Free STEM workshop in Dekalb

SciGirls Professional Development Training

Date:  Tuesday, February 12, 2013 – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Location:  Holmes Student Center – Skyroom 340 Carroll Avenue Dekalb, IL 60115

Thank you for your interest in the SciGirls Professional Development Training.

SciGirls is a PBS Kids television series out to change how tweens think about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM! In each episode, join bright, curious real girls in putting STEM to work. Then check out the website to play games, watch episodes, share projects, and connect with other SciGirls in a totally safe social networking environment!

SciGirls Trainings integrate inquiry-based STEM instruction with a commitment to gender equity. Educators attending SciGirls Trainings will learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys) in STEM; experience hands-on STEM activities; and gain access to free materials for hands-on, video-enhanced activities that put a creative twist on teaching STEM.

There is no fee to attend this training.

For more information and to register:

Resources from ICHE Preschool Panel

Welcome, parents of preschoolers! Here you will find the list of some resources that those of us on the panel have used and enjoyed with our preschoolers. Please feel free to share these and ask any further questions you may have! Praying for you during this exciting and exhausting season in life.

Resources for the Preschool Years

Books / Curriculum/Media Resources

Reading – Sing, Spell, Read and Write;

– Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann

Math – Abeka Arithmetic Workbooks;

Character – Character First! Resources;

Development – Slow and Stead, Get Me Ready by June Oberlander

Choosing Books – Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

Curriculum – Before Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert;

Montessori – “Bringing Montessori Home” DVD – Rose Clancy;

Bible – The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor

– Leading Little Ones to God by Marian M. Schoolhand

Websites – homeschooling books and resources – more homeschooling books and supplies than you can even imagine – Worksheets and activities searchable by grade level. – This site has numerous unit studies and lapbook resources, specifically ones related to Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row – Games for preschoolers to play. Especially at
the preschool age, I don’t let my kids sit and play on their own, but these
might be a fun addition to time you spend with your preschooler – This is a website I find helpful for kids of all ages. A homeschool mom of 4 has shared all her printables and many plans and ideas from throughout her homeschooling time. She has focused a lot on the preschool years in particular.


Local Public Library- Swan Library System – allows you to search for desired books through multiple library systems and have books delivered to your local library.

Museum Adventure Pass: from your library you can get free or reduced admission to various museums. This is for the Chicago area, but other states have similar programs.

A CD called Sounds like Fun from Discovery Toys ( is a great compilation of songs that cover early math, letter sounds, opposites, manners, nursery rhymes and even some Spanish sung to some classical guitar. Useful quiet time CD.

Games are an engaging way to incorporate learning fun at the preschool age and beyond — Zingo can develop basic word and sound recognition; Candyland for colors; Junior Monopoly for counting (and many other “junior” versions of favorite classics); Legos and Playmobile; other educational boardgames (great gifts for Grandparents to give if they are asking for ideas) like Sunken Treasure (

Learn through work: sorting socks and other laundry is an effective early math exercise as is cooking and baking together (math and health lesson there); plant a garden; talk about money, checks, credit cards (never too young to learn healthy money habits)

A favorite pre-reading activity we have used: write large letters on pieces of paper spread around the room or with chalk on ground outside. Say a letter sound and have kids run (or hop or crawl) to the letter they just heard. Use capital or lower case or both depending on what they are learning.

Let kids “write” in salt or sand in a pie tin or plate, pudding (or whipped cream or shaving cream) in a sealed plastic bag is great messless finger painting or water and a paintbrush on the ground outside. Also make letters with playdough, pipe cleaners, sticks, fingers or their whole body.

Field trips –

Recipe for Kool-aid Playdough (large batch)

5 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 pkgs kool-aid, any flavor

1/2 cup oil

3-4 cups boiling water (start with 3 and add more until kneadable)

Review: Math House Games

Math should be fun. Especially with young kids, math should start as a game and always involve an interaction with an adult and the real world. Domenico Marcario designed a math product that would build on that.

Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Math House Games teach real life math concepts through activities that use everyday objects, a parent’s direction, and fun challenges for kids to get excited about.

The 20 steps, with 2 games each, are broken into three stages that lead the child through quantity (comparing groups of objects), numeration (attaching numbers to those groups of objects), and operations (adding, subtracting, etc.)

