Friday, September 10, 2010

Review of America's Math Teacher

The next port of call on our homeschool cruise was American’s Math Teacher, an online math tutoring program that covers basic math thru algebra. This subscription based service cost $195 per year and provides 24/7 math tutoring via online videos and assessment tests. As part of the homeschool crew, I was given free access to this program for 60 days. I used this program with my 8 year old son who is just finishing 3rd grade. We used the Basic Math Course which covers:

Starting with Whole Numbers, you watch a series of 5-10 minute videos. The videos are mainly a computerized white board where the instructor discusses the topic and works the problems out on the screen. It is a no-frills presentation which I felt allowed for easier instruction. There are no flashy graphics or distractions…it’s just your child and their online math tutor. After completing a video, you download the associated worksheet for your child to complete. I found that the worksheets did not clearly correspond with the lesson titles so it was often difficult to know which sheet to complete. I felt that most of the information was review so my son had no trouble completing the worksheets.

In addition to the videos and worksheets, there are speed drill wheels. These computerized, timed speed drills were a lot of fun for my son. He like the physical structure of the wheel and competed to beat his times.

Because this is an online program, I think the structure of the website is important. AMT's website is very organized and easy to navigate. Like the videos, there is nothing flashy, and I like that you can quickly find what you are looking for.

Summary: As much as I like the physical layout of the program and the simplicity of the presentations, I struggle to find the value in this program. We completed many of the assignments but I'm not sure it benefited my son. He is not struggling with math so perhaps that is why I don’t see the value. The videos are clear and concise and ideas are reinforced so I do not fault the content or presentation. I just don’t have a need for this program in our homeschool. The biggest negative I see with this program is the price. I wouldn't spent this much on a complete math curriculum so I know I wouldn’t spend it for supplemental math tutoring.

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