A homeschool mom may begin to feel a time crunch when her older child starts upper level math. If there are younger ones in the home who require the lion's share of intensive teaching time to learn the basics, the mother may think she is short-changing the older child who is now learning about functions, algebraic equations, and parabolas, etc. Or perhaps she does not think she has the necessary skills to instruct higher-level math without some assistance or encouragement. I have experienced both of these scenarios, and it is not a good feeling. It can also involve lots of guilt. However, there is a solution!
In the past few years, our family has used the DVDs from Teaching Tape Technology to give additional instruction in Saxon Math for grade levels 4th through Advanced Math. We have been (and still are) extremely satisfied with these videos and the teacher, so when I had the opportunity to review the Mastering
Algebra John Saxon's Way Algebra ½ (3rd edition) DVDs, featuring seasoned mathematics instructor Art Reed, I was intrigued--yet a bit hesitant as well. Could these videos measure up? Could I be objective? I can honestly answer "yes" to both of those questions.
Mastering Algebra "John Saxon's Way" Algebra ½ comes in a hard plastic case with clear sleeve protectors for each disc. There are eleven DVDs, covering over twenty hours of Saxon Math instruction (124 lessons) in a classroom setting. Each disc contains about 14 lessons, and the last disc has appendices with ten supplemental topics. To see the concepts that are covered in Algebra ½, you can visit the following link:
http://homeschoolwithsaxon.com/contents_alghalf3rd.php. In addition, by using this outline of topics covered in Saxon Algebra ½, anyone can correlate the DVDs to other pre-algebra books as well.
Art Reed is a fantastic instructor. He is engaging and inspiring, but his approach is also straightforward and no nonsense--without a lot of fluff. But then again, he also has a great sense of humor. He is a professional through and through, and he knows his stuff. It is obvious that he enjoys teaching math and wants his students to succeed and master the material. I like his confident way of presenting each lesson, but he is also the first to say that he makes mistakes like everyone else. He does expect the students to take responsibility for their work and do what it takes to learn the material. He does not spoon feed, but he does explain each concept thoroughly and give encouragement. He gives extra tips and information to make everything easier to understand, and I think his approach fosters a much-needed character building "learning style." I also like the way he uses visual aids and manipulatives when needed to reinforce certain concepts.
Art Reed was a contemporary and friend of John Saxon, who passed away in 1996, so he has a firm grasp on how the program is to be used. Although now retired, Mr. Reed has over 12 years of classroom teaching experience using Saxon Math, and he has been a Saxon homeschool consultant during the last nine years. In addition, he is the author of the hands-on guide Using John Saxon's Math Books, designed to help homeschool educators successfully use Saxon Math--and save money too.
The cost of the Mastering Algebra John Saxon's Way DVDs for Algebra ½ (3rd Edition) is $49.95 with free shipping. You can visit the usingsaxonmath.com website for more information or to download sample lesson videos.
Overall, I think this is a wonderful set for homeschool families who use Saxon Math. The DVDs are the perfect solution to help moms (or dads) who need a bit of assistance in teaching higher-level math. The students have access to an experienced instructor, and they can replay the videos as many times as they need to master the material. Personally, I was thrilled to find yet another great resource for Saxon Math instruction to add to our collection. I highly recommend Art Reed and the Mastering
Algebra John Saxon's Way DVDs as a great investment in your child's mathematical education.