TOS Crew: Math Tutor videos

We’ve reviewed Math Tutor DVDs on several levels now, from an  early education introduction to numbers and counting, to a tutorial for using a fancy graphing calculator (see below), suited to students of trigonometry and higher functions. In between there were word problems (an introduction to how to approach solving them, for elementary ages) and Algebra 2, just in case you were wondering.

As you may be noticing, Math Tutor DVDs encompass a wide range of mathematical levels and topics. You can see a list of topics and even view free sample videos at their website.

Our family received two videos this year, Pre-Algebra (Volume 1), and a video tutorial for Texas Intruments TI-84 Calculator, a very complicated-looking graphing calculator. I have to mention that even though we don’t have one of these calculators, Middlest was fascinated and watched the video with me. I got the impression that she’d enjoy exploring the calculator, but that’s going to have to come after we’ve gone a bit further in our math studies.

Pre-Algebra Volume 1 is the first of two sets of videos. Volume 1 contains two DVDs, about five hours in all. Topics include:

Real Numbers
The Number Line
Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Absolute Value and Adding Integers
Subtracting Integers
Multiplying Integers
Dividing Integers
Powers and Exponents
Order of Operations

These are not the usual razzmatazz flashy animated videos so commonly seen in the ranks of educational DVDs. Actually, they’re pretty simple and low-tech: a man, a plan, and a white board. (I almost said, “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama” which is a palindrome — it reads the same forwards and backwards.)

The lecturer is pleasant, encouraging, and matter of fact in his presentation. It’s kind of like having your Uncle Doug explain math to you. He starts by defining terms and basic concepts, and then works through examples. Of course it’s not an interactive tutorial — there’s no give and take — but it has an interactive feeling to it.

The Texas Instruments TI-84 Calculator Tutor shows a graphic of the calculator’s keypad and screen while a man lectures in the background. A cursor moves about and points to various buttons as the lecture proceeds, showing what buttons to push.

There were a few times when I had to stop and run through a sequence again because I had looked away from the screen for a second and missed what key had been pressed.

Numbers, functions, and graphs appear on the calculator screen as the video works through various features.  I have to admit that most of the video here is way over our heads at present. Eight hours of instruction are included on three DVDs, from a basic introduction of the keys, to solving equations and graphing functions. The list of topics is too long to include here, but click on the link above and you’ll see not only the list but also Lesson 1 on the video, so you can get an idea of the teaching style.

Each of these video sets is $26.99 at the Math Tutor DVD website.

The Math Tutor DVDs we’ve seen are all good, basic instruction. They may be a little boring if your kids are used to a lot of bells, whistles, and fancy animations, but they work just fine for our media-deprived kids. (That was only partially a joke — our girls play too many computer games, true, but they watch very little television and so their brains have not been trained to need lots of stimulus in order to sustain attention.)

To read more TOS Homeschool Crew opinions of Math Tutor DVDs, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew received two free sets of Math Tutor DVDs for evaluation and review. Opinions offered here are our own family’s. No monetary compensation was involved.

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