Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Algebra for Breakfast A Homeschool Review Crew

Recently my son has been learning some algebraic concepts from Algebra for Breakfast. I received both Grades 3/4 and Grades 5/6 as a Math Enrichment to my homeschool for 6 months to both levels. I also received Math Dice for this review.

Algebra for Breakfast is created by Bob Hazen who was fascinated by math as a child. He eventually ended up teaching math to junior high level and was amazed at how many kids didn’t care for math. He came to the realization that math was taught poorly in elementary school. Thus began his journey for creating Algebra for Breakfast.

I have to say that I was one of those kids who disliked math. I still don’t get excited for math but, my son does! I have realized over the years that I was never taught math properly throughout my school years. I don’t want my kids to struggle with math. The good thing is that as I’m teaching my kids math I have been learning math concepts all over again. My 11 year old son is like his dad and very good with math.  I love the concept of preparing for algebra in elementary school. 

I assumed it would be better to start my son in the Grades 3/4 which is a lower level so he could catch any concept that he may have missed. I was wrong and I found out that the Grade 3/4 was not going to keep him mathematically happy and ended up moving him to Grades 5/6. 

Algebra for Breakfast is an online algebra math course for grades 3-4 and grades 5-6. You will need access to a computer and internet.

You also will need some math manipulates for this course:

Mortensen Math Combo Kit -164 colorful plastic math blocks. This is an important part of the program to have the blocks. This is included in the Full Membership Pack.

One set of Math Dice-3 -six-sided dice, 2 - twelve-sided dice.

Skip Counting Songs that you will need to download. There are 10 songs available.

 Navigating around the website is extremely easy.

This is a math supplement and is recommended to be used twice a week with your current math program. The videos for both levels are 5 to 10 minutes long.  Doing the worksheets the lessons are no more than 15 minutes. Both levels have 40 online video lessons.

All the lessons are taught by Bob Hazen. The lessons are being taught in a classroom setting with Bob Hazen interacting with the students. There are a few lessons that aren’t in a classroom setting that are directed just for the watcher of the videos.

Also, each of the lessons has a PDF worksheet to download. The worksheets that we have done so far have only been one page. The pages aren’t busy and don’t have a lot of problems on them.  There isn’t a lot of writing required on them either. It is recommended that you do the lessons with your student. Some lessons also have a Parent Corner which gives the parent’s some teaching tips.

Algebra for Breakfast has a lot of games with the Math Dice and cards that you make yourself or you can use a deck of playing cards.

Every lesson also has a form that you can ask questions about the lessons as a parent or a student. We haven’t had to do this yet.

What’s the difference between the two levels?

The two levels that are taught do have some content that is the same with the lessons adapted to be more advanced in the Grades 5/6. This is to ensure that the foundation is covered with some of the basics of Algebra for Breakfast. The lessons will build upon one another and start to challenge your kids in bit size pieces.

Some of the topics Grades 3/4:

Single Variable Expressions
Single Variable Polynomials
Quadratic, Linear, and Constant Expressions
Polynomial Identification

Place Value & Mental Math
Factors, Multiples, & Skip Counting
Problem Solving
Skip Counting & Algebraic Factoring
Two-Digit Mental Multiplication
Goldbach’s Conjecture on Primes

Some of the topics Grades 5/6:

Polynomial Identification
The Rectangle Principle: Arithmetic Factoring
The Rectangle Principle: Quadratic Factoring
Countable vs Uncountable Amounts
Real-World Examples of x, x2, x3, etc.
Mental Imagery for Arithmetic
Equivalency & Equivalency Transformation
GERMDAS & Order of Operations
Mental Algebra: Using the Imagination
Drawing Algebra: Internalizing the Concepts

How Did I use Algebra for Breakfast in my Homeschool?

I used this with my son who is at the end of his 5 th  grade. Being the mom who sometimes thinks I’m missing topics in math with my son and not giving him the benefit of his skills in math I started him at the Grades 3/4 level. You know just in case he wasn’t ready for the next level. We found out quickly that it was easy for him. We went over to his grade level! Grades 5/6 and it was much better fit for his skills. One day I will really stop being paranoid in math and not worry I’m missing something.

We would typically do the lessons 3 days a week. We spent no more than 15 minutes the most of all aspects of the lessons. After each video he would do his worksheet. I even caught him listening to lessons on days he wasn’t scheduled. Remember, he likes math! I had to remind him that he needed to download the worksheets if he was going to work ahead. As a homeschool mamma that speaks volumes to me.

My son wasn’t so sure of the classroom setting. He thought that some lessons would be distracting to some kids with the noise in some of the videos of the other kids. He thinks the lessons should be more one on one type of teaching.

My son rolled his eyes with the skip counting songs. He’s 11 so I get it. He knows how to skip count so I didn’t’ worry about it too much. The tunes are actually rather good compared to other skip counting songs I have heard and he agreed. My 14 year old daughter likes the songs and has listened to them several times.

I ended up having my 14 year old with severe learning disabilities do Grades 3/4. She just wanted to watch the videos. With her Autism she was pretty set on just watching them. She may all of a sudden decide to do them in the future. Bob Hazen made some interesting points that clicked with his method of teaching with me. I feel that my daughter is picking up some of the concepts as she sometimes wants to tell her brother how to do the problems with his level. She is correct with what she is telling him. Well, we just won’t go there!

I don’t really like how the downloading option of the worksheets is on the individual lessons. I think it would be much easier to have them all in one place. I would also prefer to print out the answer key in the same area. I like to have things ready prior to the lesson and bind them together.  Maybe, it’s just me who prefers that option. It’s not a deal breaker.


Overall, this is a great program. I feel pretty good about him entering into algebra soon. My son enjoyed the games and the lessons.

Other are reviewing Algebra for Breakfast make sure to see what they have to say.  

Social Media:

#hsreviews #mathsupplement #mathenrichment #algebrareinforcement

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