Showing posts with label Math. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Math. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do you need help? Math 911 a TOS review

I must confess, I have posted many reviews this past year of online math programs. In fact I think as a new school year resolution, I will stop reviewing math products. So here is my final math program review for the school year. Random, who likes a lot of flash, said it seemed like an older program. He wanted the bells and whistles, but was disappointed. This to me is the strength of the program. It's math, not entertainment.

Math 911 is unique as an online program because it doesn't have any frills, prizes, game centers or rewards. It is what the name implies. It's simply math rescue, yet on a computer created by Professor Martin Weissman.

Who is Dr. Weissman?

Martin Weissman has been a math teacher for 49 years. He is an Orthodox Jew who observes the Sabbath and adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah. He sent his children to Parochial Jewish schools called Yeshivas. Interestingly, his two children also became Mathematics teachers.

Some great features about Math911 is the undistracting manner in which it is presented. Topics are arranged by chapter, section and levels. Within each level are various types of problems that identify the concepts that your students must know in order to be successful in Algebra including Graphs and Word Problems.

All problems are algorithmically generated. 

10 minute learning curve. 

Step by Step solutions. 

Only Free-form answers. 

Dynamic Grade reports on all screens. 

Needs no internet connection. 

Can be networked. 

Free Home Use For Teachers 

Free Upgrades 

Free Install on New PCs 

The best feature, in my opinion is the price. The complete Math911 program is available at for a discounted price of $49.95. That price includes Introductory Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Statistics, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus, including free tech support. This can be used for additional students in the family. This discounted membership also includes Algebra in a flash as seen below.

If you are skeptical, you can try a free download of the Introductory Algebra course from the website. I recommend this program for students who are ready to tackle pre-algebra and above.

Click here or below to see what other crew members thought of this thrifty math program.


As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 

Thanks for stopping by,

If you enjoy my reviews, enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mind The Gaps With IXL: A Review

As member of the Schoolhouse review crew, I have had the opportunity to try IXL, an online math program. In exchange for a free membership, I was obligated to share my opinions on my blog. I am not paid to say nice things, so read on for my thoughts of IXL.
If you read my blog regularly, you will notice I have reviewed multiple online math programs. I must confess, I am really old-fashioned when it comes to math. I'm convinced it needs to be done with a pencil and an eraser on paper. As the student advances, there will be plenty of mental math, but always a pencil. You may have noticed my lack of gushing over online math programs. Until today. 

I have found a program that has everything I need to supplement or mind the gaps in my children's math education, at least up to the level of algebra. 

How so?
  • IXL is very user friendly, the sign up and sign in process took about a minute or two. 
  • The web site was easy to navigate. I can find my way quickly to the skills I would like my son to practice. 
  • I actually enjoyed playing it myself. Little Guy and I worked through some third grade math and he's pretty fast. We were racing each other, he would try to answer them orally before I began typing the answers.
  • The record keeping is clear. Skills, scores, timers and awards show tangible progress. The reports show areas for improvement, an invaluable tool for those preparing for standardized tests.

  • After little guy worked on his math, I received emails with links to print the certificate as he mastered skills. They also receive virtual prizes. Little Guy wasn't fooled by this, he decided he would rather have a real prize. Sorry son, hard work is it's own reward.
  • It is easy to customize, I can enter a personal picture of them as their user icon. Which I did after I downloaded this certificate.
  • The student can work at any level. Little Guy is in 2nd grade, so he felt some things were 'easy peesey lemon squeezy'. I solved that by moving him up a level. You can even hide the grade levels and the timers if they become a distraction.

  • The cost per student per year is reasonable. The first student is $79 per year and each additional student is $20 or $2 per month. The fact that each student can work on any grade skill makes this a bargain for families with math loving kids.

Click here to see what other crew members thought about this math program. Visit IXL and poke around their web site, this may be the right program to keep your kids dabbling in math over the summer. 


I'm so thankful we had a chance to try this program.
Thanks for stopping by,

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Don't miss another post! Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pearson My Math Lab, Algebra 2: A Review and Test

I was given the opportunity to try an online math program with Paperboy last month. While we were planning for his 11th grade courses, he mentioned he would like to try some online courses. This was perfect timing to try Algebra 2 and see if we wanted to make the transition from paper and pencils to keyboard. 

