Saturday, March 7, 2009

Math Tutor

If you've struggled with math in your own past, the thought of trying to teach it to your children may send you running from the room in a panic. Thankfully there are numerous resources available to help explain math concepts to your kids...and help keep you in the same room.

Math Tutor provides a set of DVD courses that range from the very basic (addition and subtraction of whole numbers) all the way through to the very advanced (calculus 1,2, and 3). I was able to take a look at two, 2-DVD sets: The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor (8 hours of instruction) and The Algebra 2 Tutor (6 hours of instruction).

The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor starts off with simple addition and subtraction word problems, then ones that involve multiplication and division, and finally word problems using decimals with those same four math processes. It is straightforward and no-frills. It's just the instructor working out word problems from start to finish giving explanations as he goes. The second DVD goes through word problems using fractions, percents, ratios, and proportions.
The Algebra 2 Tutor goes over graphing equations, slope, writing equations of lines, graphing inequalities, and then solving systems of equations by graphing, substitution, or addition. The second DVD explains solving systems of equations in three variables, working with radical expressions, fractional exponents, solving polynomial equations, and the quadratic formula.

My final verdict: I am not struggling to explain basic math and related word problems to my daughter (doing simple addition and subtraction right now), so I haven't gotten to really "test out" these tutors on a student. The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor seems pretty much what I do for my daughter, just with someone else explaining it and working it on a dry erase board. There is a small audio glitch in my first DVD where the sound disappears for about 2 seconds, but other than that I have no issues with the recording quality.
Admittedly the Algebra 2 set does not cover all topics that would be included in an Algebra 2 course. The instructor covers the ones he feels are most important to understand. If your student is having problems in a particular area, be sure to see the website to get a complete list of areas covered by the DVD tutor.
I actually enjoy and understand (for the most part) math concepts taught through the high school level. I'm not sure I will use the Math Tutor DVD's very much, but I am just starting out in homeschooling. I may discover that my daughter struggles to understand my explanations of math later on, especially as the explanations get more lengthy and complex. I think the Math Tutor instructor gives a simple, though a bit dry, walk-through of concepts. I like that he works through example after example so that the student can see the concepts illustrated clearly and repeatedly (and it's on DVD, so of course we can replay at will). I can see Math Tutor being a valuable asset for someone who is uncomfortable at explaining math concepts to their children or who maybe is at a loss to know where to start because math is not their own strong point. The price seems a bit steep to me (about $27 per DVD), but I suppose if you figure in what a private tutor would cost then the price is immediately reasonable as long as your student will benefit. Math Tutor has a limited time bonus available: every new Math Tutor DVD customer will receive 60 minutes of FREE online tutoring available 24/7 through (valued at $35.00).

1 comment:

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