The Doodles Do Algebra – A Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

If you are like me, you have a child who fights you when it comes to math, especially algebra. It is one thing to learn about numbers, but adding letters in with numbers begins to throw a wrench into things. Not anymore with the Doodles Do Algebra by Kirsten West.

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What Is It

The Doodles Do Algebra is an algebra series that teaches your children not only how to do algebra, but also the why’s of algebra. There are three books in this series, each building upon the other. You can use this as a full algebra curriculum, or you can use this to supplement your current curriculum.

The three books in this series are:

  1. Starting Out with Mental Algebra

  2. Unknowns and the 29 Articles of Algebra

  3. The Basic Math of Algebra

Each of these books teaches based on the methods of algebra from the 1600’s to the early 1800’s. These are not boring books filled with lots of writing and examples to work through before you get to your practice problems. Each lesson only lasts about one page long and is handwritten with a cartoon Doodle as well.

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How Did We Use It

Moe Man has struggled, really struggled to understand Algebra. He knows numbers and he knows letters, but putting them together is out of the question for him. I have tried many different styles of math with him, hoping to find the one that we would have an “aha” moment with. While we had found a curriculum that was working, he still didn’t understand what he was doing or why.

I introduced the Doodles to Moe Man as a break from his current curriculum. I noticed that he was having an issue and he was getting frustrated. As soon as he opened the first book, he looked at me like I was joking. Doodles and handwritten pages? Under 10 questions a day? No big lectures or lessons? Yep, this was the new algebra we were about to experience!

Each day we worked on one lesson. I would go over the teacher’s notes and give an explanation to Moe Man. After that I let him go on the page. I would be around if he had problems or questions, but those were far and few between. The first book focused on mental math, and all of the questions are solving real life problems. It is not why do we have to know this, rather we see why right away.

Moe Man sped right through the first book, and I was happy. This was a great improvement from where we were coming from. The second book covers the unknown number. This is where I lose Moe Man, but he was having fun following the Doodles, so he was not fighting me going forward. As well as learning about the unknown, we also learn the vocabulary of algebra, the 29 Articles. As with any subject, learning the vocabulary will help you understand more about that subject. The same is true with algebra. But don’t worry about boring vocabulary quizzes, the Doodles give us fun rhymes instead!

Finally, in the third book we get into evaluating equations. This isn’t the only thing we learned. We also learned about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials. What had me worried was the long division of polynomials. However, the Doodles didn’t let me, or Moe Man down! By this point he had the foundation laid and everything that we were putting on top of it was sticking! I never would have thought that we could follow some simple Doodles through the steps of algebra and get to the point of understanding it!

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What We Thought of It

Ok, so any algebra program that can help explain the whys of algebra is a win! But when I can watch the dots being connected for Moe Man, I am in awe! If there is one subject that I thought we would always have trouble with, it is algebra, but the Doodles have helped us understand it enough to get through what we need to know.

Now, if Moe Man liked math like me, I could see us getting a lot more out of these three books, but he really fights this subject. However, the Doodles have helped us get through our lessons without a fight. This is a big enough win for me that I don’t care that he doesn’t like it as much as me!

Moe Man actually wanted to do math with the Doodles! He understood what they were talking about. The lessons were short enough that they didn’t stress him out, yet they were just enough to make sure he understood what he needed to know. Having the text handwritten with doodles on the pages made this unlike any other math lesson we have ever tried before. It was personal and fun.

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Do you have a child who is always asking why they need to know algebra? Always fighting with you about adding letters to numbers? If so, you need to bring the Doodles into your house and let them show your child why these things are important!

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