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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

review of Math Tutor DVD series

Up tonight on Lynn's homeschooling product review....the MathTutorDVD.com Video Series! (applause) Okay, I know...cheesy intro. I just get tired of saying, "Today's review is about (fill in the blank)." Can't blame me for trying to liven things up a bit. ;)
Let me just get to the review (and if you find teaching mathematics difficult in any way, then reading this review will probably liven your perspective up A LOT).

I am NOT a math loving mom. If you have read ANY of my blogs you must know that. Okay, I like basic math fine, and every now and then a light bulb flicks on in my head on some more difficult grade level math problem, and suddenly I actually GET a concept, and then, for a mere moment, math looks a bit entertaining to me (*side note-I am glad I homeschool; maybe now I will finally learn all those things I didn't learn in public school!). Doesn't it feel good when you see that "ahhh" moment in your children when you know they've finally "gotten it"? But what about those times that they just don't...when no matter what you try, tears flow down little cheeks (or big cheeks) and self-esteem begins to plummet. Ever wish you could hire a really good tutor? Take a peek at what http://www.mathtutordvd.com/ has to offer.

Personally most math gives me the heebies. Anxiety disorder at its worst. Unrelenting flashbacks to that old green chalkboard in Algebra II...standing mortified, as snickers (or yawns) erupted from the mouths of my genius fellow-classmates, who were waiting on me to solve that crazy half letter-half numeric problem. It was kind of like the TV show "Name that tune" with all of the waiting (but none of the annoying elevator music). You know how the contestant stands there, mouth opened slightly, eyes shut tight, grasping desperately at straws for an answer that lies no where in his mind. Yep, that was me in parts of Algebra. And parts of Algebra II. And Geometry.

Now at age 35, I refuse to let my children feel that badly about any subject so long as I can help it. I have vowed to use whatever resources God has provided, even if it means switching curricula with each child, until I find their "fit". Above all else, I want to be certain they never feel nervous or anxious about math, such an important subject which builds upon itself as the years go by. So many kids like myself were passed through classes with C's; why not go for true mastery learning?

If you find your student lacking skills in any area of math, the Math Tutor DVD series can certainly help.

We have used two of the company's titles, Algebra II and Word Problems. My sons, ages 9 and 13, both went through the entire Word Problems video each day as a supplement to their regular math courses. I am glad they did because word problems can be an area where students get easily confused. I watched some of the episodes with them. While I can't say I was enthralled with the subject matter itself, I was excited to see the concepts explained so thoroughly. These videos are lengthy, about 8 hours worth of tutoring, if you will. The author and teacher, Jason Gibson, who holds both a BS and Masters Degrees, stands at a white board and works problems step-by-step, multiple times. It is like having a personal tutor come into your home. He is a very mild-mannered, calm man who makes you feel confident in the material you are learning.

My boys also took a few lessons in Algebra II. It was way beyond anything they have covered yet, so we'll save this one for later.

The videos are not a complete curriculum. Mr. Gibson assumes you have been taught the concepts listed at some point; he will simply go over them again in various ways to practice them and explain them differently. They are all for practice and review.

The problems in the videos progress in their level of difficulty. All the DVD's play in standard DVD players and in computers. The videos I received contained a combined total of 14 hours of in-depth instruction and there are 19 videos in the total product line. The average length of a course is 8 hours and the average cost of each course is about $27! Can you imagine spending only $27 for a personal tutorial lasting 8 hours?

The website at http://www.mathtutordvd.com/ has free clips from each course video. There is also a money back guarantee which certainly makes this series all the sweeter. MathTutor guarantees raised grades or your money back.

What I like most about this series is the thoroughness...this man leaves no stone unturned! Boy, when he covers it, he COVERS it and that's not a bad thing. I think I could grasp even some harder math concepts myself if I had had these videos to go along with my traditional programs in school. Those returning to college would also find these extremely useful for dusting out the mental cobwebs. These videos can be used to teach or refresh any age level.


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