers. At the end of each chapter you might find test-taking strategies, chapter review, chapter test, and a test prep which will be either reading comprehension with math reading and word problems or a cumulative review. The Teacher Center CD-ROM includes an extreme amount of information and resources and includes 4 discs for installation and program elements along with guides for installation and use. The resource disc includes test forms, answer keys, answer grids, progress charts, practice tests for ITBS, NAEP, and SAT10, project pages, note taking pages, activity pages in Spanish, transparencies, and the list goes on. One very helpful component in the teacher materials is a readiness test that lets you know if your student is prepared for algebra. The Teacher Center CD-ROM is awesome and easy to use, but I do have one complaint. The PDF files for all of the printable pages and answer keys, etc. don’t have the titles of them listed. They are labeled with cryptic letters and numbers, so you will need to decipher the code to find the file you need. System Requirements for the Teacher CD are Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP and 10 MB hard disk space available or Mac OS X, 10.2-10.4 with 20 MB hard disc space available; 64 MB of RAM available (128 recommended) and internet access for the codes and links. The All-in-One Student Workbook offers consumable formatted pages for daily note taking, guided problem solving, additional practice, vocabulary checks and reviews for use with special needs students. The pages offer room to work problems, less clutter, and more white space.
This series allows for some flexibility in the course sequence. Students can choose to do Course 1 and Course 2, and then they have the option of doing Course 3, Algebra Readiness, or going directly to Pre-algebra in the high school series. According to the publisher, Algebra Readiness contains the same general content as Pre-algebra with small differences in content.
This series offers a strong alternative for those who want classroom equivalent courses and content that meets standards. More time is spent on the concept at the time of presentation, but review keeps the material fresh. Overall, this series is strong enough to prepare students for high school math with the flexibility in the courses you take.