Friday, September 10, 2010

TOS Review: Math Essentials

I hated math growing up.  HATED IT. 

My mom was an English teacher, and though there was a time I could barely speak a sentence without being corrected for my grammar, I loved English, reading and everything related to it. Math ... well ... not so much. That continued throughout my life and I struggled with my college courses in Math. I would get through it eventually (albeit sometimes taking a class more than once!) but it was like part of my brain never computed it. (Sorry, I just couldn't help it!) 
Had there been something like America's Math Teacher when I was growing up, I think I would have "gotten" math. America's Math Teacher is an online tutor, a complete curriculum or math teacher- whatever you need. It is video-based instruction complete with white board demonstrations. Beginning with basic math on the 4th or 5th grade level and working all the way through pre-algebra, students learn at their pace, repeating lessons (via video instruction) as often as necessary. Students are encouraged to copy the problems into a notebook and "work along side" the teacher so that they actually have the examples in front of them when they go back to look at the notes again. I really like that multiple colors are used when demonstrating something like regrouping in subtraction. It helps to really see what you are doing and for me and my audio-visual learning crew, it was easy to understand the lesson.

Rick Fisher, the creator of America's Math Teacher, is a seasoned math instructor from California. The success of his program shows "each year approximately one-half of his students bypass the seventh grade math program and move directly to a high-powered eighth grade algebra program."

A one-year subscription to America's Math Teacher is $195 per family. It covers all the lessons in the program and can be used for any student from 4th/5th grade to algebra. There are actually four courses: Basic Math,  Advanced Math, Pre-Algebra and Algebra. I feel it is quite a bargain for those families whose parent-teacher may not have the strongest math background (like, say, moi.) Since you have access to all levels of instruction on the website, it is great for large families who are studying at different math levels!

One thing we personally enjoyed most was the Speed Drills. America's Math Teacher has a very unique way to practice math facts that was a lot of fun too! As an adult it is easy to forget how stressful it is to be timed on math facts, but the Speed Drills lightened the stress a bit. Set up with the feel of a game, the kids had to quickly process the fact in their head, press the correct number on the key pad and press enter. I think it is great for practicing their use of the 9-digit keypad as well. You could not move on to the next problem until you correctly answered the one in front of you.

Printed materials in PDF format are also available to reinforce and review what was learned in the videos. If you would like to see the program in action, there are resources available in the free section of the website. You may take a look at a nice overview of the program including some videos and review sheets. With a subscription, many more review sheets per section are available.

I received a two-month subscription to free of charge from Math Essentials for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Stopping by from the TOS crew to check out others reveiws and just wanted to leave a comment and say hi.
    ~Jen Unsell


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