Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VideoText Interactive - Math Doesn't Have To Be That Hard! @VideoTextMath #homeschool

VTA LogoVideoText Interactive Math
  • For All Upper Grade Math Courses From Pre-Algebra - Pre-Calculus
  • Claim Credit in Pre-Algebra,Algebra I and Algebra II
  • Continue With the Program to Claim Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus
  • Lessons are Inquiry Based Interactive Videos - Only 5-10 Minutes Long
  • Students Will Learn Rather Than Memorize
  • All Programs are Guaranteed and Come With Excellent Customer Service
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  • Links to the Yahoo Support Groups are Also on the Home Page
It is that special time of the homeschool year - Convention season and time to choose our curriculum for the next school year.

One thing people always ask me about homeschooling is how I plan to teach math - especially through High School.  Math seems to scare people.  It surprises them that I would even consider teaching trigonometry or pre-calculus.

I will be honest.  I feel rather confident since we have been using Video Text Interactive.  The boys began this system with pre-Algebra and I can say with a good bit of certainty that *this* is how I plan to teach math, even through the difficult subjects.

Video Text Interactive is not like any other math program I have used.  The lessons are video based - which is the reason they call it VideoText!  There is no cumbersome textbook - just a short clip that takes less than ten minutes to watch.  Each video segment is paired with a series of problems designed to practice the new concept, and finally students take a quiz.  If they don't do well on the quiz, we repeat the lesson, and there is second "B" form of the quiz which can be used to measure mastery.

VTA Explained
The boys enjoy these lessons because they explain why we do things the way we do.  VideoText doesn't just show the student how or give them things to memorize- it clearly shows the reasoning for why things are done.  For example - we all know that to divide fractions, we flip the second fraction and multiply.  Do you know why we do that?  If you learned math with this program you would!

The author of the program, Mr. Tom Clark, put these lessons together quite deliberately.  Bit by bit a very strong foundation is built.  It is a slow and methodical process.

My kids appreciate that there is nothing flashy or distracting.  The instructor teaches in front of a simple blue background .  He or she is not the focus of the lesson.  Instead, we focus on the visual demonstrations which appear on screen as the problem is solved.  It is especially helpful that each step in problem solving is highlighted.  This is multi sensory learning without any sensory overload is perfect for my boys.

There is also a well developed set of course notes for each lesson allowing the student to watch without worrying about forgetting later or having to scribble and then decipher what was written.

The course has been around for quite a while.  The first lessons were on VCR tapes and then upgrading to DVDs.  Keeping current, the program has recently switched to an online format.  The DVDs are still available, but the online option has dropped the price considerably!  

With the online option, the videos can be viewed on the computer and the workbook pages and tests can either be used from the screen, or be printed from .pdf files that are linked to a personal account.  Instead of using four books per course everything can be viewed online.  Currently, the only pages that I am printing are the quizzes and even those could be copied onto a notebook or a sheet of paper if desired.

All of the videos and files can even be viewed on tablet, smartphone or other internet compatible device by using a either a web browser or an app created by Moodle.

When the teacher and student have set up accounts, they can log in to find their course list:

VTA Course Selection
Once we find our course, we then scan the list to find the current lesson.

VTA Lesson List
On the first day, there is a video - note that the background is a calming blue, there is a clear visual of the work being done on screen to demonstrate the concept.  Also note that the left side of the screen shows the purpose of the lesson and the objective.  If after watching this video I did not feel as though the objective (in green) had been met I could take another 6 minutes to watch it again.

VTA Video Lesson
The next days are spent working through a series of related problems. and the lesson ends with the previously mentioned quiz.  If you are not confident in your own math, as the parent, you will love the solution guide.  It has more than answers - it also includes the full work required to achieve the correct outcome.

The score of the quiz dictates our next step.  Do we repeat the lesson or move forward?  Also, as a parent, I have made the decision to repeat a lesson, just because I felt like it was important and should be reinforced.  The website has plenty of extra material if you need it.

This format reduces so much math anxiety!  It is easy to measure mastery,and understanding the mathematical concepts helps the students to move on incrementally without a lost at sea feeling.

If you would like to learn more, please visit www.videotext.com.  You can also see some sample lessons on this page.  

I would like to add that this is a very customer service oriented company.  Every question I have had has been answered, and Mr. Clark stands proudly behind his products.  There is a helpline for parents and students and they welcome you to use it!  Simply call 1-800-ALGEBRA (254-3272) during business hours or leave a voice mail message and somebody will return your call.  

If you are a convention attendee, the website has a list of upcoming conventions and speaking engagements where you can sit in on a session to learn more.  

It has been an absolute pleasure to watch my kids go from dreading math to feeling comfortable with it.  We have been using the home video based version of VideoText Interactive for two years.  When I saw the new online availability, I wanted to help promote it.  

We have been using our own textbook and video version beside the same lessons using the web based learning.  We are really enjoying the online quite a bit more.  It is neat, easy to navigate, and instead of two workbooks, two course notes, two notebooks, a solutions manual, a manual with the tests in it, and a manual with the solutions to the tests I now use an iPad, two notebooks and I print a quiz page as needed.  (which I had to do before, also)

I hope you are enjoying the season, and choosing your new curriculum.  Please be sure to keep VideoText Interactive in mind for your older students!
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In exchange for an honest blogged review, I was granted access to the online version of this program.  I was not paid to write this post, and my opinions are always genuine.