Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Formula...MathTutor Dvds = Less Parent Stress

One of our first products to review for the The Old Schoolhouse Crew were 2 Dvds from MathtutorDVD.com. This was timely, as I was able to use the Pre Algebra dvds as a mini review for Paperboy to begin our school year.

Math Tutor DVDs Pre-Algebra: The Pre-Algebra Tutor is a five hour video tutorial available from MathTutorDVD.com for $26.99. The creator, Jason Gibson, gently covers topics such as: real numbers, the number line, greater than, absolute value, powers and exponents and our current homeschool need; order of operations. There are 9 subjects covered on 2 dvds.
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My thoughts:
I was pleased to participate in reviewing these math DVD's. I experienced some flash backs while watching the pre-algebra dvds with my boys. The instructor, Jason clearly has zeal for math. He reminded me of my 9th grade geometry teacher, who unsuccessfully tried his best to impart a love of angles to me. About the first lesson: I could compare it to a math counseling session for wounded math students.  I appreciate his advice of just watching the first time through, instead of pulling out paper and pencil. He encourages the student that math is not so daunting, if it is handled one step at a time, it can be mastered. He also has the insight to answer the questions that popped up in my head. Obviously, they did not occur to Random, he felt they were tangents. All of the problems are solved on a white board. They are not tied into any specific curriculum. It is to be used for reinforcement or when a student needs more visual instruction.
While poking around the extensive website, I noticed for some of the courses there are worksheets available. I encourage you to look around, there is something for all levels on his site. Jason Gibson has his "Math Testimony" on the website, this appealed to my nosey curious side. Who is this teacher? All I can say is "WHERE WERE YOU JASON, WHEN WE CRIED ABOUT SLOPE LAST YEAR?"

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The next Dvd I viewed was the Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-84 Calculator Tutor. This set of Dvds is available for $26.99 here. That is a screaming deal considering it is an eight hour movie. Based on my calculations using my TI-83, that is $3.37 an hour for access to an excellent tutor. You may feel like you are taking advantage of Mr. Gibson. Oh where was I?
This is my movie!
Confession time....In all of my many math courses, I had never learned how to use a graphing calculator. Now that Paperboy is officially in high school, now is the time. The first time I watched it sitting next to the Gman, elbowing him, "isn't that neat?" "wow" "How cool is that?" I was a pack rat who still had my oldest son's calculator from 1998 fortunate to already own the TI-83 calculator.  Seeing teenage boys using a gadget that was Greek to me really irked me. My shame of being clueless about the TI-83 is over. I see so much potential in this little gadget. I feel empowered. Jason does a fantastic job of clearly walking the viewer through each step of the problem. The large onscreen calculator shows how it is supposed to look if you press the right buttons and covers half of the screen. He slowly covers the many functions with examples. He moved a little too quickly for Paperboy, but considering he is only in Algebra 1, it was understandable. I had no problems following along. I was amazed at how much I learned and that I enjoyed it. What I mean to say is I was in front of a screen on a soft couch and did not fall asleep. That is a testimonial in itself.

For the parent who struggles teaching math, MathTutor Dvds are an excellent resource. In my homeschool budget, there is no money to hire tutors. This is great alternative. It's like owning a visual math encyclopedia.

Here's how I will use these in my homeschool:

  • Have my children watch it on my computer and hit the pause button often. He moves quickly at some times, thank God for pause buttons. 

  • Use it as a reference for if when we are stumped in our current math program.

  • Review concepts before our annual standardized testing and after our long breaks.

  • Refresh my own understanding of math.

  • Learn more functions of the TI-83 myself.

  • Calculate my options for refinancing, now that I know how to!
As a serious tightwad, I would recommend purchasing a membership to Math Tutor DVD Member's Area if you are a math-challenged parent. It gives all of your students instant access to:
  • View all Math Video Courses Online 24/7!
  • Over 170 Hours of Video!
  • Basic Math thru Calculus and Physics!
  • View unreleased lessons not yet on DVD!
  • New material released weekly!
  • Members save 25% on all DVD courses!
  • Download worksheets!
  • Extra worked problems and solutions!
  • Members Only Discussion Forums!
  • Articles, tips and techniques by Jason Gibson!
  • $19.95 per month is an excellent value for families with multiple children!
Click the link below, to see the other resources available.

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I received these two dvd sets free of charge from MathTutorDVD in exchange for an honest opinion.

2 comments:

Denise said...

My daughter and I really enjoyed watching the calculator video too! It honestly made me want to go purchase a calculator just to practice with it.

ssmurray said...

These DVD's sound great. I always wanted to learn how to use my calculator to its full potential and teach my kids to do the same.

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