Self-teaching algebra
February 21, 2007 11:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for textbook suggestions for teaching myself algebra and trigonometry. Are there any algebra textbooks that stand out as exceptionally good?

The purpose of this is to augment my own scientific consulting and programming work, where math fluency will help "broaden my horizons", so I'm committed to learning math over the long term. I know I can just take a class, but the nearest university is 60 miles away and I have a toddler in the house, so it's not practical to take courses. Nor do I want to sit on my thumbs. Besides, I'm very self-motivated and like working at my own pace. I want to spend an hour a day in my den working on my math skills from the ground floor up. My wife has a science degree and was a math minor, so I have help around when I get stuck.

I am shaky in algebra and haven't been in a trig class in 21 years. I am committed to relearning algebra up through trig so that I can eventually tackle calculus months or years from now. I've got Algebra and Trigonometry (good; Addison-Wesley; Keedy, Bittinger & Beecher) and College Algebra (not bad; Harper-Collins; Orr), but maybe I can do better.

The ideal textbook would have lots of narrative without being dry and crusty, plenty of examples, and lots of problems with ALL of the solutions in the back. I hope I'm not asking too much of a book.
posted by rolypolyman to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
One option is to go to Amazon and search for "Schaum's trigonometry" and "Schaum's algebra". Schaum's has books on just about every math subject there is. Not much on narrative, but lots and lots of examples and problems. And cheap.
posted by erikgrande at 12:37 PM on February 21, 2007

If you can't find any books that meet your needs, has a series of free math education programs online where you can self-study and work at your own pace. They offer a lot of college-level math.
posted by amyms at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Forgotten Algebra was a great resource for helping me to learn/relearn algebra.
posted by a22lamia at 3:55 PM on February 21, 2007

See this post from last year.
posted by notsnot at 3:57 PM on February 21, 2007

It's a little OT, but you might enjoy this.
posted by Marky at 4:43 PM on February 21, 2007

Try your local library...just be aware that they'll mix "college algebra", "linear algebra", and "pre-calc algebra" all on one shelf if they're like our library...
posted by anaelith at 5:05 PM on February 21, 2007

I always recommend the Schaum's outlines as well. Especially for someone who has seen this stuff before (even if it was a long time ago). They have lots of problems and solutions, and their explanations are concise. I think algebra is something that is best learned doing problems anyway.
posted by bluefly at 5:32 PM on February 21, 2007

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