Friday, September 27, 2013

VideoText - Online Algebra Review

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Math is a source of stress for me. I was never very good at it.... My husband on the other hand is awesome at math. However he is also at work most of the day. I have been looking for something to help me give my oldest a head start with Algebra. I was offered the chance to review Algebra: A Complete Course by VideoText Interactive and I was really excited.

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Jam is in 7th grade and although I was very interested in the program I wasn't sure if I should try this program with him or not. If you are thinking the same thing you may find what VideoText has to say about it very interesting.

Jam and I discussed it and both realized that he had already passed all of their 'prerequisites'.

Well Jam was a little more dubious than I am. He is not a HUGE fan of math and I was scared to death of starting any Algebra program.

What's Included

  Materials included in the courses are:  
1.  Video Lessons – 5-10 minutes in length each.  Methods presented are easy to follow and understand.
2.  Course Notes – students can view these on screen or print.  The notes follow the video lessons exactly.
3.  Student WorkText – These contain additional review and practice examples of the concepts presented in each video lesson.  Student assignment exercises are also included.
4.  Solutions Manual – detailed, step-by-step solutions for all of the problems found in the WorkText.
5.  Progress Tests – short quizzes and longer tests which are assigned periodically to assess student mastery of concepts.
- See more at:
1. Video Lessons
2. Course Notes
3. Student Work Text
4. Solution Manual
5. Progress Tests

Also included are checklists, scope and sequence, pacing guides, and even printable graph paper

This program is not split into the standard titles of 'Pre-Algebra', 'Algebra 1', and 'Algebra 2'. VideoText basically work through algebra from the beginning to the end. VideoText doesn't use the spiral method which is a great plus for us because we found early on in our home-school journey that Jam doesn't do well with this method. VideoText uses a mastery approach. We have found that it is taught in such a way that it can be slowed down or completed faster as needs change.

The main introduction of the lesson material is taught in video form (which Jam loves). 176 videos each lasting 5-10 minutes (this is another bonus for Jam short and too the point - and not too long if he needs to watch it twice). The video is designed to be paused at various stages so that the student feels like he is interacting with the teacher. This makes Jam feel a little awkward. I make him do it if we are watching the video together, however I doubt he does it when he works by himself, even though I keep encouraging it.

After Jam watches the video he reads the lesson notes. These are included for the student so that they can just focus on watching the video. Jam loves the fact that he doesn't need to take notes. I love that we can refer to these notes if we are having a problem completing an assignment. All in all there are 390 pages of notes. After this there is 590 pages of student text. The student text is a combination of extra examples and exercises. All of the exercise answered are found in the solutions manual. Jam prefers us to walk through the exercises together. He has a bad habit (we are working on) not to show all of his working out. He is starting to realize as we review the solutions manual that showing the working out is almost as important getting the correct answer.

After working through the above stages (sometimes reviewing one or two steps) Jam moves on to student test A. Jam completes the first test and then I grade it. After this if he needs to iron out a few kinks we jump back to the video or course notes and then take test B when he has reviewed the material he didn't understand.

We have been moving at a lot quicker pace than I thought. So far we have covered Part A of Unit 1 Mathematical Parts of Speech, Mathematical Expressions, Translation of Mathematical Symbols, Part B of Unit 1 The Development of Our Number System and we just finished up with Fraction Forms and Decimal Forms today.

This program for us has been great, and we will definitely be continuing with the program. I have not had to nag or remind Jam once to get his math done, and believe me this is a first for us. I think he likes how the program expects him to think and solve not just simply memorize facts. Jam did the student text exercises in a notebook but we printed the A and B tests.

The only negative thing that I have to say about this is the format if you try to view the test solutions online. The type us very small and difficult to read. However, if the PDF is downloaded and then opened on my computer the text is bigger and easier to read. I didn't want to have to print everything as that would be A LOT of paper. So this is a good option, and since Jam and I have our own laptops so if we need to work through a section together we can pull up the student test and solutions at the same time. I wish that there was the ability for the program to 'remember' where Jam was working, I have actually pulled up the wrong section more than once when I was grading a test, which is a little annoying but not the end of the world.

VideoText Interactive is designed for grades 8-12 however it can be used earlier if the student is ready.

VideoText Interactive Cost

Online Algebra Modules A-F $299.00 (2 student license - you can add an extra student in your household for $49.00) Classic Print Version $529.00
Online Algebra Module A - Algebra Readiness $59.00 - Classic Print Version $99.95
Online Algebra Completer Package Modules B-F $240.00 - Classic Print Version $429.05

The online subscription lasts for 3 years.

The crew also got to try out the Geometry modules - I don't know about you but I am SO excited to read them.


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