Tuesday, February 24


I had a completely different kind of math program to review with Ethan. We tried Math Tutor DVD's by Jason Gibson. Jason is an engineer for NASA and knows his stuff. His real ability though, lies in making the complex seem so simple. These dvd's are intended to supplement a math program. These are, truly, tutoring dvd's....and for a lot cheaper than you could hire a tutor.

Ethan and I reviewed "Fractions Thru Algebra" which was basically a Pre-Alg thru Algebra. Mostly just Ethan. I tried many times over to sit through the dvd with him, but the quality was not good on this recording. Jason warned me that this was an early dvd and that the subsequent series are greatly improved. In this early Algebra 1 dvd, I can hear every mouth noise, every breath through the nose, and the picture is fuzzy. Ethan doesn't seem to notice these things at all, so I mostly just monitored his progress.

From the few times I sat through lessons, I noticed a few minor annoyances. He referred to Integers as positive and negative numbers, not as positive and negative whole numbers. Nitpicky, I know. He accidentally listed "1" in a string of Prime numbers. He made several number errors, such as 7/3 = 6.something. He corrected many, but not all of these mistakes and the numbers themselves were not the focus of the problems being worked, but the concept instead, so these things really are minor. I would just like to see them edited better. I shared the dvd covers with a Mathy friend of mine (yes, mathy) and she noticed that trinomial factoring doesn't seem to be covered in the Alg 1 or Alg 2 dvd's. Since this is a common concept (and a commonly confused concept,) so surely it is introduced in a later dvd available.

So, those were my negative thoughts. But the man knows math. And better yet, he can convey math. Mr. Gibbons has a very conversational tone. He takes intimidating concepts and shares them in a way that doesn't sound, even a little bit, like a foreign language. He is also happy to work with you. He worked carefully with me to determine which program level Ethan would need.

Ethan grasped the concepts very well under these dvd's and he has not had an algebra class before. Everything was explained so well, he couldn't help but grasp it. I liked that the problems were presented with variations, but Ethan hated this part. He was able to grasp the ideas quickly and didn't like sitting through too many explanations of the same concept. It was a bit redundant.

The dvd sets also have optional cd's of worksheets to reinforce and/or quiz on concepts. The dvd lessons take about half an hour each and each accompanying worksheet section took about the same amount of time. I had Ethan on the dvd's one day and worksheets the next.

The dvd that I watched, which Jason warned me was of a lesser quality than the rest of his dvd's, had the feel of a home movie focused up close on a whiteboard. I saw nothing but Jason's hand as he worked the problems with amazingly good handwriting. He speaks conversationally to the students, but doesn't lecture; he gets right down to business. I read that in the other dvd's you get to see him standing in front a whiteboard, not just his hand. There are sample videos so you can get a feel for the program, from basic math to advanced calculus.

Much cheaper than a tutor and is guaranteed to improve scores or your money back. I believe it. He loves it and he shares his knowledge well. If I ever have trouble helping Ethan with his upper level maths, I will be referring to Math Tutor DVD's again.

1 comment:

Christy said...

Me and math never got along. That is quite honestly the biggest obstacle for me when it came to homeschooling. GULP.

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