VideoText Interactive: Algebra: A Complete Course {TOS review}

VideoText Interactive provides students a unique way of learning math by using interactive video and print material to learn algebra and geometry. The instruction follows a mastery approach, which is the way River has continued learning his math for the past year.

We started with a spiral approach, which I like, but as he has gotten older, I find the mastery approach works better for him, so that we are able to concentrate and address specific topics (ex: concentration on fractions, multiplication, etc.).

We had the opportunity to review the Algebra: A Complete Course online instruction program, which is also available as a physical course with textbook and DVDs. Algebra: A Complete Course is created for students who are at the pre-algebra or algebra level in school. Although River is not quite there yet, I thought it would give him a nice opportunity to see where his math instruction would eventually be heading in regards to math topics. With the exception of a few online math supplements, his math instruction has pretty much been an offline experience.

You may watch this video to see some of the features or what makes the program “different and unique.”

I’ve always enjoyed math and algebra was a fun aspect of math when I was in school. Although, I do not believe that I would have a difficult time teaching River on my own, I like the fact that I have VideoText Interactive to make our transition into a higher level of math a whole lot easier.

You may visit the website and try it out to see how some of the lessons progress. After accessing the trial area and looking around at some of the instruction, I knew that this would be a good program to add into our school.

Typically, when I have used video programs in the past, regardless of the subject, the teacher has a droning and annoying voice. Not that it should really matter, especially if you remember some of your teachers from the past, but it does help if the teacher seems somewhat engaged with you and seems to enjoy what he is teaching.

The course gives you online access to:

• 175 video lessons
• 360 pages of course notes
• 590 pages of student worktext
• Solution manuals
• Progress tests

You may read more details about the specific material and also see a schematic of what is covered over the course.

There are two plans for completing the program, which are a one-year and a two-year plan. Of course the one-year plan moves at a more rapid pace.

Students are able to see and learn the hows and whys of what they are doing step-by-step and the student learns how to actually solve problems. One thing about math, the higher you go in the subject, the more you learn that memorization will only take you so far.

You can’t memorize algebra. You have to actually think and know. I think that there should be an understanding, regardless of the subject, but especially math, of how one gets from “point A to point B.” There should be an understanding of the details in between. Why not? The student has time to learn and building a foundation on a subject should be the building of a strong foundation. VideoText Interactive gives your student an opportunity to build a strong foundation in the area of algebra.

Since River is in the sixth grade, we are working through the program at a two-year pace. We have access to the program for three years, which will be very helpful to me and him.

We do math six days a week. River covered the Algebra: A Complete Course using the following schedule:

Day one: Watch the video for the lesson, review the course notes and complete half of the problems (either even or odd numbered problems.)

{I really like that students are encouraged to SHOW THEIR WORK.}

Day two: I allowed him to watch the video again if he wanted a review. Sometimes he did and other days he did not. He would complete the other half of the problems, (either even or odd, whichever he had not done the previous day).

Day three: He would take the quiz to see if he understood what was being covered progressing to the next section. If he did not pass, then I would have had him repeat the lesson and redo half of the problems AGAIN. Fortunately, he understood, passed and we were able to continue.

Day four: Repeat days one through three for each following day.

Although it was not necessary, I sat with River while he watched the videos. I wanted to be with him in case he had any questions and it was a nice refresher for me. It just reinforced my love of math.

Some of the features I really like are:

• It encourages students to show their work.
• It is an independent student program.
• All work (assignments, quizzes and tests) are done offline.
• Course notes are already prepared for the student.
• You have access to the course for three years for two students.

The instruction is done online, but the work is completed on paper. I like that. I don’t really understand how one can learn and completely understand math by doing all of the work using a computer. Pencil and paper, to me, is part of the learning experience.

We are enjoying working through the Algebra: A Complete Course. Since we have been using this program alongside his other math, we will continue the current schedule. River is showing a desire to pick up the pace, which is something that we may do in a couple of months.

It was nice to review this product. I did note some things that would make it easier to use.

One thing that would probably make it easier for me as a teacher is being able to see River’s progress in my teacher area online instead of me (or him) having to keep track of that offline. It is a simple issue, but I think that it is one that would be helpful, especially since the courses that are offered are ones that students may take for high school credit. Any assistance in ensuring that type of record keeping (mastery, grades, etc.) is accurate would be appreciated.

As we continue to move rapidly through the digital age, I think that more companies are going to have to make the investment and update many of their video and DVD instruction to make it more appealing to their target audience. I was alright with the presentation, because I am old-school and just want the facts. I do not need any singing or dancing when I am trying to learn something new. Since the curriculum is geared towards a new age of student, what I like may not be what they prefer.

For my children, I am not looking for a video game or busy experience when they are being taught, but I know that they are going to have expectations on how online programs are presented to them.

VideoText Interactive is our first introduction into the presentation of algebra or higher level of math. It was really helpful to me to have someone else teach the subject. Although I enjoyed and did well with algebra in school, River did not have to wait for me to refresh myself on the subject before being able to start learning. I was able to set him up on the computer and let him go.

See if your student is ready.

Price is always an issue for me when it comes to purchasing curriculum. I want my money’s worth regardless of the price. VideoText Interactive is an expensive program, but I believe what is offered in the course makes the price of $299 worth it. Even if you figure $100 a year for a higher level of math with teacher supplied, that is a value that you would not be able to find anywhere, even with you as the teacher. VIdeoText Interactive does offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so you are able to try it out to see if it is a good fit for your student.

Algebra: A Complete Course is available for $299.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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