Struggling with Math Curriculum?

by Dawn Oaks on October 2, 2013 · 0 comments

If there is one subject that I really try to be consistent with, it would be math. Because the skills taught build upon one another from lesson to lesson and from year to year, gaps can be created by skipping around from curriculum to another. However, there are times that you just really need to consider a change. We found ourselves in one of those situations in trying to tackle high school geometry. This is where life was at when we had the opportunity to review the Geometry: A Complete Course from Videotext Interactive.

About the Course:

Geometry: A Complete Course from Videotext is a complete on-line geometry course for high school students. This course is currently presented in six modules where the concepts build nicely upon each other. Additional modules that will be included in this course will round it out so that your student can receive credit not only for geometry, but also trigonometry and pre-calculus.

When you subscribe to Videotext Interactive, you are able to create both parent and student accounts. The parent account will have links to all of the course materials, quizzes, and answer keys. As a parent you also have access to the lesson videos if you wish to preview them yourself. The parent module allows you to walk through the program in the same way that your child will.

A wonderful addition in the parent view are links that will allow you to print off the course notes, student worktext, solutions manual, progress notes, and the instructor’s guide for each unit. This sure beats printing each of these off daily. These same materials are available to your child as well through the application. So if your student does not need that paper copy, there is no need to use up your ink budget. The quizzes are not accessible through the student account views and would need to be printed by the parent. Each of these items can also be purchased in a preprinted format from Videotext Interactive.

 Videotext Parent Dashboard

The student dashboard is very well organized. It provides an overview of the day’s lesson. If there is a quiz to take at the beginning of the day that will be the first alert that the student sees. They are directed to their parent to get a copy of the quiz. If there is no quiz, the student will be directed to the video lesson. Most of the videos were 10 minutes or less in length. The student is encouraged to start and stop the video every few minutes to process the information shared and to answer any questions that are presented in the context of the lesson.

 Videotext Dashboard

All of the slides that are presented in the videos can also be found in the Course Notes file. These notes are not wordy, but very graphical in nature. Our daughter felt that the critical information was presented in a way that was easy to understand.

 Videotext Course Notes

At the end of each day, the student is presented with worktext problems to solve. These can be printed off or solved on notebook paper while viewing the problems on-line. Given that geometry deals with a lot of shapes and figures, we chose to print off the sheets and work directly on them. There were generally 10 problems or less per lesson for the students to work.

Our Thoughts:

Our family has been so delighted by our experience thus far that we are putting our other curriculum away and switching to Videotext Interactive’s Geometry: A Complete Course. Our daughter had been completely overwhelmed by the high theoretical way that her old curriculum was presenting information and the volume of new material being covered in each lesson. This is not the case with Videotext. The very visually oriented slides that are part of the course notes do an excellent job of summarizing the key points of the video and are a wonderful reference guide.

Another plus of this curriculum is that it is all on-line. Some programs will be advertised as an on-line tool, but then you find that you are loading the program onto your computer. With Videotext Interactive, we can go to any computer with an internet connection and pick up from where we left off.

Once the student in inside a lesson, there are hyperlinks to the course notes, worktext pages, and solution manual that get directed to exactly where she needs to go. The student does not have to keep flipping through different files to get everything together for the day or even spend time bookmarking where they are at. It is important to note that even though these materials are all readily accessible to your student and that they are encouraged to check their work each day with the answer key, parent involvement is encouraged. The author of the program desires that parent watch the video with their student and have dialog about the lesson; possibly having the student use the course notes to reteach the lesson to the parent to help solidify the material in their mind.

From a mathematical perspective, I truly appreciated the fact that there are dedicated sections on both inductive and deductive logic built into this program. These skills may seem irrelevant, but it is these very reasoning skills that are needed to complete more advanced geometric proofs.  Without an understanding of the basics of inductive and deductive language, writing proofs in geometry can be much more challenging.

The author of the curriculum provides for a schedule that will allow your student to complete this whole course in one, two, or three years. The licensing is wonderful in that your student does have complete access for three years from the time that their account is activated to complete the course. A family account is automatically set to accommodate two students. Additional students can be added for a small fee. The cost of the original family subscription is $299. There is a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.  For those seriously considering purchasing a subscription, I would also recommend visiting the company’s website for some product demos.

A couple of features that we wish that the curriculum did have are a check-off of completed lessons and a grade book in the parent module.  Being able to store my child’s grades in the preprinted lesson check off sheet would be a handy tool in the software.  In addition, if it were possible for me to check off lessons that have been completed and to have the software automatically take my student to their next lesson upon login it would be fantastic.

Our Recommendation:

Videotext Interactive gets a thumbs up from this family.  Both parent and student are thrilled; so much so that we are putting our old curriculum away and making the switch.  This is not a change we often make, which speaks even louder to the strength of this program.

Videotext Interactive also offers a complete Algebra course that covers the necessary material for completion of pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2.  From watching the product demos, it seems to be set up with the same philosophy and format as the Geometry course we reviewed.

As always, you do not have to take just our word for it.  Check out the other reviews by my crewmates on the TOS Review Crew.

 

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