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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Algebra Via MyMathLab

In my on-going quest to make my kids better at math (especially Algebra), I sign up for every possible opportunity to review a math project.  Yeah, my kids love me!  ;)

We got a chance to use a product from Pearson, called MyMathLab.

(Has anyone else seen this same "mom" in a lot of ads for homeschoolers?)
From their website:

MyMathLab is a series of online courses that accompany Pearson’s textbooks in mathematics and statistics. Since 2001, MyMathLab--along with MyStatLab and MathXL, have helped over 9 million students succeed at more than 1,900 colleges and universities. MyMathLab engages students in active learning—it’s modular, self-paced, accessible anywhere with Web access, and adaptable to each student’s learning style—and instructors can easily customize MyMathLab to better meet their students’ needs.

There are a lot of features to this program: homework assignments, testing, immediate feedback for the students, to name a few.

Also, when you join MyMathLab, you gain access to a community.  A community that is filled with over 10,000 math instructors.  They also have on-line chat help available 24/7....just in case you have a night owl that cannot sleep until they have completed some Algebra!  According to their website:

 A typical course in Algebra 1 or Algebra 2 is completed over an entire school year – or approximately 36 weeks. However, this course is set up so that it can be delivered based on your desired timeline. If your child works for 90 minutes per day and 5 days per week, the material could be covered in approximately 18 weeks. There are 10 units included in the course; you should determine how much time to spend each week per unit in order to complete the course by your desired deadline. To complete all 10 units in 36 weeks, approximately three weeks per unit is needed. 

So, you can buzz through it really quickly....or you can take it easy, and move at your own pace, because you have access on-line for 18 months.

How we used it:

I think I have told you before that we aren't really using a "real" curriculum this year for D-man's Algebra.  We got a used college level Algebra textbook that we have been using.  I say "we" loosely because I haven't had anything to do with his math this year.  He has basically surpassed my skill level....but not Rainman's.  Although with MyMathLab, neither of us would need to be an expert to "teach" this course.

As a parent, I could (if I wanted to) edit his assignments, or add tests or quizzes.  Or, I could (like I actually did ) do nothing, and just let him run with it alone.
They have all kinds of math, business math, statistics, calculus, ....even up through college levels.  Here are the list of titles they have available.  Here is a just a sampling of the Algebra titles they offer.

I asked both D-man and Rainman to use this program and see what they thought.  D-man fit it into his regular lesson plan and did some of his math time with his existing textbook and some with the MyMathLab. 

He doesn't really like to do school on the computer...he much prefers actual textbooks (he is his mother's son)....but, he said he liked it and liked that it told him right away when he got stuff wrong.  As he described it, he just "read the textbook, then worked the problems.  That's it."

He didn't love that he couldn't move on until he had gotten a score of 90%. But, I guess I support that requirement, because then you don't run into my problem of having to move onto new stuff before you really understand things.....Mr. Anlauf....I am talking to you.

Rainman, who I thought wouldn't like it, because it was sort of new-fangled technology, actually really liked it.  He said that the Algebra 1 level of MyMathLab was very similar to what was covered in the college level textbook that we had been using.  He did not read the on-line textbook, but watched the instructor videos, which he said were just like college lectures.  As he described it, he just "watched the videos, then worked the problems.  That's it."  (Hmmm....I guess D-man has a bit of both of us in his DNA!)

Overall, both D-man and Rainman thought this was a really strong upper level math program.  They both said that it was a little hard to navigate the site at first, but once they nosed around a bit, they figured things out.  (All of that probably could have been avoided if they watched the Getting Started video that was available.....but that is just me talking. )  ;)

Pearson has a lot of stuff available from elementary social studies to reading programs to science.  Just go to their site and search by grade level to see what they have to offer.  They are also working on Advanced Placement (AP) courses. 

MyMathLab Algebra 1 is available for $49.97 and the parent kit is available for  an additional $30.00.

The Schoolhouse Review Team tried out a lot of different Pearson products this time, so go take a look and see how they liked theirs.

Disclaimer:  We received student and parental access to MyMathLab Algebra 1 for free, in exchange for an honest review.