We really like the Key to Mathematics series. We've used all of the topics except the geometry. These affordable books are just as effective as the pricier programs. The main difference is that each book covers ONE topic. There's no 'spiral' review built in, however, each topic builds on the last.
We love that the student can work independently, and that it encourages a true understanding of math with small steps and lots of simple line drawings. These books are black and white, and each individual book is short and not overwhelming.
I would recommend the algebra series:
-as an intro for advanced younger students,
-as a complete course for math-challenged kids who don't need a rigorous program for college, or
-as a review/explanation for kids who are stuck on a specific topic (ie trinomials). The individual books make it easy to get exactly what you need.
This is a great book especially for those who have trouble learning math. My son was having difficulty in Algebra I so I decided to take a change on the "Key to Algebra" books. I bought only the first 4, plus the answer book, and the test book. He is now at the end of the first book. This book has been a blessing. He is finding Algebra a lot easier now and I am finding out where his trouble spots are. The book is written in a relaxed manner that i think is inviting and not intimidating to children. I would highly recommend this book set.
I recently bought the Key to Algebra and Key to Geometry series for my 9and 11yr old home-schooling children. We use the books for self-directed maths sessions for about one hr each per week, in addition to their 'taught' general maths syllabus.I am completely dazzled by these books, they begin at the beginning and very methodically and gently take the child through a very detailed, comprehensive and indeed joyful course. With the odd exception, the child is able to totally self direct. I am surprised by how much is covered in these series and how quickly the child moves on, while still feeling they are 'having fun'! My 9yr old often works on the geometry series in his free time and is now able to discuss with correct terminology, bisecting angles, congruence etc; and I stress this is all self taught. Would say that on completion of these series - which may take us a couple of years - a child would be able to complete the geometry and algebra elements of the UK GCSE public examination - aimed at 16yr olds. I cannot recommend highly enough; I've found nothing like this anywhere else and order from the US - in fact I have ordered other 'Key to' series: metric measurement, decimals, percentages and fractions. The real key to success in maths it is to lay a solid foundation without fear; these books do this and much more.