Any good (novice) math books out there?
July 1, 2005 6:21 AM   Subscribe

What's a good math book? My sister is a high school drop out and pretty much knows how to add, subtract and the like. Last night, she called me concerned that when her kids start school in a few years she won't be able to assist them with their math homework, and asked me to find a good easy-to-understand book that will teach her from very basic math (adding, subtracting) on to more complex mathematics. Any suggestions?
posted by missed to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The key to math is working through a lot of questions, so if she is serious, she needs to look for a book with lots of exercises. I used to teach GED prep courses, and I think that any GED prep book focused on math would be a good place to start. They generally have nicely laid out examples and lots of practice questions that work up gradually.

Once she has worked through a GED book, she may need to get a more advanced book for certain subject areas. She could note which types of math she needs more work with and then look for another book, perhaps a Schaum's guide (there are more than this one).

I also did a quick search and found some free resources for GED level math here. Although I cannot vouch for its quality, the site looks pretty decent and appears to be free. (Lessons index here)
posted by carmen at 7:00 AM on July 1, 2005

Teachers are often available for tutoring on both an after-school (free) and private ($$$) basis. If she's uncomfortable with math, those may be better solutions than trying to learn it all, for the first time, as an adult.
posted by catkins at 9:21 AM on July 1, 2005

She might want to see if she can find this video series at her local library. It's a very good refresher course. But working with excercises is a must, too.
posted by maryh at 9:55 AM on July 1, 2005

What about her children's text books each year? She could either get theirs or see if it's possible to get a duplicate copy for herself. As long as she reads and works ahead a little bit, she should be in a good position to help her kids. That also saves her the bother of learning it all now only to forget it again in a couple of years when she needs it.
posted by willnot at 11:39 AM on July 1, 2005

For the more advanced levels of math, I'll recommend Bob Miller's books. He has a very accessible writing style with some great sample problems. Indeed-- they're math books that are readable AND have practical advice on filtering the "need to know" from the "nice to know." Have your sis read a few sample pages to see if she'd find them helpful!

Spoken from experience, it can be extremely difficult to learn straight from a textbook or Schaum's outline. It requires a lot of discipline when you can't work out the answer from the answer key or even from the steps provided. Miller fills the gap between explanation and understanding.
posted by Gable Oak at 12:21 PM on July 1, 2005

Saxon Math. His series of textbooks is killer. If she knows any homeschoolers, check with them, as often there are used books out there. (And yes, I used them when I homeschooled mine. Previously I was a mathophobe and I learned right along with them. )
posted by konolia at 1:59 PM on July 1, 2005

She can learn as the kids are learning. And it'll be more effective, more often, than if she's pre-learning. Her reading skills alone will give her the required edge.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on July 1, 2005

Here are some used Saxon Math curricula for sale. If you're looking for good reviews of basic math texts, check out The Well-Trained Mind at your local library or bookstore or whatever.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:30 PM on July 1, 2005

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