You do not follow through the steps at a predesignated speed, but rather you evaluate each child and move on once they have mastered the concepts taught in the activity.

The games are fun. The kids get to eat during the process (small items — fruit, cereal, etc.) which is always motivation in my house. 🙂 Perfect for building and early love of math.

You can order these great activity cards — $23.95 including shipping — and use them for your early elementary math student that needs some fun in their math.  These would also be a great start for a preschool curriculum to help introduce math skills in a lighthearted way that they will just soak up. If you have a preschool through 2nd grader you would enjoy this. And, if you are busy teaching older kids, one of your other older kids could easily pick this up and begin teaching math concepts to one of your other young kids.

Each card tells you clearly what you are teaching, why they should learn it, and how to get that point across. Make the most of play time!

It wouldn’t be a great review without a giveaway, and I do get to give one of these adorable sets away to one reader. So, if you would like to enter to win your own copy of these math game cards please leave a comment on this post with an email address where I can reach you at. The contest will close Sunday evening and I will draw a random winner at that time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

TOS Crew Review — Pearson Education

  • Grade 1
  • Product: Pearson Education enVision MATH 2011

    Details: A full year math program for first grade in a consumable workbook. Each day the student removes a page from this book that measures about 11″ x 17″ and then folds their lesson in half like a booklet. They complete the booklet and can then stick it on their refrigerator or some other location for display. Contains 20 topics each with 4 to 13 lessons, a problem solving lesson, a test, reteaching material, a game, and “home-school” connection sheets.

    Price: $34.47 for the student book

    What we loved . . .

    • Made to display. Each lesson is made to be torn out of the book, folded in half, and put on display. When my son saw that he didn’t hesitate to get to work. As soon as we opened the package and he saw it was for him, he ripped out a page, worked hard at it, and put it right on our fridge. I love that motivation.
    • Fun to use. My son loved using the book. He liked the activities, the fun pictures, the ripping and folding. It is a very kid friendly product.
    • Internet connections. Although this is a paper product, it mentions web based games as well that reinforce the learning done on the page. I had to Google it to find them because the student book did not have the actual web address, but we did find it and were able to play the games that fit the activities online as well as  in hand.
    • Gentle math. If your child is just easing into math at this age this is a fairly gentle introduction. No speed drills, no sheets of adding and subtracting. Games, activities, application of math principles, mostly fun, hands-on learning.

    Some considerations . . .

    • Not a reasonably priced teacher book available. Since this is not really initially designed with the homeschooler in mind, the teacher’s guide is included in a $525 resource pack. Obviously not something you would purchase to help you teach one or two kids for a year. And, without it there were spots in the book that we had to make up as we went along. I don’t think we missed out on too much, but it would have been more beneficial if we had some instruction through certain segments. Even where to jump on the web was not included although I could figure it out with the help of Google.
    • Awkward shape. This book is ginormous. It would not fit on a bookshelf or in a backpack and barely fits in his arms when he carries it around. I assume it is made to fit in a school desk, but it is not a convenient size for at home use.
    • Doesn’t have much built in review. The book covers 20 topics, but doesn’t revisit them as you go. I prefer math programs that review at least every couple weeks to make sure that young minds don’t lose what they have already learned.

    While I did find this a cute book and one my son really enjoyed pulling out the pages and working through, I did not feel it was a good fit for homeschoolers the way it is right now. However, if you have a kids that loves workbooks and is always asking for more pencil and paper work like the big kids do, this would be a helpful book to have on hand. You can tear a page out, keep your child busy for a while, and then show off their work on your wall or fridge.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Pearson Education as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


    TOS Crew Review — Mad Dog Math

    With school age kids ranging from Kindergarten to eighth grade, my younger kids seem to have a greater drive to learn early because they want to do what everyone else is doing. Recently my younger two took an interest in learning about multiplication. Not typically part of the scope and sequence for Kindergarten and first grade, we decided to give it a try anyway.

    At the same time we received Mad Dog Math to review and this was a great opportunity for them to learn their basic math facts on their own. We did a quick little lesson on what multiplication means and how to figure out the answer and then sent them off. They started with reviewing some of their addition and subtraction, and then could switch to level 3 and work on some of their new found understanding of “times.” Now they feel like big kids. 🙂

    See a little more of what this program is all about in this video they put together (this is a little long — just under 10  minutes):

    Product: Mad Dog Math

    Details: A downloadable program that helps kids in K-5 practice their basic facts in a systematic, easy to use format. They get a set of problems to answer in a period of time and gradually progress to more difficult problems.

