Designed to help students transition from basic math to advanced studies like algebra, geometry and trigonometry, Horizons Pre-Algebra expands their program beyond the elementary level to 7th grade. Compact and self-contained, this is easy to use for both students and teachers, and can be student- or teacher-directed according to individual preference and need. Fast-moving yet thorough, this program is well-balanced between review of old material and introduction of new.
The course consists of a consumable student text, a teacher's guide, and a consumable test and resource book. There are 160 lessons and 16 tests for one 36-week school year. Each lesson is 2-3 pages long, with a test-prep worksheet and profile relating math to real-life Christian professionals every ten lessons. There are 80 supplementary review worksheets to be administered every two lessons. Each lesson appears in the teacher's guide on reduced student pages with complete solutions and answers to all exercises as well as teaching notes on how to present key information. The student text is colorful without being cluttered or over-illustrated.
Like the rest of the Horizons math curriculum, this level implements the spiral method—students learn the material incrementally, building their knowledge of complete concepts little by little. For some students, this approach isn't fast-paced enough, though for most it's a lot easier as they have more time to become familiar with potentially difficult material. Everything the student needs is in the student text so you could get away with using it alone, but answers only appear in the teacher's guide and since pre-algebra is beyond most parents' familiarity level it's pretty necessary.
While the student text is consumable, you could just as easily have your kids record their answers on a separate sheet of paper and use the same book for multiple students. However, there are tear-out pages in the back of the test book that cannot be shared or reproduced (not easily, at least), so you'll need one per child. There isn't a lot of teacher support for this level, though the instructions for each lesson found in the student book are thorough and clear. If you're looking for scripted lessons and plenty of background material, though, you won't find it here.
This is the logical next step if you've used Horizons math for the preceding grades. It uses the same methods and approach and builds on everything that has come before. We wouldn't recommend moving to the pre-algebra text from another elementary program since this is (currently, at least) the end of the line for Horizons math. Moving on to algebra, we'd recommend either Harold Jacobs' Elementary Algebra or Saxon's Algebra 1, as both use the same spiral approach. If you go to Teaching Textbooks from here your kids will be way ahead of the game, so skipping a level might be a good idea.