What It Is:
I reviewed the first three levels of the online program Instant Master Teacher. This included the online teaching time, plus a downloadable workbook and answer key. There are three levels currently available:
Level 1: Counting to one hundred, addition/subtraction, place value fractional parts and order, time, and money
Level 2: Multiplication/division, problem solving, fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction with fractions
Level 3: Multiplication/division of fractions, decimals, percents
This online E-Learning is meant to be a full time math curriculum and not just a supplement. A placement test is available on the website at no extra charge.This is in pdf form, which you would print out for your child and then evaluate to see which level to begin with. When you choose a level, the first thing that comes up is a Table of Contents, which is a list of math topics. Within each of these chapters are lessons to watch. When your child clicks on a lesson, Mr. Bee comes onto the screen. He is a cartoonish bee, holding a pointer. The lesson begins with the Bee "talking"; by this I mean a bubble appearing over his head and then words appear. There is no audio to this power-point type presentation; you as the teacher would sit next to your child and read the text to them aloud.
The teaching is done in a question/answer format: for example in the chapter on multiples Mr. Bee will ask in his bubble, "Is 24 a multiple of other numbers?" (The number 24 comes up in a circle on the screen.) At this point a forward arrow appears in the right hand corner. When your child verbally answers the question, he clicks the arrow and the next page comes up. On the next page Mr. Bee asks, "Is 24 a multiple of 8?" (next page) "Yes, we say that 24 is a multiple of 8 because it is equivalent to 3 times 8." (At the same time the numbers 3 and 8 come up in smaller bubbles underneath the 24, showing the multiple family.) Unlike other online math programs, you do not enter your answers - they are meant to be answered verbally by your child to you.
What You Get:
You can choose to have access to only one level, two levels, or all three. One level is $20 a month; if you would like access to two levels at the same time the second level is only $15, and to add a third level is only $10 more. So to say it simply, you can purchase all three levels for $45 a month. You can also subscribe for 1 year on the website. Along with the online lessons you will also receive a downloadable workbook, with over 100 pages of worksheets per level. These coincide with each of the lessons and are meant for you to print out and give to your child to do. You can see the more information about purchasing here.
How We Used This:
I had three of my children doing this math program. Two were in level 1 and the third did a few lessons in level 3, but spent most of her time in level 2. For my younger two I printed out the placement test and gave it to them, but I did have a hard time figuring out where to have them begin when looking at the lessons and website. I sat next to the younger ones and read with them the information on each page. The pace was very good for the younger one, but the other daughter doing this level felt that it went a bit slow for her. With my older daughter, I was able figure out from the table of contents where she should begin. She found it easy to understand, but during some of the lesson, she got a little bored when it seemed like there were too many examples. One thing we found was that the website does not remember you; you do log in with your user name and password, but they do not provide separate accounts for any of your children. So to fix that we put a paper by the computer so my children could remember what lesson they were on. This also made it hard if we needed to stop halfway through a lesson.
What I Thought:
My youngest probably benefited the most from this product. She has been learning the addition facts up to 10 and the extra time spent on these lessons really helped her. I did have a hard time with some things in the level 1 lessons; when teaching addition two hands are shown with the fingers being counted. I would rather have her use manipulatives to show more and less instead of having to rely on her own fingers. I also struggled with needing to sit with my children for the entire lesson. I have 4 of them, and to sit and read the script for them all would take a big chunk out of the day. I do go over their math with them every day, but I also want to encourage independent learning, especially for the older ones. The website was a little hard to navigate, and my older daughter had a hard time finding her place when coming back to the lesson each day.
If you like scripted math teaching, and your child needs the one-on-one attention, then this might be a good fit for you. For us, this was a good supplement; I did have my middle daughter do a lesson out of order - place value - since she had been struggling with it recently. And after completing it she did feel that she had a better understanding of it.
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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a one-year subscription to this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.