Crew Review: Math Essentials: No-Nonsense Algebra

I love Algebra.  My children? Not so much.  Oh I mean I love my children, they just don’t love Algebra so much and I don’t so much love teaching it. I love that with No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials that I don’t have to teach and Tailorbear is finding that she doesn’t hate algebra as much as she thought.  In fact, I think she secretly likes it!

Rick Fisher, author of the  Math Essentials materials, is known as “America’s Math Teacher”.  Since 1971 he has devoted himself to teaching 5th and 6th grade math students.  Mr. Fisher has developed a “system of teaching algebra.” (p. 3) That system has become No-Nonsense Algebra.  His systematic method teaches in a step-by-step, logical manner.

These lessons are short and self-contained.  Each lesson contains five key parts:

  • Introduction and explanation of each new topic.
  • Helpful hints that offers important tips and shortcuts.
  • Examples with step-by-step solutions
  • Written Exercises with answers in the back of the book.
  • Review that ensures students remember the concepts.

But the book is only part of the program.  In the back of the book is a website:   There is a sticker on the inside of the back cover with a special code.  Register at the website using the special code and you get free online video lessons.  Once I registered my code, I received an email with my log in information. 


I love the video instruction that accompanies the book.  Mr. Fisher explains each step as he works through several example problems.  I like that he tells the students to show their work even if they can do it in their head because they will get to problems that are more complicated.  I also noticed something that makes so much sense.  I wish I had known this ages ago.  Write the problem twice.  In the video he using black marker to write the problem.  Then he switches to a blue one and re-writes the problem.  He begins to work out the problem using the blue re-written equation and then CHECKS the answer using the original equation.

 There is a video for every one of the concepts taught in the No-Nonsense Algebra book.  The book is divided into 10 Chapters.  The chapters are divided into lessons.  Each lesson ends with review and there is a review at the end of every chapter.   The program even contains a final exam!

Thoughts from Tailorbear (age 13): “It is tedious but practice makes perfect which is its basic goal. I like how you can go online and watch the video for the lesson.  It’s a good product. I feel like I am understanding algebra. And despite what mom thinks, though I like algebra better than before I still don’t like algebra.  I mean I do but I don’t.”

In addition to a main math curriculum such as the No-Nonsense Algebra program,  Math Essentials gave each crew member an additional Mastering Essential Math Skills Book.  I received Geometry.  This is not a full curriculum, but is a supplement to be used for more practice and review of Geometry skills.   

Thoughts about Geometry from Turtlegirl (age 14 1/2): “I like the workbook aspect. I like how it gives you a topic and then two pages with which to practice it. I like how they have a review section for the stuff you’ve learned.  It is really good for practicing. I recommend the product.”

No-Nonsense Algebra retails for $27.95.  Remember that includes the online videos. The Geometry supplement retails for $11.95.  For more products and to order click here.

Click on the banner below to read what other Crew Members had to say about No-Nonsense Algebra and other Math Essential products.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews by clicking here.


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