Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: Math Tutor

Let's face it. Some teacher's got it, and others just don't. And Jason Gibson, the "tutor" behind Math Tutor, has definitely "got it"!

Not only does he work for NASA and hold impressive degrees in both physics and electrical engineering, he's got a real knack for teaching math in a way that others (both children and adults) can understand. (Where was he when I was in high school??)

We received copies of both The Basic Math Word Problems and Algebra 2 Tutor DVD's for review.

The first thing you'll notice about these DVD sets is their distinct cover art. Each package bears the image of a big, yellow caution sign that reads:

"The use of this DVD will cause increased understanding of basic math word (or Algebra 2) problems and will lead to higher grades."

This claim is backed by a solid, money-back guarantee. However, I highly doubt anyone would have to take them up on this though, as the product lives up to its claim in spades.

The Math Tutor DVD's contain several hours of quality teaching (8 hrs for the Word Problem, 6 hrs for Algebra 2), and contain absolutely NO fluff.

No silly colors, no dancing animals. Just Mr. Gibson and a white board!

Mr. Gibson carefully walks viewers through several sample problems, explaining everything in detail along the way. This step-by-step approach leaves no room for misunderstanding or confusion. You not only learn how to solve the problem, but also understand "why".

While this made sense to me and I appreciated the video’s flow, it left my children frustrated in the beginning. At one point, my son was shouting the answer at the TV screen and tossing his pencil down in frustration. “I already KNOW the answer! Why doesn’t he just say it?” (Ahem)

However, as the problems grew more complex, Ethan grew mighty thankful for the slower approach! ;o)

The Math Tutor DVD product line boasts an impressive selection of DVD sets. Titles include:

  • Basic Math & Basic Math Word Problems
  • Algebra 1 & 2, Word Problems, Advanced & Matrix Algebra
  • Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus
  • Probability, Physics and Unit Conversion
(Samples of each DVD are available on their website.)

Now, I must mention that during the demonstrations, Mr. Gibson would often count on his fingers and encourage students to do the same. While this may turn some parents off, I personally didn’t mind. As a matter of fact, I’ve used my fingers for years and they’ve never failed me once! ;o)

Moving on…

The sets range in price from $21.99 to $39.99 (depending upon how many dics are included in each set), with supplemental Worksheet CD’s available for both Algebra 1 and 2 for only $24.99. Bundle packages are also available for additional savings. (See website for more details.)

I believe these products are well worth the price, especially when compared the cost of hiring a math tutor! (Where else can you get this caliber of teaching, for this length of time, for all your children, for less than $40?)

Given the way each concept is so carefully presented, I would highly recommend these DVD’s to anyone. Not only will homeschoolers receive solid, hands-on instruction, they’ll also receive a virtual trip to the classroom! I personally took great delight in showing my children just how their parents were taught back in school (albeit not as clearly or practical!).

And here they thought they were the only ones to use a white board! Ha!

I was very pleased with Math Tutor and give them 2 (count ‘em! Two!)…thumbs up!

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