What is My Math Lab?

Pearson offers all levels of Math courses online. Paperboy, while wrapping up Geometry, tried Algebra 2.
MyMathLab Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are two fully-digital programs by award-winning author Elayn Martin-Gay that provide parents with rich and flexible course materials that will engage your child. This personalized learning experience ensures your child’s success in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  
This is a fully-digital course.  The Student Access Kit is $49.97 while the Parent Access Kit is an additional $30.00.  Instructions are included for registering and setting up your course.  The accounts include everything you need to complete the course including teaching instruction, practice problems, homework, quizzes, and tests.

Pearson offers much more than math.
I poked around their web site and I was impressed with all of their resources. They have links to all of the state standards for math. There are chances to win their courses. Every homeschooling parent should visit their resource page. You can find out your child's learning style, read other reviews of curriculum, and learn how to help your child in all areas of learning.

My thoughts:
While I am pretty confident with my computer skills, I had difficulty navigating the web site. After the initial sign up for the teacher and the student, I felt like I was going in circles trying to find the login for the lesson. Paperboy's experience was neutral. After the initial start up, he decided he would be happy with or without it. Of course I can't always expect each curriculum to cause a stir of excitement. I appreciated that each lesson offers clear explanations, videos, immediate feedback for students and reports for the teachers. The total price of $79.97 for a full high school course with all of the support is a phenomenal deal. 

Who Could Benefit from Pearson My Math Lab?
Parents who are new to homeschooling.
Parents who are math phobic.
Students who need remedial help.
Students who travel, online based programs can be used anywhere with online access.

The Homeschool Crew reviewed other programs created by Pearson. You can click here to read their experiences with their social studies, math and reading programs.

I was provided this course for free in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinions are entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by,  
If you enjoy honest reviews of homeschooling products, never miss a beat, enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set Giveaway Closed!

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to the winner, Caterina. She has been contacted. Thanks to all who have entered.

In my past life before homeschooling and more babies, I had a career that I loved. I was a pre-school teacher at a local Heart Start Program. When I was began to review Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set, the flash backs started. One of the past philosophies of Head Start when I worked there was to educate the parents in the developmental stages of preschoolers. We essentially were role modelling and teaching parents how to teach their children. In each station around the classroom, there were stated educational goals and how a child's play in that area could meet the goals.

When I began reading through the cards for Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set, I knew the author had a great idea: Teach the parents how to present math to their children in simple games, while having fun. These incremental activities use common household items and free print outs from their web site. The cards first explain the basics of teaching math to young children and their thoughts on learning. The cards have clear instructions for the parent to teach each of the 40 activities. Children can advance through these steps at their own speed. After your child completes each of the three levels, you can print up a certificate to celebrate their achievement.

Any parent using these cards could quickly have their math teaching confidence boosted. If you are math phobic mom with little ones, run to order this program. Or enter this fabulous giveaway below. You can find more information at their site. To win your own set of these game cards, you can enter below in the comments sections. You have up to 5 chances to win.

  1. Tell that you want to win.
  2. Follow my blog or admit below that you already do.
  3. Subscribe and let me know.
  4. Like Mathhouse Games on facebook.
  5. Tell me what 10 plus 10 equals.
Leave a way for me to contact you or stalk my blog to find out if you are a winner. I'll announce a winner on Saturday October 15th.

Thanks for stopping by.

On a side note...
And now to satisfy the ever increasing need of the government to control our free speech:
"Disclosure of material Connection: I recieved the movie listed above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and beli8eve would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in advertising."

If you don't want to miss another giveaway, enter your email address:

  Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kahn Academy: Free Online Classes

It seems like I am always the last to find out about so many excellent resources. Perhaps one person who reads my blog, will be introduced this most excellent site. Below is an overview of the Kahn Academy.

Random and Paperboy will be spending time this summer on this site. Since Random has discovered he loves online learning, thanks to Ten Marks, he was excited when I shared this with him. I like the idea of short videos, they are 10 to 20 minutes long. Just enough time for the brain to absorb the concept, but not to start the eyes glazing. I'm learning about the banking system and I haven't dozed yet.

