Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: with Companion Worksheet CD {Algebra 1 Tutor}

I like hats. Many styles of hats suit me rather well. As a homeschooling mother, I don many different ones and it can be a lot of fun. But people. People. The *Algebra style* hat is not a fashion which suits me very Know what I mean? So, imagine how delighted I was when, as a part of the TOS Review Crew, I learned that I am able to review a product which offers math help in exchange for my honest review. What's the product? It's Algebra 1 Tutor: Volume 1 DVD with Fractions Through Algebra Companion Worksheet CD by

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Aside from the DVD for math help, I was offered printable PDF companion worksheets as a part of the review (I did not receive the companion worksheet CD which is a download digital product). Since this is a math tutor program, I decided to comb bind the worksheets into booklets vs. having my children add them to their notebooks. It's just my organizational preference.

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 How It Works:

This program is designed for 7th grade and up. While most 7th graders know how to do fractions, they are actually the starting point for the tutoring sessions. The algebra tutor, Jason Gibson,  spends quite a bit of time on this subject and then eases the students into the concept of negative numbers. He takes students step by step with details to help them attain mastery of what they are learning.

Scientist and Artsy Girl know how to do fractions, however I had them start at the beginning. I presumed Jason Gibson has his reasons for starting with them and I was correct. Addressing something our children are familiar with doubles as a review period and also a way to make them comfortable as they ease into algebra. I see that this is beneficial in our family because the thought of Algebra was a bit intimidating to them. 

How We Used Algebra Tutor 1: Volume 1 in our Homeschool

As previously mentioned, Scientist and Artsy Girl are using the program at this time (they have been using Saxon Math but have been needing some tutoring). For this review, we were expected to use it 3-4 times per week (the duration was up to us).

After Jason Gibson explains how to do something, they pause the disc so that they can practice the concepts n their companion worksheets we ran off our printer and bound. When they were both ready, they would continue. While I haven't gone through a booklet myself (yet), I have sat in on the sessions with them. Well, you know, it has been a few years and I wanted to refresh my memory as well as see if I could better grasp some areas I struggled with. Did it help me, too? Keep reading to find out.

What We Like About Algebra Tutor 1: Volume 1

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  • The setting is non-distracting.
  • It's taught step by step and detailed.
  • Viewers are taken through necessary steps (he doesn't skip any).

  • Jason Gibson gives algebraic examples that are found in the real world, are applicable and visual.
  • He teaches to reach visual (examples), auditory (verbalizes the process), kinesthetic (working out problems in the workbooks) learners.
  • He is direct, concise and calm with his approach.
  • He speaks to viewers intelligently (he doesn't dumb it down/insult their intelligence).
  • Our children felt confident. I think a lot of this has to do with beginning with something they know well (fractions) and moving into the terms and application of algebra from there. 
  • The sessions can be rewound and our tutor never tires of repeating himself. :-)
  • I found Jason Gibson's examples helpful for me! He uses word pictures to help explain things and that benefits me. If someone had worded it as, "Think of parenthesis like a sandwich bag to hold things together that belong together...", it would have made things so much easier. If you got parenthesis when taking algebra, good for you! My right-dominate-hemisphere couldn't work with my left-hemisphere to figure it out. And that's how it was for me. 
  • Jason Gibson is teaching something he is great at and he obviously enjoys math. In my book, these are the kind of people who are best to learn from!
  • It's economical! Since the sessions are on DVD, I have them on hand for Song Bird, Explorer, Dreamer, Sweetie Pie and Super Busy who may eventually need a math tutor as well. 

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Some Things I'd Like to See...

  • There is some audio static in parts of the DVD- it'd be nice to have that removed (during Real Numbers and Their Graphs on Disc 1).

  • An easier way to find our place when we stop during a long session. If the sessions were divided into sub-sessions, it would be extremely helpful as the lessons are about 40 minutes long. The sessions are long (which is not a bad thing). However, when we stop for the day, it's not easy to find the place where we left off at.

What Algebra Tutor 1: Level 1 Covers...

This part of the award winning series has helped students all over the world to understand and improve Algebra. It contains:

Disk 1
Section 1- Real Numbers and Their Graphs
Section 2- Review of Fractions
Section 3- Exponents and Order of Operations

Disk 2
Section 4- Adding and Subtracting Real Numbers
Section 5- Multiplying and Dividing Real Numbers
Section 6- Algebraic Expressions

Disk 3
Section 7- Properties of Real Numbers
Section 8- Introduction to Equations
Section 9- Solving More Equations
Section 10- Simplifying Expressions to Solve Equations

How Much Algebra Tutor 1: Volume 1 Costs...

This 7 hour course of step-by-step instructions for 7th grade and up is available for download at the low price of $23.99 (this breaks down to $3.50 per hour!). 

Or, if you prefer, you can purchase the DVD version for only $26.99. The DVD comes with 3 discs with 10 lessons- 7 full hours of instruction.

The Fractions Through Algebra 1 Companion Worksheet CD is $24.99. This contains over 600 pages of corresponding worksheets. Or the worksheets are available for download for $21.99. 

Do I Recommend Algebra Tutor 1: Volume 1?

If you or your child benefit from word pictures, real life examples, a calm presenter, a steady pace, and someone who isn't belittling, then yes! I do recommend it! How nice it is to hang this particular hat up and let someone else wear it. :-)

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You can read other TOS Crew Reviews about the following products by Algebra Tutor 1: Level 1; Amazing Science Volume 1; and Mastering 5th Grade Math- Volume 1- Essentials of Fractions.


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