Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Math Tutor DVD

Math Tutor DVD has, you guessed it, math DVDs.  Their products have focused on more advanced math, but they do now have products ranging from Preschool to Calculus 3, and also Physics.

As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received two products for review:  Young Minds Numbers and Counting and The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor.

The Young Minds DVD is one of their newest products, and it is meant to teach counting from 1-10.  However, with the way it is set up, it does far more.  There is classical music playing in the background, stunning photographs, and not only are they counting, but they are making a statement about each photo too.

For instance, in one of the sections you are counting fruit.  Now, this includes your basic stuff:  apples and oranges.  But it also includes things like figs.  And with each picture, after counting, they make statements like, "These apples are yellow."  (I loved that the apples weren't red!!)

Other sections have you counting animals (and hearing animal sounds), or vehicles for transportation.  The vocabulary used is fairly rich, the photos are beautiful, the music is wonderful.

My 3 (almost 4) year old loves this DVD.  My 5 (almost 6) year old enjoys it, but doesn't request it.  Even my big guys will stop what they are doing to watch.

This DVD is available for $19.99, and it will get plenty of use in my home.

The other product I received is part of MathTutorDVD's regular line.  Basic Math Word Problem Tutor is an 8 hour course designed for elementary ages.  It is assumed that the student has learned the basic operations, and this is meant to help them learn how to apply that knowledge to word problems.  However, the instructor does walk you through the mechanics of doing the problem too, particularly in areas like converting fractions

The DVD is broken into fifteen lessons of roughly a half hour each.  The first four cover the four basic operations with whole numbers, the next four cover those operations with decimals, then four more with fractions.  The final three lessons are on percents, ratios and proportion.

The presentation is a bit dry -- the instructor standing in front of a white board, talking, or writing out the problems.  But the content is excellent.  We watched one lesson at a time, 2-3 lessons per week.  My older guys could have gone a bit faster, but I wouldn't want to do more than one lesson per day.

My oldest son is sitting through this, although he is currently in Algebra II.  I'll quote him:
"I like it.  It gets the point across, though it is a little dry."  When I asked him if he would be interested in some of the other products that MathTutorDVD puts out, he definitely wanted to hear the list.  He was impressed with the options, and told me that he thinks this would be a solid supplement to his upper level math, and that it would be really nice for his brothers to have available too.  And he insisted on watching some of the samples (calculus in particular).

My fifth grader is really enjoying the DVDs.  He wants to be pausing the DVD so he can solve the problem first.  This has been perfect for him.  The math is easy enough to give him confidence, and to let him focus on the point of the lesson -- the concepts being discussed.

My third grader loved the first half (whole numbers and decimals), but started to zone out in fractions.  I lost him when they started covering multiplication of fractions.  I will repeat this for him down the road.  I think the first half was fantastic for him though.

This DVD sells for $26.99 -- or just under $3.50 per hour

Check out the website, where you can see samples of these DVDs, and their other products too.  I am very interested in their upper level courses, especially after just now getting Connor's take on them.

While I think this is a terrific product for my family, it may not be a good fit for yours.  I have children who tend to do pretty well with math.  They don't need flashy presentations if they are ready for the material, and they are willing to sit through "dry" (you notice both Connor & I used that word) if they see value in what they are hearing.  The samples, in my opinion, do a very good job of showing what the program is like, so I highly recommend watching those.

And you can check out what my fellow crewmates have to say about Math Tutor DVD at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive the two courses mentioned in the review for free from Math Tutor DVD.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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CookieMonster said...

I am so glad to find at least one other person who found the word problem instruction to be "dry" *wink*. Everyone else is just in love with the video and I felt like the odd man out.

I like it that your kids find value in the videos, despite their no-frills nature. I want my kids to be able to do the same when they are this age.

Debra said...

Well, I try to call it like I see it... and dry was just such an appropriate word.

Thanks for the comment! I've been struggling with a lot of stuff lately, and even with writing up this review, it hadn't hit me that my older two kids were showing a lot of maturity in their assessment of this. I reread what I wrote, and that seems obvious. But somehow I wasn't giving them that credit in my head.

Maybe all my chanting of "It doesn't have to be fun. It has to get DONE." has sunk in. Ya think?