Conversations cultivate understanding. This is the heart of the dialectic stage of the "Trivium" in classical education. Why is it that when most people think about math, they think of a student sitting quietly calculating answers and scribbling computations on quad-lined paper. I think as a homeschool mom who's trying to do it all, this is one subject that we'd just like to pass off to a book and call it "independent study."
The problem is that even if your child is muddling through, a test can't fully express the understanding of the material like a conversation can. A few questions can draw out the gaps of confusion quickly, and a simple conversation can get them back on the road to mastery faster than weeks of getting the same kinds of problems wrong and arguments over their "sloppy work." (Speaking from experience here).
I happen to love talking about math. My challenge is having the time to do all that I need to do with all of my kids! Recently I reclaimed my position as math teacher/conversationalist in my home, and it has made a world of difference in my kids' attitudes about math.
Even though I love math, I still have my own limitations. I heard about an SAT Math Bootcamp from Mr. D's Math and I thought it would be an excellent way to educate both of us on what we need to do to start preparing for the college entry exam. What I discovered was a gold mine of math discussion, interaction, and inspiration - a homeschooler's dream.
I received access to Mr.D's Math courses as well as compensation for my time in return for my honest review. As always my opinions are my all my own, and I only share products that I love. This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy for more details.
SAT Math Bootcamp Marathon
While I am excited to tell you about all of Mr. D's Math options, I want to start with what brought me to Mr. D: Mr. D's Math. This course is a 6 week, live, online training to help students break down SAT math word problems in order to streamline their work on a timed test.
My son and I hopped online to the test prep portal before the live class officially started meeting. We just wanted to acclimate ourselves to navigating around (which is very simple). There were some pre-recorded videos that walked students through a sample SAT test, so we started watching.
No joke...we sat there for three hours playing with math. No, the SAT prep videos covering one exam did not take three hours to complete. What happened was that Mr. D engaged us in math, and we couldn't stop playing with the ideas that he had shared with us.
My son was just as engaged as I was in the training. He thought Mr. D was really easy to listen to, and he made the math fun because he's obviously passionate about what he's talking about.
The Heart Behind Mr. D
Emphasis on Learning
It was quickly evident to me that Mr. D is passionate about his students truly understanding the math they are studying. While there is a whole system set up for keeping and recording grades, the way he runs his classes exhibit a greater emphasis on working to learn and not just working to get a good grade.
All of the courses are offered live - with Mr. D. He'll be the one discussing math with your students in real time once a week. Additionally, the lessons are recorded so that the student can revisit the lessons throughout the week as needed. Mr. D also makes himself available for his students' questions through e-mail. This is an awesome resource for any parent who feels like their student is passing them in their understanding of math.
Equipping Students with Tools
Somewhere along my math educational path, the idea that there was only one right way to solve a problem was sunk deep into my soul. It's taken several years and many hours of "playing with math" to start to discover that there are actually many ways to approach a problem. Mr. D equips his students with tools to break down math as a language and play with it. When students get comfortable with this, they are equipped to tackle a problem that is more difficult from a different angle when they get stuck.
Math with Mr. D
If you're a homeschool mom who would like to have their child engaged and loving math, but don't feel like you can provide that for your student, these courses are the best I've ever seen. I had the opportunity to sit in on his Mr. D's Math, Algebra I and Geometry courses to get a feel for the live classes, and I thought it was incredible.
I've sat in on my fair share of online meetings, and this one was the best I've ever seen. From the minute I joined the course, he was welcoming and engaging with the students. He gave everyone a few minutes to arrive, and then he started in on the lesson for the week. While checking in on the progress of the students, he cultivates a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for learning math. During the class he would ask for responses to check for understanding. The students all replied in the chat box, which was visible to Mr. D, and he replied with encouragements or further explanation. Mr. D's enjoyment of math was evident every second of his presentation, and it was contagious. I found myself thoroughly enjoying calculating SIN, COS, and TAN (even though it's been many years since I've seen any of that)!
You can also work through his courses as a self-paced online course. This would be wonderful as a summer math program to shore up areas of weakness in your students.
Overall, I feel like the greatest benefit to math with Mr. D is having a teammate that's in your corner helping you succeed in homeschooling through high school.
Here's the full list of classes you can take through Mr. D:
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- SAT Math Bootcamp
- ACT Math Bootcamp
- Life Skills 4 Teens
I'm so happy that we found Mr. D. He is an awesome resource that I would happily recommend to any of my friends who are struggling to lead their students successfully through middle school and high school math.
How about you? How do you incorporate math into your conversations with your students?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.