    Price: $19.95 for a one year license, $29.99 for 2 years, $39.99 for perpetual license

    What we loved . . .

    • Basic presentation. Not a flashy, “read a 100 page manual” program. Download, read a paragraph of instructions, and start drilling. My kindergartener was on it within two minutes of getting it on and he flew through the first through levels as he got used to the program.
    • Covers all the basic operations. This one program will cover addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in one computer based program so you won’t have to keep flash cards around that mostly got used by your toddler to decorate the school room floor anyway.
    • Different levels to start at. Each child can start at their appropriate level. Level one starts at the very basic, “0 + 3.” It then very gradually progresses through each of the groupings first through addition and then subtraction. Once they can add everything up to 18 they will complete that level and earn their sticker. They can redo them to improve their times trying to complete the facts in less than 30 seconds with only a couple errors.
    • Good length. The speed drills vary in length and are appropriate for the levels they are at. As they progress they get a bit longer, but they are all able to be completed in 2 minutes by most kids. I could finish most in 15 seconds, so that allows a good bit of time for kids to find the correct number on the keyboard an move on.
    • Varied presentation. Most of the problems ask for a solution (the sum, difference, product, or quotient), but some leave out one of the other numbers that kids need to figure out instead. I like that they vary this to help kids stretch their thinking, solidify their skills, and keep it fresh.
    • Can be untimed. Some kids really struggle with the anxiety of a timed test. Mad Dog offers timings of 2 minutes, 1 minute, or 30 seconds. They also give you the choice of not being timed. This can be a great help to some kids struggling with success in this area.

    Some considerations . . .

    • Simple program. While this is a plus for ease of use, it also means that it does not have some extra features that I like to look for in a program. It doesn’t track specifics of how your child is doing. It lets them continue when they have made mistakes (I like to be able to set the mastery level and change it as I see necessary). It does what it is meant to do, but not with
    • Kids need to advance themselves to the next level. Once a child has mastered one level it tells them what they need to do next, but they need to change the selection in order to move to that next step in the program. It will let you stay at the level you were working on, but you don’t earn anything new until you select the next level.
    • Watch the bark. When I first started the program up I must have had my speakers on too loud. The program does not have any talking or background music, but it does have a loud bark now and then when you click on something or move to a new section. It about knocked me out of my seat. So, keep your speakers at a reasonable level when you are trying it out. 😉
    • Unique groupings. It seems most math programs I use learn all the “+ 1” at once. Mad Dog instead does everything that adds up to 0-3 first. So it is working with a smaller sample set each time. This worked well for the gradual progress, but it was different than what we were used to.
    • Rewards are a long time coming. While kids can earn rewards, they take a while to get there, especially at the lowest level. At level one I felt like I had been on it a while and the “encouragement” that showed up on the bottom after one quiz said something like, “Great job, just 35 to go to earn your sticker!” Wow, that was not encouraging.
    • Explanation focuses on vocabulary. In the instructions there is a little button to click for the program to explain the math terms. I expected it to tell you what “addition” means, but instead it tells you the technical terms for each number in an addition problem (and for the other operations as well). This is interesting, but not really helpful if a student didn’t know what “multiply” even means.

    Mad Dog math is basically a computer based flashcard program. It is easy to use and most kids would much rather drill their math facts on the computer as opposed to with real cards. It obviously costs a lot more than a deck of flashcards, but if it will get kids to learn their basic facts without an argument, that is money well spent. And, you don’t have to worry about your kids not learning “7 + 8” because you lost that card and never realized it.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Mad Dog Math as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


    TOS Crew Review — Big IQ Kids

    Big IQ Title Banner

    As my kids get older it is easy to focus on their core texts and let other, but still important, subjects slip a little. Just when I was grappling with how to keep on top of those little areas, Big IQ Kids came to my rescue.