This is not just videos, there is an area on the website where student can practice concepts, receive badges, while being tracked by their coach, me. As the coach, I can even see exactly which problems they struggled with, needed more help, and how much time they spent on it. Knowing exactly at what point in the math lesson the student begins to struggle, is invaluable as their teacher.

The instructor Sal Kahn began Kahn Academy, accidentally, by tutoring his cousins. He created videos to enhance his lessons, posted them on YouTube and it grew into an amazing library of instruction. He realized there was a need for this type instruction. Now he shares all of his lesson for free at his website. His story is incredibly inspiring.

One thing that really impressed me is the equipment he uses to produce these videos only cost him $280. The potential to help others is priceless.

Let me know what you think of his tutoring. So far, I love it. In case you are wondering, this isn't a paid review. It's just a really great website that you need to know about.

Thanks for stopping by,

If you enjoy free homeschool resources, enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday, February 28, 2011

Better late than never... my thank you note

I have to confess, I am not so great at timely thank you cards. I'm like the bride who knows she has up to a year to send out the cards. I am filled with thankful thoughts, I ponder these all the time. But do I put a pen to paper and actually send out the notes? Not enough. 

With a blog, I can send a public thank you letter. No stamp needed. It's a nice way to let the whole world read our mail, without violating any federal laws by opening up other people's mail. If you are not the HSBA Post or Math-U-See, consider yourself legally tampering with someone's mail. 

Math-U-See gets a huge thank you. I have been a long time fan of Mr. Demme for years. I feel it is God's provision. When I was awarded the 2010 Thrifty Homeschool Blog Award, one of my prizes, was the Stewardship Math program. I had been debating purchasing it at the last two homeschool conferences I attended, but I didn't need it yet. I have learned my lesson on overbuying curriculum. I was practicing passive thrift waiting for something. My boys will be ready for it in the fall. Here is the loveliness that arrived on my doorstep...

I knew I was getting the set of books.

The bag was a surprise, I love surprises!
The folks at Math-U-See must know I have bag lady issue. I currently own about 30+ bags and it is never enough. You will see me proudly toting this puppy to my next homeschool gathering. It will make a great conversation starter. Unless they read this post.

I am thrilled that we will have a chance to cover consumer math from a biblical perspective. Thank you Math-U-See for the Stewardship Program! 

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!

Thank you to the HSBA Post. I love your blog, your writers, your support and your prizes. There is always a timely message for homeschool moms. 

If you haven't visited The Post, what are you waiting for?

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Marks: A review

From time to time I will be posting reviews of products as part of the TOS homeschool crew. I do not receive any compensation for these reviews, just a chance to try the products with my lovely guinea pigs  children. In exchange for the product, I share my honest opinions and experiences.

What is Ten Marks?

This is an online math program for students from third grade through high school. It is marketed as a supplement for homeschoolers and public schoolers. I am using it with two of my boys.. Paperboy, is in his last term of Algebra with a real math book, so I signed him up for Geometry. Random is using it for 8th grade math. He is not using any other program besides Tenmarks. This online program offers video instruction, hints, assigned online worksheets, tests, and progress reports. There are incentives for mastering concepts in the form of online games as rewards. After you sign up, they send you email reminders of the worksheets assigned and their due dates.

What do I think about it?

At this point in our homeschooling years, I must confess. I am tired of correcting math papers. O.K. I said it. I used to fantasize about being a math teacher when I grow up. After 9 years of homeschooling, I am cured of that dream. And now my reality has improved, Ten Marks corrects the work for me. I love you Tenmarks. That alone has been a blessing to me. If only they would correct Paperboy's algebra work for me.

Paperboy's Experience:

For the first few lessons, Paperboy was soaring. I was worried that it would be too easy. Three lessons later, he found out Geometry is not a piece of cake. Paperboy has never been fond of video instructions. He tolerates the instructions and quickly tries to figure it out all by himself. This is where the hints offered came in handy. Then he realized using the hints kept him in the concept longer because he had not mastered the subject. I love it that there are no shortcuts in learning here. He loves the program and will continue with it through geometry.

