Thursday, February 19, 2009

Math Tutor DVD

This is what Ryan (age 8) reported to his dad after watching part of the Algebra 2 Math Tutor DVD's I was sent to review:

Dad: "What did you learn today?"
Ryan: "I learned algebra. Well, actually Algebra 2. And it was easy."

He then had me write him some equations, like y=4X-6, so he could demonstrate how to graph a line.

Then, Ryan: "And there's only 15 parts on the movie, so I'll learn all the rest in, oh, about 2 weeks."

Wow!!! Any math program that can make Algebra 2 interesting and understandable to an 8 year old is amazing. Not only did Ryan LEARN how to graph a linear equation, he remembers it and is excited about it. He also asked me to buy some of the other ones for him to watch and learn "for fun."

I received two Math Tutor DVD's to review: Basic Math Word Problems and Algebra 2. click me The word problems DVD covers adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, plus sections on percents and ratios. Ryan has always been good at math and he sat on the floor playing with magnetix while the instructor worked explained the problems. Then when a new problem was introduced, he would sit up, figure the answer and go back to playing. He was so excited to get it faster than the instructor. I had only planned to watch one section at a time, but Ryan kept asking for more. He watched several sections, including topics we haven't covered as much and was able to follow along and understand very easily. This one DVD covers most of the topics students learn through elementary school and would be great for kids struggling with word problems.

Pros: I would recommend these for students who are struggling with math or students who are gifted in math and would like an early introduction to advanced math topics, but still need practice on skills like long division. They are only $26.99 for 6 to 10 hours of instruction, much cheaper than a regular tutor. These would also be a great refresher course or introduction to go along with any public school or university math program.

Cons: If a student is already strong in an area (and not needing a tutor) these would probably be boring and the repeated explanations would be overkill. The DVD's are also not real exciting visually, basically a white board with a voice explaining how to work the problem. (This is also a plus because my son wasn't distracted and could focus on the math instead of cute visuals.) Also, this is not a complete curriculum and there are no practice problems on the DVD, however, worksheets are available at several levels that would make it more complete.

Overall, if you have a student struggling with any level of math, I would give these DVD's a try. They go through advanced calculus and advanced physics. I plan on buying more for Ryan to watch and learn from "for fun" so that when he reaches that level of math it will already be familiar to him. It also helps show him "WHY" it is important to practice the basic math skills.

There are several sample videos on the website.

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