    This online program allows kids to learn independently in four essential areas — spelling, vocabulary, US geography, and math. They can just go with the flow of the program or you can customize it to their needs or your current academic focus. I was so grateful to be able to set it up initially, and then let my 6th and 8th graders run with it. I required them to do a lesson in spelling, vocab, and geography each day and it freed me up to work with my other kids knowing that these areas were covered.

    Here is an example of the different levels of membership and what they offer you in just one area of the website:

    My kids have really enjoyed using this and it takes little oversight on my part. They get excited about advancing and it has really helped my daughter’s spelling in particular. It was a great review of state information as well and has overall been a great fit to teach and review in the four areas covered on their site.

    Product: Big IQ Kids

    Details: An online program geared to kids K-8, and even adults. The program offers quizzing and lesson helps in spelling, vocabulary, math, and US Geography.

    Price: Pricing has a lot of different options, see their pricing page for all the details, but basically, you can get the whole program for $19.99 per month, $99.99 a year. You can also purchase just portions of it for a month or year if you want to target learning in a certain area. Their full program for a full year is really the best price available.

    What we loved . . .

    • Lots of free quizzing. Big IQ Kids offers some great stuff on their site that everyone can enjoy. You can have your child spend time quizzing on spelling, geography, math, and vocabulary. However, you cannot save their work or check their progress without setting up a membership that costs money. I think that’s fair. You can play around for free, but if you really want to track the progress and see the program become more customized to the user, you need to put in some money. To see if the premium options would be a good fit for you, you can enjoy a free 7 day full access trial.
    • Game rewards. My kids always love the games. In Big IQ Kids they earn coins for each lesson that they complete. The coins can then be spent in the “arcade.” There are a variety of games, some better than others, but both my kids that used the program found something they enjoyed and would willingly work toward the reward at the end of the lesson.
    • Email updates. Every time they take a quiz, pass a level, or do noteworthy work, I would get an email. It told me the percentage score and in many cases gave me specifics about what they missed. This was great to remind me to check in with them, to follow up on areas of struggle, and to praise them for the great job they were doing in the program.
    • Focuses on success. While the email updates did include their percentage and what they got wrong, it also encourages you to praise your child. My kids did not get discouraged by low scores, because they could repeatedly redo quizzes until they achieved the 100%. This was great. They weren’t stuck somewhere with a poor score, but continued to work hard to get to the next level or master the new content.
    • Great for independent learning. Both my kids that used the program did so with little or no help from me. I checked in with them a couple times a week, read the emails the program sent to me, and answered questions as they came up. I loved the simplicity of use for this and did not need to remind my kids once to get on the site to get their work done. They would even do extra work during their free time because they wanted to get to the next level in certain areas. I love programs that motivate the child to learn even when they don’t have to. 😉

    Some considerations . . .

    • The site does contain ads. It may just be in the free portions of the site, but there are ads geared toward kids on the site in various places. Most of the ones that I saw were for games or vacation locations. I didn’t see any offensive ads, but there were ads.
    • The voice on the site is very computerized. At times we did have difficulty understanding some of their words, but most of it you could also read along, so it was not a problem to fill in the blanks left by the occasionally unintelligible host. In general this did not cause a problem, but it is something to be aware of.
    • More drill than instruction. My son commented that no matter how many times they asked him the vocab word he wasn’t going to get it right, because they didn’t give him any help in remembering the definition. They do tell the kids to write the words they get wrong and they do let them know their mistakes, but they try to teach it through repeated drills, not really teaching for understanding. This will be fine for some kids, but my son always needs to know the “why” so he struggled with this method of “teaching.” I was impressed that my kids were good about writing the words three times when the program told them to. However, it is really on the honors’ system that they follow through with this.
    • Might want to check the accuracy of state info. We live in Illinois, obviously, and so we know a bit about this state we live in. And, in the little blurb about our state in the geography section there was some less than accurate information. Just outdated stuff about O’hare and the building formerly known as the Sears Tower. Facts do change over time, and with how much information they carry I’m sure it is difficult to make sure it is all up to date. Well, I emailed them and within the next business day they had changed the information to reflect current data. They also recognized the need to verify the other state’s information. I definitely appreciated their speedy response and their desire to make sure their product is top quality.

