Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TOS Crew: Math Tutor

Math has sometimes been a tough subject to teach while homeschooling Jacob.  Anyone who reads my blog knows I've talked about this before....but God knows all our weaknesses, and He has certainly provided the supplements and helps that we have needed this year, through the Crew.  I am so thankful for that.  This review is a little different, as instead of reviewing a website or a textbook, we got to review a couple of DVDs from Math Tutor.

The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor, an 8 hour video course, comes with 2 DVDs and covers basic word problems in several areas, including the following:
  • Adding Whole Numbers
  • Subtracting Whole Numbers
  • Multiplying Whole Numbers
  • Dividing Whole Numbers
  • Adding Decimals
  • Subtracting Decimals
  • Multiplying Decimals
  • Dividing Decimals
  • Adding Fractions
  • Subtracting Fractions
  • Multiplying Fractions
  • Dividing Fractions
  • Percents, Part 1
  • Percents, Part 2
  • Ratio and Proportion

Since Jacob is only in 2nd grade, we concentrated on the Adding and Subtracting Whole Numbers sections of the video.  He has struggled with word problems a little bit, so this was a great review for him.  The instructor in the videos is Jason Gibson, a former NASA flight controller.  In the videos, Mr. Gibson emphasizes to the student to try to "Understand what the problem is really asking you."  He also emphasizes that practice is key, and he only talks to the student for a very short time before actually delving into practice problems.  Most of the video is filled with problems to solve, which are written down at the bottom of the screen, so that the student can both hear the problem and read the problem.  Then, Mr. Gibson works the problems on the board, providing many illustrations and pictures to help the student in solving.  He does every problem step by step, breaking it down into parts.  He even emphasizes labeling the problem, which helps the student to associate the numbers with the parts.  At the beginning of each section, such as addition or subtraction, he gives certain key words that go along with those types of problems, such as total, how many in all, how much more, how much less, what is left over, etc.  Throughout the practice, he also reviews certain math skills that go along with each specific problem, such as carrying, lining up place value, counting forward or backward to add or subtract, borrowing, etc.  He also includes money problems, which I thought was good, seeing as dollar and cent signs seem to trip Jacob up at times.  The thing I would recommend is having your child sit and watch the DVD with notebook and pencil in hand, so he can work right along with the instructor.

This video has no frills to it, as it is a math DVD, helping students to understand word problems, but it's definitely a huge help.  I did notice that the addition section seemed to be very basic problems, but the subtraction section dove into more complex problems.  You can hear testimonials and see sample videos of this DVD here.  You can purchase this 8 hour DVD for $26.99 from Math Tutor DVD.  Right now, they have a special going, in which Each new Math Tutor DVD customer receives 60 minutes of FREE live online tutoring available 24/7 through! A $35.00 Value!  I definitely recommend this DVD if your child struggles with word problems. 

The next DVD we received is one that I loved, loved, loved.  It was the Young Minds- Numbers and Counting DVD. This DVD kept Jaden mesmerized for more than half of it, and Jacob loved the games and pictures on it.  With classical music by some of the greatest composers who ever lived, such as Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Pachelbel, Chopin, etc., and bright, vivid, colorful images to go along with the music, I recommend this DVD for any parent with young toddlers/children.  As the movie progresses, it shows beautiful images of animals/wildlife, fruits, flowers, modes of transportation, inanimate objects, nature, etc., and it includes numbers with these.  There is a set number of objects in each picture, and it starts at 1, eventually showing pictures with up to 10 objects for the child to count.  The numbers are shown as the child's voice on the video counts.  Your child can count right along with the movie.  With each picture, certain facts or sounds or colors are given that the child can associate with that picture.  For example, Jaden especially enjoyed and giggled with the "moo" cow.  He also enjoyed the sounds of the backhoes.  With each new number that is introduced, there is a new musical piece to go along with it.  I could honestly feel the learning taking place and the brain cells growing while watching this video....:) 

There are also bonus features to go along with the video, and these include puzzles, counting the dots, and a game called Guess the Animal.  My boys especially loved guessing which animal was in the picture, as the screen started with a close-up of the animal and gave certain riddles for the child to guess at; as the riddle went on, the screen panned out to show which animal it was talking about.  You can watch a sample video to give you an idea of how this DVD works.

I highly recommend this DVD.  I plan to use it with Jaden to help him learn his numbers.  I am so excited to have gotten the opportunity to review this DVD, and I can't say enough good things about it.  You can purchase the Young Minds DVD from Math Tutor for $19.99.  This DVD has received several awards, including the Creative Child Magazine 2009 Top Choice Award.  

To read more reviews, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

(Disclosure: I received these DVDs, free of charge, from Math Tutor, in association with the TOS Homeschool Crew.) 


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