As part of the TOS crew, I was given access to an online math program from Math Essentials. It’s called “America’s Math Teacher”. It features online math videos with teacher Rick Fisher who works for the Oak Grove School District in California. The website offers a wide range of classes, from Basic Math, aimed at 4th and 5th grade students, to Algebra for high schoolers. There is also a handy “speed drill” game which teaches practice in basic facts that both of my kids loved!
The courses are broken down into lessons, which inlcude a short video (about 5-10 minutes in the younger courses, 5-15 in the older ones). Mr. Fisher does not actually appear in the videos, but you hear his voice as he does practice problems on the whiteboard. There are also printable activities to go with each lesson, which you can download as a PDF, and a complete answer key! My chidlren used both Basic Math (4th grader) and PreAlgebra (7th grader), as well as the speed drills.
My boys found the videos helpful and easy to understand, although it took them a while to get used to hearing a voice while watching numbers appear on the screen (at first they thought that was kind of strange 🙂 ) Concepts are thoroughly explained, and an ample number of problems are practiced. I appreciate the fact that the videos aren’t terribly LONG, more like, short clips. For my boys limited attention span, that was about all they could handle. I found that having them watch the video, and then do the practice sheet with the video still up on the computer, allowed them to play it back if they needed further explanation. My older son (7th grade), who has struggled with math in the past, found himself understanding exponents, and doing problems with integers, which makes it a success in my book!
My younger son really enjoyed the speed drill. He felt it was more of a game than anything, but it really allowed him to drill his facts. Students can practice all of the basic facts using the drill. It moves pretty quickly, making it a challenge for even older students.
I really liked the printables that were included with the program, because it allowed me to “see” that my kids were (or were not) understanding what they were doing. I was also able to pick and choose which lessons they did, which was nice because I didn’t HAVE to start with stuff they already knew!
Pricing for a year’s subscription for a homeschooling family is $195.00. I know that is high, and I might not have been able to afford it this year. However, if you are not strong in math, and are looking for an alternative to having you teach your child, the price really isn’t bad. For some other homeschool DVD math programs, you could easily pay $300.00 or more, so when you look at it like that, the price seems reasonable. Not to mention, you can access all the programs for that price, so you could have mulitple children using the website the same year.
The website for this program is : http://www.americasmathteacher.com/
It’s definitely worth checking out if you want some added help with teaching math to your kids!