    We were quite pleased with Big IQ Kids in our home. It was a great fit for our current needs and I love the flexibility of pricing since you can just pay for what you want if you don’t want the complete package. It encouraged learning and really brought about improvement in the areas that it covered.  Love finding products like these that really fill a need.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Big IQ Kids as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

    World Math day coming soon

    Children from across the globe will be uniting in their quest to set a world record in answering mental arithmetic questions. We’d like to invite your child to be a part of this great education event involving more than two million students from hundreds of countries.  There is an exciting new format for 2011 with all new levels!  Your child can start practicing now by signing into with their Mathletics username and password!
    Why should your child take part?
    • World Math Day is the education event for the world!
    • They will love it! Be part of setting a world record!
    • It will create an amazing buzz around math.
    • Designed for all ages and ability levels.
    • Simple to register and participate.
    • Great prizes. And it’s absolutely free!!
    How will it work?
    • If your child is already subscribed to Mathletics, they can use their existing username and password.
    • They will take part in real-time mental arithmetic challenges and play live with other students around the globe.
    • In 2010 more than two million students from 235 countries combined to correctly answer 479,732,613 questions. Can we break the record this year?
    • All you need is internet access.
    This year for the first time, through an international partnership with UNICEF, the competition will be used to raise money for UNICEF education programmes in Mozambique and Vietnam.
    Students can seek donations from friends and family for their participation in World Math Day.  Donations will be pledged and tallied on the World Math Day website.  In 2011 we aim to unite the world in numbers and giving to help provide children all over the world with the education they deserve.
    For more information, visit
    Don’t forget to tell your child’s school about World Math Day too! Don’t delay – school registrations close February 28.

    Click here to download the World Math Day FAQs.

    Bridge building contest

    Learned about this fun looking contest over at Kathy Wentz’s blog.

    The link to the full contest information is here. Developed by West Point and sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, this contest is open to all kids age 13 through Grade 12. They can do this on their own or in pairs and it looks like it can all be done from the comfort of your own computer. It has a download for both Macs and Windows, so hopefully all interested students can enter.

    Looks like a great science and math supplement or motivator. Scholarship money is available to the winners, too, if that motivates any students. 🙂

    Download and install the West Point Bridge Designer 2011 software.
    Use the software to design and test a virtual bridge.
    Register your team.
    Log in and submit as many designs as you like.
    It’s absolutely FREE!
    Who: U.S. students age 13 through grade 12 are eligible for prizes. Anyone else may enter our Open Competition. More about eligibility
    When: The 2011 contest began on January 10, 2011, and the Qualifying Round will end on February 25. More about the contest schedule
    Prizes: Each member of the first-place team earns a $10,000 scholarship. Each finalist wins a notebook computer. More about prizes

    TOS Crew Review — Math Facts Now

    Speed drills are seen by some as a necessary evil in teaching and motivating kids to learn their basic facts. Not so in this day and age. Now, they do still need to practice and memorize, but it doesn’t need to be the palm sweating”upside down paper on the desk until the signal” event of yesteryear.

    Math Facts Now has created a program to help kids learn their facts through repetition and review on the computer. Parents can set up the program according to their own expectation and with the specific target areas needed. All that’s left is for the kids to get on their regularly and see their skills improve.

    Product: Math Facts Now

    Details: A customizable, computer based program to help students learn their basic math facts

    Price: $15.95 for download product. An additional $3.95 if  you would prefer a physical product shipped to you.

    What we loved . . .

    • Focus on math not entertainment. Kids can sometimes be distracted by the “extras” that are included in many educational programs. Math Facts Now recognized this and offers a program that allows students to focus on the work they need to do and master their basic facts as efficiently as possible.
    • Requires them to review their mistakes. They program requires that students who make an error must retype the one that they got wrong at least twice (you can choose to make it more) before going on. This does take some time, but was a great way for kids to review what they missed. When I showed my son that feature he said, “I’m never gonna get one wrong!” Yep, it did motivate him to be extra careful in his work.
    • Warns them when they are on a tricky one. If they previously missed an answer the next time that some question comes up it will warn them to “be careful.” This could be a bad thing, because for my daughter she just remembered the one she got wrong had an answer of 18, so she didn’t look at the problem itself, just the warning. However, most other time they had multiple ones they had missed, so it was not an issue.
    • Customizable. I loved that we could set up whatever we wanted the quizzes to be. They could drill them on just “1+” or 1 through 4 or 1through 12 or whatever we were covering at the time. It automatically does 0-12 with whatever numbers you set, so it might not work well for really young kids, but all of my kids are past those early facts so we did not have to deal with that challenge.
    • Easy to set up. I took the time initially to set up multiple quizzes. I set up each drill set (1; 1-2; 1-3; 1-4; etc.) for each basic operation. Then I set up individual ones as well (just 2, just 3, just 4, etc.) That is a lot of quizzes, but it gave them a lot of options and had all the work from my end done. I also set the time higher on the ones I knew my younger kids were doing so they would not keep getting them wrong just because they type a little slower. If my older ones decided to do the early addition tests I could still see their average time although they would not get it wrong if they answered slow. This kept me from having to set up multiple versions of each test for older and younger kids.

