Friday, September 10, 2010

America's Math Teacher - A Review

Math Essential
Product: America's Math Teacher

Price: $195/year for a family
(Try it for free with a sample of video lessons and printable exercises)

Instructor: Rick Fisher

Where to purchase: Homeschool Membership

Age Range: 4th-Algebra (soon to include Algebra II)

Other Products Available: School Memberships

Brief Overview:
America's Math Teacher is an online math curriculum and tutor wrapped in one. Mr. Fisher has made videos to cover the topics from 4th grade to Pre-Algebra. The topics are supported by printable exercises and online supplements. The courses align with the NCTM.

In-Depth Look:
This program states that it can be used as a curriculum or as a review/tutorial boost. There are a boat-load of lessons available on the site.

The first step would be for your child to take an evaluation; this will show you the best place for them to begin. Your child can pick one of 4 paths: Basic, Advanced, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra 2.

Once the child picks a path, they can watch tutorial videos online (free samples here). Next they print out worksheets for extra practice (free samples here).

Written worksheets

At any time, children can increase their basic fact recollection by using Speed Drills either online or on worksheets.
online speed drills

After watching the videos and honing their skills, quizzes and exams are available online. Students can email the results to parents, teachers, etc and also print out a certificate of completion if they pass.

So what did we think? The videos are thorough and detailed. The instructor draws lots of pictures to help illustrate the concept. My children (11yo and 8yo) were bored with the videos. But keep in mind, the purpose of the videos is to educate, not entertain . . . and each video is kept rather short, which should help a child stay focused. It is very easy to pick just the right video as they broken up into categories with descriptive titles. View some of the samples and decide for yourself.

What about the worksheets. Well, my children didn't care for these either. But I did appreciate the variety. Speed drills, word problems, a variety of equations. Again, it helps to view some samples.

The speed drills definitely help with instant recall of basic number facts (+, -, *). The speed drills are on the worksheets, but they are also available online. We enjoyed the online version more than on paper. You pick the function. The computer picks the number. Race the clock to finish as fast as you can. At the end, you will see your speed score. Your speed score is your number of tries plus your total time in seconds divided by 10. The lower your score, the better. I found these fun to play with.

Final verdict: If you are in the market for a math tutor . . . one available 24 hours a day/7 days a week, this could be what you are looking for. $195 / year sounded like a lot of money to me, but broken down it only comes to $3.75/week for a tutor that is always there, whenever your child needs a little help.

Disclaimer: I received a membership to this website free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

To read other crew members' reviews, click here.

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