Random's  experience.

Random and math are like oil and water. Despite his bitterness, has decided this is his favorite math program. He has always loved any work that is done on the computer and this is no exception. I watched as he was introduced to exponents and the Pythagorean theory, and waited for the tears. They never came. He isn't scoring strait A's in his work, but Tenmarks is keeping track of his strengths and weaknesses and will keep assigning him what he needs. I look forward to seeing improvement in his math scores when he takes the Stanford Achievement tests in the spring. Math is warm and fuzzy again to him.

My Experience

This is a keeper in our home. I would love to share an update at the end of our school year. At first, I had a nagging doubt that using it exclusively for a student may not be rigorous enough. I learned that I can assign extra practice sheets to maintain my title of 'mean math mom'. I choose the extra worksheet for the day based on the report that I can access to see my son's progress. I contacted customer service by email with some questions. I am pleased to say they answered my questions within an hour. There were a few times when there server was colossally slow or wouldn't load. I came back an hour or so later and the problem was resolved. I later found out it was an isolated incident which was resolved the next day.

Because this is internet based, when Random takes off for sunny Arizona next month, he can still keep up on his math work. If I was a really nice mom, I could use the hold or vacation feature that is available, but I'm not. He will be accessing it from Pops and Grandma's house and I will be able to check his progress. How neat is that?

If you are interested in Tenmarks for your family, here are few more details:
It's price structure is as follows:
$10 per month per student
$49 for a 1/2 year
$89 for a whole year.
Visit their site Don't take Random's word for it, see what my other crew mates have to say about Tenmarks over here. If you're thrifty like me, try Tenmarks here for free. If you are a visual learner, click on this funny video below that explains Tenmarks much better than I can.

If you wish to never miss one of my reviews, enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Virtual Nerd...not me, a product review

Throughout the school year, I will be reviewing products as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Review crew. I received these items free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. I am thankful for the chance to try new things and I hope you enjoy hearing about our experiences.

If you can't stand the thought of missing a blog post, enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


What is it?
Virtual Nerd is a relatively new web site offering endless math tutorial videos for upper level math courses. This was a timely opportunity, as Paperboy is concurrently taking Algebra and Geometry. I am rusty and often find myself re-learning concepts before our next 'math meeting'. The website covers pre-algebra, algebra one, algebra two and physics. They soon will be offering geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, physics with trig, biology, and chemistry. They charge a monthly access fee of $49 for parents. Their mission statement is:
Provide the essential benefits of private tutoring in a way that is convenient, affordable, and effective. Courses include math and science and features a personalized learning experience using our Dynamic
How we used this in our home:

Paperboy right away needed assistance in factoring polynomials. Often we discuss a lesson together and he goes along on his merry way to complete it. About 1/2 way through the assignment, he may wander from the principles just learned. This time instead of having another meeting with him, I easily found a video to tutor him. The site is fantastic in the way they arrange the lessons. I had no trouble finding the right video. We both liked the simplicity of the screen, with the explanations clearly written on the side bar. At the end of each short lesson, they checked to see if we needed more tutoring and offered a chance for feedback.

Full Screen 3 Areas

We used the pre-algebra lessons with Random. He felt they were very clear. His current math program uses similar tutorials. He preferred Virtual Nerd because the accents are not heavy and the explanations are not as deep. It seems they offer the minimum amount of information in the concept, reducing the chance of overwhelming the student. He liked the bit by bit approach. He had a great suggestion: if they partnered with homeschool math programs, they would be a great company.

I, just for fun watched some of the physics tutorials. I have never had a physics class and for that I am thankful. If my children do advance to physics in our homeschool, I will have to count on a tutor or a site like this. It's nice to know there are options for physics phobic parents like myself.

What I like about Virtual Nerd:

I felt the strength of the site is the search option and the simplicity of the videos. I believe that many parents desire to continue homeschooling through high school but feel inadequate when it comes to advanced math and sciences. Accessing these short tutorials at a moments notice is handy and much less costly than a private tutor. While it is not teaching from a Christian perspective, I did not come across anything offensive or contrary to my beliefs. Virtual Nerd can be an excellent 'tutoring system' for parents like myself who have committed to homeschooling high school.

