From the first time I saw VideoText Interactive (which was years before I knew about the Crew), I was intrigued. Then I saw the price and I was saddened. For three years of math, the price was very fair; I just knew that I would never have that much money at one time. Then when the Crew got the opportunity to review this awesome program and I saw that it had gone online (and, hence, had gotten more affordable), I was ecstatic! Not only was I going to get to review Geometry: A Complete Course with Therese: I was going to be able to recommend it without reservations about the price if it worked out (here's a preview of the verdict: I recommend it without reservations!).
Math. If there is one thing I don't need to write reams about to a homeschooling mom audience, it is math. For those of you that get it and love to teach it - you're awesome. For the rest of us - welcome to VideoText Interactive and my new best friend Tom Clark. Mr. Clark is the best math teacher I have ever seen. I knew when Therese started the Geometry lessons that everything would hinge on the teacher. If he was annoying, condescending, too difficult, too easy, had a funny accent, or any one of a number of other impediments, she would not want to do the class. I held my breath as Mr. Clark started to speak, and let it out gratefully when this very nice, very earnest, super-knowledgeable man began to teach. It's not that Therese is a diva - she's not. She is just very, very particular about who teaches her (in Kindergarten, the only grade she attended school (a private, Catholic school), she actually pretended she was sick when she had a substitute. She was so offended and horrified that the sub a) wanted to be called Auntie Sarah and b) was teaching them to count to 10 when they could count backwards by 2s from 100 that she felt she had no recourse but to go the secretary's office and call me to come get her. I choose to think of this as a side-effect of being too smart for her barely 5 year-old self. She was an exemplary child in all other respects).
Back to Mr. Clark: watch some Sample videos to see how perfect his teaching style is. I dare you not to get sucked in to the math lesson even if you would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than do math.
How it WorksVideoText Interactive's Geometry online allows you three years of access for $299. After completing all modules A-F (a total of 176 video lessons with module F currently still in production), your student will be able to claim transcript credits for Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus. In essence, then, for $299, you could sew up most of your child's high school math transcript. To me, that is one heck of a deal. The best part of that deal, though, is it is virtually painless.
Each Geometry lesson follows the same format. The lesson menu looks like this:
As you finish each part of the lesson, there is a clickable prompt at the bottom of the screen that takes you to the next part of the lesson. It is foolproof. There is no way accidentally to go out of order or to skip a necessary part. On the other hand, if you want to watch the lesson again, it is as easy as going to this menu on the side and clicking "Video Lesson."
As you watch the video lesson (something Mr. Clark encourages parents to do with their children so they can pause the lesson often to help their child "interact" with it), Mr. Clark strongly encourages students not to take notes so that they can focus all of their attention on the lesson. In fact, the course notes provided (as seen in the menu) are almost an exact replica of the lecture, so note taking is not necessary - but don't print them out until after the lecture!
After completing the lesson, there are WorkText Pages (homework problems, in other words). I found that there are just the right the number of problems, neither too many nor too few. This is key in a math program: too many and a kid gets discouraged. Too few and the concepts are not solidified. And if there is anything Mr. Clark insists on, it is mastery! Mastery is the entire philosophy behind VideoText Interactive. It is why he has his Algebra students complete through Algebra II before moving on to Geometry. It is why his Geometry program is so comprehensive that it goes all the way through Pre-Cal.
One of the greatest features of VideoText Interactive is that there are separate logins for parent and student. When I log in, my screen looks like this. Anything in green is teacher content. I have notes, multiple iterations of each quiz and the answers (Therese has access to all of the answers for the daily homework, too).
When Therese logs in, this is what she sees:
Because I do the entirety of her lesson with her (meaning, I sit next to her and make sure that she is pausing the video often, interacting, understanding, etc.), we usually just log in with my login. I love that there are separate logins, though.
Another amazing feature of this program which serves to lower the overall cost if you have more than one child is the fact that your $299 cost enables you to have licensing for two students. A student's license lasts for three years after it is activated. That makes the program too good to pass up. Even more unbelievably, you can add another student for just $49! For large families, this program is a Godsend.
Therese and VideoText Interactive Geometry
I've already talked about our experience throughout this review, so this section will be a little short. Thus far, Therese has really liked this program. Admittedly, it has been very challenging. First, she is 12. Geometry is typically a 9th or 10th grade class. While Therese is in 9th grade, math is a bit of a challenge. Although Mr. Clark prefers students to complete all of Algebra prior to Geometry, Therese has only completed most of Algebra, and not Algebra II. Truth to tell, had I to do it over, I probably would have requested the Algebra program to review. I wanted Geometry 1) because I didn't want Therese to move backward in math and 2) because she is taking the SAT in January and even a bit of exposure to Geometry will be a huge help to her. Now that she is doing Geometry, she will definitely stay with it. Mr. Clark is an excellent teacher and we can go as slowly as we need to. If there is something algebraic that ends up holding her back, I can pause and teach it to her.
Nicky is doing Algebra with another program now. When he is finished, I will have him complete this program. I am actually struggling with the decision of whether to purchase VideoText Interactive Algebra now for Nicky, or later for the twins. What I do know is that I will be purchasing it.
The Final Analysis
VideoText Interactive is not your typical math program, but when you figure out everything you are getting, it costs less than your typical math program. Yes, I just said that. At $299, it costs less than your typical math program. You are getting 3 years of access for 2 students (each!) for three high school credits. You don't need to be good at math to figure out what a great deal that is. Spend just five minutes watching Tom Clark teach and you'll have confidence that with him at the helm, your child will *get* math. VideoText Interactive Geometry is for any student who is ready for Geometry, which is typically a high school student who has completed Algebra.
Other Crew members reviewed both Geometry and Algebra from VideoText Interactive, so be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews. This product is one of my favorites of the year, and it IS my favorite math program. At $299, it is a wonderful bargain. Thank you, Mr. Clark.