Upgrading Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0: An Honest Review

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We've been using Teaching Textbooks for several years now and it's been a great fit for our large family homeschool. But 2020 presented some new challenges for everyone, including the Teaching Textbooks software.

Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was available as a streaming program use Flash. But Adobe announced that it would discontinue support of Flash at the end of December 2020. And so, the creators of Teaching Textbooks got busy creating TT 4.0!

We've been on the new platform for a few weeks now and I'd love to give you an inside peek!

{I was given free access to this resource and compensated for my time to review it.
As usual, all opinion are my own honest perspective.
}

Outsourcing Homeschool Math

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of outsourcing homeschool subjects in ways that take work off mom's plate without adding extra complications to your day.

Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was a great fit for us because our kids could work at their own pace - to schedule to manage or driving to classes or tutors. Because it was available as a streaming program, the kids could access it on their Chromebooks.

However, the more students we added to the program - and especially now with Daddy working from home due to life in a pandemic - we were putting our Wifi to the ultimate test each and every day.

We were thrilled to discover that Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is an app that can be downloaded onto any Windows or Mac desktop or any Android or iOS device. Six lessons are downloaded at a time, so students have plenty to work on with or without an internet connection.

Concerns about Teaching Textbooks 4.0

Our first concern about the new version of TT was the loss of streaming capabilities. While it would reduce the load on our wifi, I was worried that it wouldn't work on our Chromebooks.

Newer Chromebooks can download apps from the Google Play store and so can use the same apps as most Android devices. However, older Chromebooks don't have extra storage capacity and basically operate as web browsers and nothing more.

However, Teaching Textbooks support was able to show us how to add an extra memory card to the older Chromebooks to allow enough storage for the apps! Plus, since these apps also work on devices, we were able to download them on the kids tablets. It turns out that the kids largely prefer to do their math on tablets!

My other concern was managing the parent dashboard from multiple different apps. In Teaching Textbooks 3.0, the parent login gave me access to all of the student gradebooks and the ability to remove problems, etc. from one place.

However, with TT 4.0 since each grade level has its own app, I had to download five different apps for the five different grade levels we're using to manage the parent functions. But I just discovered that TT has created a Parent Portal on the TT website (purple button in the top-left corner) where you can log in and manage all of your gradebooks from one place.

Even though that's the option I initially though I'd prefer, I actually like using the separate apps and have kept them pinned to my taskbar for easy access.

One thing to note: though kids can work on their assignments offline, they'll need to connect to wifi so their work can be synced online if you want to access it from your parent dashboard on another device.

The Same Great Homeschool Math Learning

All of the things we most love about Teaching Textbooks are present in the newest version. The video lectures consist of a verbal explanation of the topic, accompanied by a visual presentation of the information that is clear, clean, and interspersed with opportunities for student to interact to demonstrate they are following the lesson.

Practice problems allow students to try their hand at new material without affecting their grades. Parents can toggle on or off options like hints or second chances to allow students the opportunity to get a little nudge or try again if they get a problem wrong the first time.

Whether students answer the question correctly or not, they have the option to see how the problem should be worked - a mini lesson within each problem! (Note: In the parent dashboard, you can see whether your student used their second chance and/or viewed the solution to tell if they are taking advantage of the available tools to learn.)

New in Teaching Textbooks 4.0

Our favorite new feature in this edition has to be the scratch pad! Students can switch into Scratch Pad mode and jot down their work before answering a question!

My daughter enjoys the ability to change the "paper" behind her work, and the pen colors as she works!

There are also other fun perks, like the ability to add stickers and to change the background "wallpaper" behind your work area.

The Teaching Textbooks staff has worked tirelessly - even through many set-backs and during the challenge of a global pandemic - to get the new version rolled out to families.

Want to take a look? You can try the first fifteen lessons of any level for free!