Below is an example of their price structure.

If you aren't ready to make a commitment there is a free two hour trial. You can visit their web site or contact them at 1-877-677-NERD. To see an excellent 2 minute video explanation click here. Other crew members shared their thoughts on Virtual Nerd here. Overall, I loved the site because I do have a nerdy streak in me. I can see our family utilizing this in the future when our 'math meetings' go beyond Algebra two.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Aleks Math Program: A Review


As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, Aleks gave me a free one-month subscription to their web site. I am obligated to provide you with an honest review. I received no compensation for this review.

What is Aleks?????
Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn.

In my words: ALEKS is a computer based math program suited for students from grade 3 through 12th. There is even higher education available on their website. It can be used on a pc or Mac.

Honestly, this has been my most difficult item to review all year. When you are happy with your current math program, there is a natural resistance to try something new. When you are dealing with small technical problems, it is easy to cop an attitude. So when we jumped in, we had three bad attitudes. One adult and two students.

The technology is fascinating. I was amazed at how it worked. I wish I could say my children shared my zeal. You see there is a learning curve as you start a new program. Math has always been done with a paper and pencil around here, and preferably done in the head. Making a switch to doing math on a computer using was tricky despite the excellent explanations throughout the program. To be fair, the program has an excellent approach to holding the user's hand through each step of course. 

How we used it:

At first I almost missed the whole point, I only signed up Random for the Quicktables. This is a fast paced review of the times and division tables. I assumed(bad Mommy) he would wrap this up in a short time and we would move on to a math course. This lasted for more than 2 weeks and I realized that we would not have time to really try a full course if he didn't finish soon. I had to cancel the Quicktables program and begin the Algebra Readiness course. The assessment brought him close to tears of frustration. This coupled with the fact that he had already done his other math program that day created for a sour experience.

I decided to start Paperboy on it. He made it through the assessment. There were many moments of frustration during the actual test. Inputing fractions, exponents and numbers into the program was a source of stress for him. It was easy to make mistakes even with the support on each page. Once he began the program, he had more problems with it. When one mistake was found in a set of three problems, he did not know which problem was incorrect. He also felt annoyed having to redo all of the problems to figure out which was correct. He worked with the program, but never bonded with it. 

I had hoped this would be a hit as it could relieve my load of correcting papers. I did not have to correct their math and  I received progress reports directly via email. How cool is that?

Here is a sample of the Algebra pie from Paperboy's course
If you notice, he mastered 90 of the 257 topics. 
I just love this. I like my kids to see how much they have accomplished and how much more they need to do. It is like a math journey where they can see the answer to "Are we there yet?"
The student gets to choose which subject they would like to tackle. As they master the fundamentals, they eventually move on to the most complex lessons. This lesson planning is ingenious.

Just because my boys didn't love it, doesn't mean it is not a great program. I think a younger child could run with a program like this. Once you overcome the input issues, the course is very thorough. I appreciate the aspect that once you master a concept, there will be a small amount of review, but you can choose whether you want to continue practicing a concept. 

Some more great points of Aleks:
  • The abiltiy to create worksheets, this is great if one  if you cannot be at a computer. Some days we need to bring work on the road with us, not a computer.
  • Visual results, the pie chart shows mastery of the course.
  • There is no drill and kill, the students moves quickly through the concepts.
  • Anytime a term is not understood, there is an explanation available
  • The customer support is almost immediate, my login problems were answered before I had a chance to ask the questions.
  • I know I already mentioned this but it needs repeating. The program corrects the work for you, woo hoo.
  • It is priced very fairly, with discounts for multiple students. You receive individualized instruction at a fraction of the cost of a human tutor.  A subscription to ALEKS for an individual student is:
    • $19.95 per month 
    • only $99.95 for 6 months!   Six months for the cost of five
    • only $179.95 for 12 months!   Best Deal: You save $59.45 

Stop by the Crew blog and see what others have said about Aleks. Now, I want you to be a thrifty homeschooler and not just run over to their site and jump in. Use this button below to try it for yourself for free. You will discover a whole new way to teach math. 

