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Thursday, September 26, 2013

VideoText Interactive....Algebra....

This is a review.

I believe you are familiar by now with my feelings towards Algebra.  If not, check here and here

Rainman and I were both excited about getting to try out VideoText Interative.

My fear of my children turning out the way I did in their thinking and approach to Algebra has me in almost constant pursuit of combining the right approach to teaching them that it isn't so scary afterall.

We were able to try the on-line version of the Algebra:  A Complete Course.

Here is a quick video overview of the whole program, and kind of the thought process behind how it is laid out.  It is a little old fashioned looking, but it does a good job at showing how the problems are laid out and how they show the students how to work a problem.  It is an older video because it says that the author of this program, Tom Clark has over 30 years experience in teaching mathematics....he is currently up to 46 years of experience (and they show a VHS tape as part of the program)!  But, it does give you some good general information.  (Plus, you get to relive some of the fashions of 16 years ago!)

This program consists of 176 video lessons within 10 units  It covers Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II.  I would say that is "complete".

If you are a Scope and Sequence kind of person, you can go take a look here.

If you want to see the whole Schematic for this complete course, you can click here.

There are the video lessons, but the program also has work texts (workbook), solutions manuals that they can use, if necessary, to see where they went wrong on working out their problem, and tests.  We like tests. 

Here is how it worked for us and why we all liked it:

From A-girl:

The lessons are easy to watch, I like the video lessons because they are short and to the point.

The lesson works like this: you login and then you find the unit, and then the lesson that you need. When you click the lesson it will bring you to the video page. You watch the video, then you go to the course notes (which is just a review of the video lesson) then you go to the work text pages. At the work text pages you will again review the video lesson, then answer the questions.

The next day (or if the lesson has a second or third part you will take it the second or third day) you take a quiz to see if you understood/remember the previous lesson. If you don't understand, then there is a second quiz that you can take, after you rework the lesson.


Rainman is mostly in charge of teaching the high math around here. Up until now, he has been using an old beginners Algebra textbook we found at a used book store.

So, here are the positives from my outsiders perspective on Video Text Interactive.  Rainman didn't have to decide how much to cover in a day, nor did he have to remember to teach A-girl on his days off of work.  A-girl could take care of math during her normal school hours and not have to do it at night when Rainman was around when everyone else was off relaxing and doing anything but schoolwork!  This also meant that she did math every school day...not just a few.  I also liked (and I think A-girl did too) that she could pause the lessons to work on things...or if she didn't get something.  They actually encourage you to pause and work through things before you move on.  One of the things that was a little odd for me is their recommendation that the students do NOT take notes during the lesson...because that distracts them from truly understanding what is being taught.  They seem to be right because A-girl is really getting things and she hasn't been taking notes.

From Rainman:

Since I was teaching Algebra, but am not home every day to teach, this Algebra course can cover the same things I cover, but do it every day.  I like the clear, concise teaching format.  The material covered seems very consistent with what I would have taught.  The homework assignments and quizzes are set up to get maximum retention for the student.  This is a very good teaching course.

So, yes, we all liked it.  It is an easy course to navigate and we like that it tests A-girl and what she is retaining. 

I can't give you an exact age for this program, because that will vary for each person as to when they are ready for this program., but, in general, it is probably a 7th grade and up program.  A-girl is in 8th grade and is doing 1 lesson a day and so far is breezing through.  She probably could have started this in 6th or 7th grade.   I think we will start L-girl in this program next year when she is in 7th grade....but, we might actually start her later this year, because, honestly, I think she is ready....according to what Tom Clark states is "ready".

If you want to try out VideoText Interactive, you can use the program for Algebra or Geometry.

Here is the cost breakdown for Video Text Interactive's Algebra program.

ONLINE ALGEBRA Modules A-F: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 (Classic Print Version – $529.00) ……. $299

ONLINE ALGEBRA Module A – “Algebra Readiness” (Classic Print Version – $99.95) ……. $59.00

ONLINE ALGEBRA Completer Package – Modules B-F: (Classic Print Version – $429.05)…….$240

($299 pricing reflects licensing for two students. Add an additional student in your family’s household for $49. A student license will last three years from the date it is activated for each student, and instructor accounts may also be turned on for a short period by request for SAT/CLEP prep after a student license has expired. Online Programs have a full 30-day money back guarantee.)

So, to clarify, the program we are using for A-girl is the $299 version.  Now, she will have access for 3 years.  I will also have access for L-girl, when we start her, and her access will last for 3 years from the time she starts.  Does that make sense?  It may sound like a lot of money, but when you factor all of that in, it is really a great deal, for a great advanced math program.

There is also an Algebra Classic program available, if you don't have high speed internet, that has hard copies of the teaching materials available.  You can check out the details for that option here. It does cost a bit more. 

See what others on the TOS Review Crew thought of both VideoText Interactive Algebra and VideoText Interactive Geometry.