One of the struggles I hear about most often from other homeschool parents is about trying to teach their children math. That's probably why there are so many math-help products out there to choose from. That in itself can be overwhelming. In my house, we have an interesting struggle. My brain works in numbers, and I am very good at math. I've taken college calculus and statistics. You would think I would have no problem teaching math. Well, that is half true. My 7-year old has a brain that works exactly like mine. Let me tell you, that is a homeschool parent's dream. It makes it so easy to teach them, because they just "get" what you tell them. My 11-year old, on the other hand, is very artistic. His strengths are in art, music, and video games - not math. It can be very frustrating for someone who completely understands something to teach it to someone that just doesn't understand what you are trying to have them do.
MathTutor DVD is one of the companies out there that is trying to help. However, let's be very clear that their DVD's are not just for homeschoolers. They are for any student struggling with math. They have levels ranging from learning to count through Calculus, and even Physics. I received two of their DVD's to review. The first is "Young Minds, Numbers and Counting". The second is "The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor, 8 Hour Video Course". I will go through them one at a time.
"Young Minds, Numbers and Counting" teaching counting from 1 to 10 through engaging photographs, classical music, animals, and everyday objects. My kids are both beyond that level, but I watched it anyway. It's hard to say whether small children would enjoy it. The photography is quite beautiful. It is great that the children can learn to count by using real life photos, many of animals. They are not only learning to count, but also learning vocabulary. The program is narrated by a child, and each new number uses a different classical song in the background. The DVD also contains a few bonus features: repeat play, guess the animal, connect the dots, and picture puzzles. They are not interactive, just demonstrated on the screen. This DVD sells for $24.99.
"The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor" was perfect for my children. My fifth grader especially struggles with word problems. The program is 2 discs, and 15 lessons. The lessons are broken up by operation. Disc 1 contains adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing whole numbers, and then decimals. Disc 2 covers fractions, percents, ratios and proportions. The DVD is set up to be able to choose which lesson you want to watch. Altogether, there are about 8 hours of lesson time. The teacher on the screen explains and breaks down each sample problem. The problem is printed across the bottom of the screen (see sample). He teaches students the key words to look for that determine which operation to use for the problem. That is the most common problem I see in math students. They do not know which operation to choose for a word problem. If you are looking for something exciting that is going to entertain your kids, this is not it. It is a math class after all. However, I feel the instructor, Jason Gibson, does a good job of presenting and breaking down the material. Click here to learn more about the instructor. This DVD sells for $26.99. This is definitely a program that I will use over and over again with my boys.