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Best Way to Re-learn Math

  1. Aug 12, 2015 #1
    Hi All,

    I am looking for the best way to learn math from elementary algebra (just above arithmetic) to calculus.

    I am looking for the most *comprehensive* way to do this--that is, I want continuity from subject to subject, for instance, a series of textbooks from a single author on Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and so on.

    I am aware of and I appreciate the Khan Academy & friends, but I would prefer a traditional textbook resource with problem sets, etc. that I could supplement with Khan.

    Background: I am a mature/dedicated adult learner, was not able to attend school regularly during childhood, and have studied math (self-taught) from arithmetic to calculus with mixed success. Just looking to re-engineer my entire math education, and hopefully achieve better results with better resources.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!

    Checkout the MathIsPower4U video collection they cover pre-algebra unto Diff Equations and Linear Algebra (1st/2nd year college)

  4. Aug 13, 2015 #3
    Thank you for responding--that looks like a fantastic resource, and certainly satisfies the continuity requirement...

    But, like Khan Academy, it's a video series without the traditional textbook-style problem sets. :(
  5. Aug 13, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Okay so stop the video and try to do it and then see if your solution matches. The instructor tries to match the with common issues students have.

    You could also consider getting Schaum's Outlines for the subject and as you work through them review the relevant videos.
  6. Aug 13, 2015 #5


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The UK school maths syllabus is covered here:


    This website will take you through each topic step-by-step and could be a useful accompaniment to any text book.
  7. Aug 13, 2015 #6
    I'm a big fan of the concept of the Kahn academy, however, hands down, the best math learning site for what you're looking for is http://www.ixl.com/. You can even try the problems without having to pay a dime. Enter at any level you want.
  8. Aug 13, 2015 #7
    Hi Ben,

    I am doing the exact same thing, except I started with arithmetic and I am going to calculus 2 (I am in calculus 2 at the moment at community college). The best way to learn math to an in depth level, IMO, is to use multiple resources that fall into two categories: conceptual and application. For example: the pre-algebra for Dummies book is outstanding for a conceptual review of pre-algebra, but I am also using a pre-algebra textbook by McDougal/Littell as my application resource. I've trolled many forums like this and searched for days before purchasing my main go-to resource textbooks.

    I know you want the same author/series
    but this is not advisable IMO. One author/series may be GREAT at explaining geometry, but so-so at explaining algebra. You need to research different books for each subject you're looking to learn.

    You will find bits of knowledge in every resource you come across. My advice (what I am doing) is to keep notebooks and organize your findings. Use the Internet if you're not sure on a certain concept or to clarify something.

    Be aware of the at least four ways to represent math: numerically, graphically, verbally, and algebraically. When studying a concept, ask yourself, "I can show this numerically via an equation, but can I draw this concept?" This will help solidify your understanding. For example: We know how to multiple fractions, but can you show this graphically? Why is it that 1/3 * 2/5 = 2/15 ? My astronomy professor who has a PhD in astrophysics cannot answer a lot of these type of math questions. Maybe it's not important, but if you're like me, I want to command the material and not just repeat it.

    Perhaps these ideas will give you some guidance.
  9. Aug 13, 2015 #8
    A lot of universities have recorded lectures from past semesters up on their websites. If you want to follow along you could definitely learn a lot. I'm assuming it'd be pretty easy to find out what textbooks were used in the class. From there, you could just work through the class at your own pace.
    I've learned a lot from MIT's OpenCourseWare, and view it as an invaluable resource whenever I really want to sit down and absorb a certain topic.
  10. Aug 13, 2015 #9
    I just checked that site out, and it is indeed a tremendous asset. Thank you!
  11. Aug 13, 2015 #10
    Interesting, I'll have to have a look--by 'UK' I take it you mean the United Kingdom government school system's?
  12. Aug 13, 2015 #11
    I know the struggle, and it becomes almost like a second job being one's own teacher, tutor, and student. The amount of research and due diligence that goes along with setting up a course of study almost makes me question the pursuit itself lol ...

    I resisted 'becoming Euclid' when I was originally teaching myself math during undergrad, and now I realize I left so many gaps in my education by being too utilitarian and not wanting to go to the fundamentals of every concept.

    I do like the notebook idea, for sure, and I also appreciate the four representations of math. I'll have to add that to the notebook that I'm about to start at your suggestion.
  13. Aug 13, 2015 #12
    I'll be waiting a long time for MIT to implement a pre-algebra to calculus course lol
  14. Aug 13, 2015 #13
    I wish I could simply watch x number of hours of a movie and emerge mathematically enlightened, but I unfortunately need to execute dozens of problems before my old neanderthal brain retains anything. :(

    Although, the combination with a "cliff notes" series like you mentioned might be the ticket!
  15. Aug 13, 2015 #14
    These are great resources, and I'm writing them all down! :)
  16. Aug 13, 2015 #15
    These resources are not free, but they are full blown courses that come with workbooks. The professor that writes each workbook usually lists a reference for an actual text.

    Algebra I: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/algebra-i.html
    Algebra II: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/algebra-ii.html
    Geometry: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/geometry-an-interactive-journey-to-mastery.html
    Precalc & Trig: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...-real-world-precalculus-and-trigonometry.html
    Calc I: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/understanding-calculus-problems-solutions-and-tips.html
    Calc II: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/understanding-calculus-ii-problems-solutions-and-tips.html
    Calc III: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...ble-calculus-problems-solutions-and-tips.html

    I've gone through the calculus series, and the professor is an excellent teacher. While the prices are high, they come on sale at 70% off regularly.
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