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Great Learning Tools...Games

This Thanksgiving, Little Guy played his first ever Monopoly game with Daddy. He is hooked. He has always loved games. Counting money, planning strategies and taking turns are some skills that are 'caught' as opposed to 'taught' while playing. Little Guy is only six but he has a few favorites already:
  • Battleship
  • Monopoly
  • Uno
  • Trouble
  • Memory
  • Banagrams(we bend the rules here)
  • crazy eights
  • Guess Who
I came across this one the other day. This creative game is funny, but if I think too hard about it, I may cry.

This homeschooling family obviously has some insight into our current economic climate. Bailout The Game is available for only $7.99 and has been out for about a year. I am not sure how successful it has been, but I think it could be a great tool. It would be nice if each member of congress, the President and his cabinet had this game. Perhaps they could 'catch' some important principles they missed along the way. 

This could be the gift to give to the family member who has everything. If $7.99 is too steep for you, they make a card game for $4.99. 

Does your family have some favorites?
Do you use games in your homeschooling?
I would love some suggestions for games to play with mixed ages, 6 to adult. I'm ready for some new games.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Friday, November 19, 2010

KB Teacher Review: an answer to lapbooks and lost books


I was given the opportunity to review the online resource KB Teachers. 
What is it?

Christophe T. Popper, Founder and CEO describes it on his site:

"KnowledgeBears was founded in 1998 in New York, and our award winning KBears is now a leading online destination for children of all ages.

KBTeachers brings the best the web can deliver to you and your students -- It is the one-stop destination for teachers and parents who are always on the lookout for new and engaging 21st century teaching tools and materials.

KBTeachers is also about value, choice and transparency. We do not charge per download or per workbook.

For a low yearly or monthly fee, you get full access to all of our content and services--which would cost you $1000's of dollars elsewhere.

Before you join, you can preview our entire library, and after you join,
you have 30 days to cancel your membership and ask for a refund.

If you can't seem to find what you are looking for, contact us.
Chances are we have it! And if we don't, we will build it."

Because my boys are 13 and 14, we did not use this site to the fullest. I can see what a gold mine this can be to families with younger children or multiple-aged kids. Before I became the mean high school teacher mom, I used to be the fun mom. I planned lapbooks, and many themed learning adventures with my kids and other children in our homeschool co-op. K B teachers web site has so much to offer to this type of home schooling mom. Many of their pages include maps, labeling, handwriting, that are based upon themes. This is what fun lapbooking moms can appreciate. 

How I used it:

Random was given the pages to the weather unit. He admitted it was very easy for him. Well duh, it was 5th grade level. We had an Usborne book on Hurricanes for him to read and do the worksheets. This was a welcome break for him, from his regularly scheduled science lessons. I found these to be a great enrichment, but not a stand alone science program. I also used the math worksheets for Random when he misplaced his math textbook. Thanks to KB Teachers, he could not escape his math lesson.


The materials available are flexible. You can choose a variety of subjects, grade levels, topics, and activities. The options for printing and creating are endless. You can use color, black and white, landscape, portrait, choose your amount of problems and even download clip art. 

If your student needs math help, there are so many flexible worksheets to reinforce. There are telling time, math facts, money, fraction practice, decimal conversions. When I used these in a pinch, for Random, the math book loser, I was thankful the answer keys are included.

One of my favorite sections were the writing prompts. These are short lessons to improve a students descriptive writing. I printed some of these, I plan on incorporating these in our writing and grammar lessons. The endless English lessons span alphabet, handwriting, grammar, and persuasive essay.

Another bonus to this program was the founder frequently sends emails. These updates share the newest available pages. I appreciated that because I am ashamed to admit, I had joined a similar site, forgot about it and felt like I wasted my money.

Visit KB Teachers here at
Price: $29 one year subscription or $49 two year subscription
Ages: K-12, I say K-8
You have the opportunity to try it for 10 days for free. Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself here.

I received this product free of charge as part of the 2010 Old Schoolhouse Review. These are my own and my son's honest opinions. Read what other reviewers are saying about KB Teachers here.


I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

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 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 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.
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?"


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.

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