    Some considerations . . .

    • No lock for the changes you make. Technically students could enter the quiz set up area and change the amount of time, questions, or other content. None of mine messed with this, but it is possible.
    • Can’t pause in the middle of a goal.  If you set it for your child to get 50 correct before mastering a test and he takes a break after 35, he has to start again at the beginning the next time. This was a challenge when I made the goals longer, but as long as you keep the tests a reasonable length it should not be an issue
    • Takes some time to set up. Because this is fully customizable, it does not come with preloaded tests. You will need to take the time to set them up how you want them. It is very quick to do, and I went ahead and set up numerous ones when we first received it so i did not have to continually create new ones. A few minutes at the beginning and they had quizzes to last them for weeks. When you set up one quiz multiples students can use it, so you don’t need to recreate the same quiz for multiple students.

    We really enjoyed the simplicity of use with this program and how versatile it was for a wide range of students. The price seemed quite reasonable for the length of time you could benefit from the product, and it did its job in helping my kids improve the speed and mastery of their math facts.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Math Facts Now as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

    TOS Crew review — Math Tutor DVD

    I distinctly remember pre-algebra. It was eighth grade and a small class. I don’t particularly remember the material, but I remember the boredom of it all. I also recall giggling over the students that fell asleep in that class. The drool, the nodding heads, etc.

    Now, my kids don’t sit in a traditional classroom, and they have not yet fallen asleep on me in class, aside from the four month old. We do now and then struggle with the boredom of a particular topic, and I am always on the lookout for new approaches and materials.

    Math Tutor DVD offers a helpful resource for either parents that struggle with the teaching or students that struggle with the learning of some of the more challenging math concepts.


    Product: Math Tutor DVD — Pre-Algebra and the calculator tutor TI83/TI84

    Details: The Pre-Algebra offers 5 hours of instruction on important pre-algebra topics including real numbers, absolute value, working with integers, and the order of operations. The Calculator tutor takes you through 8 hours of how-to’s from a basic overview to matrices and interest calculations. These calculators do far more than most people are aware of or know how to use them for.

    Price:$26.99 each DVD set

    What we loved . . .

    • See it before you buy it. On the site you can find recorded testimonials and sample videos so you can get a feel for the teaching style and format of the videos.
    • Thorough. These video sets are long, but they pack in the information. He starts basic and grows from there to explain complex topics easily enough for most upper elementary students (and most middle aged non-math minded students) to grasp.
    • Not stuck in his topic. Clearly, the teacher, Mr. Gibson, has a vision for teaching beyond just a video series. With a background in engineering and working for NASA he understands the real need to master math. He teaches not just to get through a subject, but for real life learning.
    • Broken down into good sized segments. The bite-sized chunks these lessons come in are just right for a daily math lesson or to pull out when you need a little help.

    Some considerations . . .

    • No-fluff. These videos involve a math teacher and a white board (albeit with many colors of markers). No flashy movies or cartoons, just real life, teach ’em how it is math instruction. Some kids might view this as boring, since you can make any school subject only so exciting.
    • Not a complete course. And not priced or marketed to be. These products can help you with targeted areas in conjunction with your regular math program.
    • Long. Eight hours of calculator instruction is a lot of teaching. I never knew all you could use this for, so it isn’t wasted time, but WOW, that’s a lot of time spent on a calculator.

    Math Tutor DVDs cover many topics with the same solid teaching. If you are looking for a supplementary help for some tricky areas in math, check out these and other videos that they produce.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: These DVDs were provided to me free of charge through Math Tutor DVD as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.