Math Essentials Basic Math Skills Rescue Parts 1 and 2 Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew. 

Whether your child is experiencing math concepts for the first time, or you're headed into high school with some weak areas to address, the Math Essentials Basic Math Skills Rescue Parts 1 and 2 workbooks are a handy tool to make sure you cover the essentials for Algebra and beyond. We took these two for a test drive this year to see what makes them special.

Basic Math Skills Rescue Parts 1 and 2 Review

What are these books? Two workbooks covering a different phase of math readiness, the Basic Math Skills Rescue books are easy-to-implement tools to make sure you are covering all the math you need to before high school math.

Homeschools are always asking "did we cover everything?" and "does my kid fully understand math?" By working through these books regularly, you can find out the answers and address trouble areas before they get to high school and start doing formal Algebra. 

Here's how it works

Each workbook has three sections, and while they don't look like much at first, the sections are each its own curriculum/course. The included access to the library of videos will make that more apparent, but here is how the content is broken down. 

Part 1 goes over:

  • Whole numbers and integers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals and Percents
Part 2 goes over:
  • Geometry
  • Problem solving
  • Pre-algebra
(Note: The geometry portion of Part 2 is introductory geometry concepts not a full geometry program. It's what a kid would need to know to move into high school algebra comfortably, and it goes over concepts like surface area, perimeter, and circumference.) 

At the beginning of both books, you'll get instructions and access to online math center resources, which includes videos to walk students through all the concepts. 

We did a lesson a day, with each day's lesson available as a video, if we needed it (although I always recommend they watch the videos.) There are Review Exercises, Helpful Hints, and Problem Solving. This gave my kids a chance to engage with new concepts and familiar concepts alike, and I didn't have to worry about assessing where they were at and spending additional time on concepts. The book was structured to take us through everything they would need to know.

It takes about 15 minutes a day to work through the lesson, and each lesson counts as review, so they are building upon prior math knowledge throughout the book.

What a lesson looks like

Because each lesson starts with Review Exercises, they get confidence right away in doing work they already know. Then, they get to the new material, which includes Helpful Hints to nudge them. (This section also makes great review notes.) The next section allows them to demonstrate and practice what they have learned. Then, there is a real-life problem at the bottom that answers the question "when will I ever use this in real life."

All of the answers are in the back of the book, for easy self-grading or grading from a parent. There are no more than 16 questions on each page, so this can be completed very quickly.

Who is this for?

The creators of this program intend this to be a standalone math curriculum or review. I think anyone who hasn't experienced math mastery can use it, and it's also a good "checklist" for parents who aren't sure previous math programs have really brought mastery. Because of the short lesson time, it's also ideal for anyone with a limited schedule to teach math. 

Because it is really three math programs in each book, it could cover 6 years of math (or fewer.) Don't let the compact form of the books make you think there's not a lot to do here! The videos actually take up 4-7 minutes of instruction time a day, so you are getting quite a bit in addition to just what you see in the actual workbooks.

Basic Math Skills Rescue Parts 1 and 2 Summary Review

This self-contained math mastery program is easy to administer, grade, and engage with. I definitely see this as a top option for parents of junior high or high schoolers who have gotten to Algebra age and aren't sure their kids are ready. It makes a great "catch-up" tool, as well as a way to get 8th graders completely ready for what's to come next. 

Beyond that, while it could be a replacement for the 6 years of math you would have wanted your student to know and practice in elementary grades I'm unsure what age you would start this. It's definitely geared toward older students, as the videos are pretty straightforward and assume the kids have reached a certain level of maturity to follow along. Ideally, if you have gotten to 6th or 7th grade and there was no math learning (or learning outcomes were poor) this product could step in and help save the day. 

The approach is very no-nonsense, as well as encouraging. If kids need a confidence boost, I could see how this would help. It also comes with everything you need upon purchase, including answer keys and access to the digital video library which does the "teaching" of new concepts so that kids know how to approach the problems in the book.

If I had any suggestions for this program is it the ability to do more practice. My kids love math practice, and I'm not sure what you would do if your kid got done with the 16 questions on a page and still was getting a bunch wrong. Additional practice may be needed after reviewing the videos, so finding a place for more math practice would be my biggest request. Some kids may not need more than what's provided, but having a way to work through more problems to build confidence is something I think a lot of parents will ask for.

Learning math is sometimes overcomplicated by people, and Basic Math Skills Rescue takes all the mystery out of math. If you want to feel rock-solid about your child's math mastery before they get to Algebra, these two products are here for you. 

See what other parent reviewers have to say here!