Friday, September 10, 2010

Review of Math Essentials

Math is a tricky subject in my house, not because it is difficult for my kids, but because they (at least the oldest two) are so far ahead in math that it can be challenging both to keep up with them, and to find the right programs that engage them both at their intellectual and at their maturity levels.  I was, therefore, quite excited to have the opportunity to receive a free (in exchange for my honest review) two-month subscription to Math Essentials.  Math Essentials is a subscription service offering everything from lesson videos, to printed exercises, to an evaluation center where you can test your child's knowledge of every aspect of math.

For $195 per year, a family receives a subscription to every aspect of the site.
Prior to committing this amount of money, one is able to sample many parts of the site for free, including some of the video lessons, which were the component of the site my family used the most.

I'll admit that I tend to challenge (not push! Never push!) my children when I know that they can handle it.  Thus, when presented with the perfect opportunity to have someone else teach my nine year-old daughter (who currently does 6th-7th grade math), I jumped at the chance to have her work a little harder.  I promptly showed her the list of available video tutorials, and told her that Pre-Algebra would give her a great jump on this year's math.
She agreed to give it a try.  Pre-Algebra has been a great success for two reasons: I haven't been teaching it, and she has been able to watch the lessons or, more precisely, parts of the lessons, more than once.  A couple of times she told me that the lessons explained things *too* in-depth -- that she got the concept long before the instructor (who you don't see) was done explaining, but that was a huge plus in my opinion! A couple more times, she didn't quite "get" something, so she brought it to me and I explained it a slightly different way.  Problem solved.  I have loved having someone else teach math for me.  Having three younger kids, being able to "offload" any subject is a huge plus, especially when it is one that I don't really enjoy teaching anyway.

We have not spent as much time in the other areas of the site (I want her to finish Pre-Algebra!), but a thorough perusal has convinced me that there is a wealth of material here.  All of my kids love the speed drills, which are available on the printed worksheets, or on the site itself to do electronically.  They are available in all ranges of difficulty.
Math Essentials also offers final exams for each of its subject areas so that you can check to see whether your child has really achieved mastery.
 Also, for those parents whose states have more rigorous homeschooling reporting options, or who just want to be sure that their children are where the state says they should be, Math Essentials also has correlations to national standards.
 Although there are still a few technical issues that this site is working on, they are very minor, and should be completely ironed out soon.  To be honest, I didn't even really notice them.  I have thoroughly enjoyed using Math Essentials, and I am seriously contemplating purchasing a subscription when our evaluation period is over.  I would encourage you to read what other Homeschool Crew members had to say about the product here: Crew Reviews of Math Essentials, and I would also suggest touring the Math Essentials site and trying out the free demos to see if this product is right for you.

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