Friday, September 10, 2010

TOS REVIEW - America's Math Teacher / Math Essentials

2 + 2 =  4.  Easy!

19 - 7 = mmmm  oh, 12!  Easy enough.

7 x 7 = ...... ok, 7 groups of 7.... let's count ...... 7, 14 ....  49. I did it! That was tricky.

If I have 324 apples and I have 9 people wanting apples, how many would each person get? .... huh?

So my little man (7) enjoys math and 'gets' it quickly, ...  my daughter (9) enjoys math but has to work harder at it. I am constantly looking at math programs to see what would make it more interesting, more fun and increase learning ... and which program has that 'oh-I-get-it' factor.

Rick Fisher found that less than 50% of 8th graders are proficient in math. This % drops even further and is as low as 20% in 12th graders.

Why is it that so many of us feel inadequate in math? As a homeschooling mum who by some miracle passed high school math I have always felt less confident in teaching it to my kids. As my kids get older I don't want to get less confident, so whatever math program we use needs to help me as much as them! That way mummy can feel confident in teaching math knowing that the little darlings will learn something! : )

America's Math Teacher (Rick Fisher) has an answer to this problem.

Rick has developed a Math Program that will help students master the basics BEFORE moving on to new concepts, learn new concepts and be confident with eventually taking on Algebra. America's Math Teacher is an online program that you subscribe to. The yearly subscription gives you access to all the resources on the site.

Rick has this program available on two websites:

America's Math Teacher, (An online program) HERE (which my review is based on),
as well as Math Essentials (Books/DVDs) HERE.

Currently there are 4 courses available:

  • Course 1  Basic Math Skills
  • Course 2  Advanced Math Skills
  • Course 3  Pre-Algebra
  • Course 4  Algebra I

America's Math Teacher Website:

There are five main sections on the website:

Learning Centre - here you have access to the different courses available and all videos, worksheets quizes and final exam to each section of each course.
Exercise Centre - PDF files with exercise sheets that corresponds to each section of each course. Each of these section also has a PDF file with answer keys to each worksheet.
Evaluation Centre - Evaluation / Quiz for each section of each course. The idea is that you pass (70%) the quiz before proceeding to the next section of the course. The quizes have a time limit on them. After you complete a quiz you get your results page with your answers, the correct answers and how it compared with others who did the quiz.
Resource Centre - More info on teaching math.
Speed Drills - Here you can practice your addition, subtraction and multiplication on a number wheel against the clock.

This is a new website and Rick and his team are working hard at making it easy to navigate and making sure that everything runs smoothly. With anything you might find something that can be done better or something that you would like to clarify. If you have any questions for their team you can contact them HERE with general questions or click on the 'Contact Us' button on their home page for the option to contact their customer services or sales dept.


Rick's program includes a short video that the kids watch on a specific math concept - as he explains it the kids follow along with him, writing down the problem on a sheet of paper, then the kids proceed and complete the worksheet. The worksheet is divided into 5 parts. These include:

  • Two speed drills (one addition, one multiplication)
  • Four review exercises
  • Two samples of the new material that was introduced and some helpful hints related to this
  • Ten problems related to the new material
  • A word problem

The entire lesson is less than 30min. so kids don't get overloaded or bored. (Except my kids did not want to stop!)

Once you've worked through a section you do the quiz / evaluation to see if you've mastered that part of the course. If you pass then you can move on to the next section. At the end of each course there is a final exam before moving on to the next level.

How it worked for us:

BOTH the kids enjoyed it! There was no problem with, "oh no, not math!" or "this is too hard!", when I called them for math. They LOVED the speed drills - both on the worksheets and on the website.  It was fun for them to see if they could better their own time with each drill.

The kids found the videos great. Rick is easy to follow. His explanations are simple so it's easy to 'get it'.

We have a Wacom tablet at home, so when we did the 4 review problems on the worksheet we all did it together. I would use the tablet and write the problem on there so we could all see it on the screen. I then got the kids to take turns to solve the problem.

The kids would often ask me to come up with more problems for them to solve. It was great to work together on this.

We have found America's Math Teacher very beneficial and enjoyable all at the same time! Not only does it make math simple and easy for the kids, but gives Mum direction as to 'what to do next'. If you can follow directions, then your kids (and you) can learn math with America's Math Teacher.

This is a very comprehensive program which I will recommend to investigate yourself. Click HERE to see an "All Lessons List".

"Try before you buy", by having a look at some of the free resources available HERE

Math programs in general are not cheap and often having more kids there are more than one math program in the home. With America's Math Teacher you have access to the entire program for all your kids for a whole year wrapped up in one subscription.

At the time of this writing the subscription for one year is US$195.00 - This includes access to the entire site and ALL sections of ALL the courses, Evaluations, Speed Drills, Downloadable Worksheets ... everything.

There is also a 30 day trial option available with a coupon. At the moment I'm unsure as to how to obtain a coupon but will post it as soon as I know. 

Click HERE to go the the payment option page. 

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a free 2-month subscription to this program in exchange for my honest, personal opinion on it. I received no other compensation. 

Go HERE to see what my fellow crew members think of this product.

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