Wednesday, September 12


Math911 is an Introductory Algebra program that you can instantly download to your computer. At the moment, it is available for free. It's Algebra and it's free. This is a great combination of words for a homeschooling Mama.

According to Professor Weissman, "Math911 is for students who believe that Algebra must be a struggle, difficult and complicated. Math911 is the easiest and most economical solution for Algebra students. The Math911 approach is what learning Algebra should be: quick, fun, and easy. Math911 will let you absorb Algebra effortlessly."

Absorb seems to be the actual way students are expected to learn Algebra with this program, at least to me. Math911 uses what is called a Mastery Learning approach to teach math. While this method is not a good fit for me, I know that many students have great success with it. Mastery Learning simply means that a student continues to try for the right answer until they "get it". Wrong answers don't count; students just keep trying until it clicks. For some students, this takes the pressure off and they don't have to worry about getting the wrong answer, they get to figure the right answer out for themselves. For students like me, this method means that they might eventually figure out the method of how to get the right answer, but won't necessarily understand WHY the method works.

In addition to the Introductory Algebra Program, math911 has a Premium version that you can purchase for $49.95. This premium version includes Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Statistics. Every level of math that you'll ever need for $49.95 is a very good deal, if the program is a good fit for your student.

The Premium version includes free upgrades and technical support. Professor Weissman is very quick to respond to questions. Students have a running time clock that shows how much time they've spent in the lessons. It includes periodic testing and keeps track of grades for you. Students are scored on how much of the program they've completed, not on number of problems missed. You can also have multiple accounts for multiple students (including mom and dad if you're so inclined.)

The graphics are very dated. I'm a fan of simplicity and prefer to not have flashy graphics in a math program. As simple as the graphics are though, it still feels very busy to me. To work a problem, your eye has to travel the page. If you look at the graphic below, you'll see that the problem is listed near the top: "- 2 or - 9". The answer box is then in the middle of the screen, at the left. And then the instructions for what to do with the problem are located at the bottom of the screen. 

Much of the program is intuitive. There is not a lesson that explains how something works and then gives you sample problems to try. It begins immediately with a problem and you figure it out. If you get the wrong answer, you can click on a green box on the right that says "See Solution". This will give you the answer. If you are still unable to see how to arrive at the right answer, you can click on "See all the Steps". There is no textbook, but Professor Weissman insists it is not necessary. This is not a drill program; it is intended to be complete.

I tried entering a few problems incorrectly on purpose. For the problem " - ( + 2 ) " I entered, "2". When it marked it wrong, I clicked on "See All the Steps". And it gave me " - ( + 2 ) = - 2 " And the explanation at the bottom of the screen said "The opposite of a number in parenthesis is the number in parenthesis with the opposite sign." If that sounds helpful to you, you will probably really enjoy this program. For me, had I not known how to simplify the problem, reading about the "opposite of a number" would not help me understand the concept of positive and negative symbols.

Each student is different and it really is something you would want to try first to see if it was a good fit. For one of my sons, this method is perfect. If he figures it out on his own, he "owns" it through and through. However, the layout is not appealing to him and the "ding" sound that goes off each time you submit an answer is annoying, so it's still not a good fit for him. To get a feel for the program, you can download the complete Algebra Course for free right now as a back-to-school special offer. It is an instant download and easy to install, letting you know whether or not it's a good fit for your student.

The program can be shared on a network if you have multiple students and/or computers involved with Math911. The download is for PC only and will not work on a Mac.

Math911 also has a Flash Drive Algebra, for those who prefer a drive instead of a download. This is usually priced at $49.95, but with the promotion code: homeschool, you can purchase it for $9.95 plus shipping at Algebra in a Flash. This special will be ending soon.

Disclaimer: I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.

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