VideoText Interactive tackles algebra through a different lens! With Algebra: A Complete Course, your homeschool student will save time and frustration by completing Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, & Algebra 2 consecutively in short, easy-to-manage lessons.
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The following post and video were made as a collaboration between VideoText Interactive and It’s a Joyous Journey. We received Algebra: A Complete Course in return for providing this honest content related to our personal experiences with the product.
Can I make a confession? Nobody in my house likes algebra!
We’ve always used a mastery approach in our homeschool, so with my two older kids, we just worked through it until they got it. And, honestly, they did a lot better than they thought they did. It just doesn’t come easily to any of us.
For my youngest child, though, math has always been particularly difficult. Her brain just doesn’t make those mathematical connections naturally. We’ve tried all the tricks. We’ve changed curriculum multiple times. Nothing has helped.
More often than not, math time has turned into a time of tears and frustration for her and for me.
We were both so nervous about algebra as she was heading into high school this year. I started searching for something…anything…that might help her be able to find success and not feel defeated every day.
I saw some positive comments about VideoText Interactive in a Facebook group, so I started researching it. It was a non-traditional approach, but we needed something different. Traditional wasn’t working for us.
After reading through all the information on their website and feeling like maybe I’d found something that my daughter could click with, I had her look at it with me.
You know what?
She was actually cautiously excited that there could be a homeschool algebra curriculum that would be a good fit for her!
That in itself was a huge win for us!
She liked that it covers all of Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 continuously without taking a break for geometry. She had already taken Pre-Algebra, but she really couldn’t remember how to do most of it. She would definitely need a refresher. And then being able to go straight into Algebra 2 from Algebra 1 would give her a better chance at keeping the momentum going and not having to spend time re-learning things later in high school.
With that little bit of excitement brewing, I knew I had to take the leap and try VideoText Interactive!
Here in the middle of November of my daughter’s freshman year, she has finished Module A and is making good progress on Module B (of Modules A-F).
Here’s what I can tell you:
Math doesn’t ruin our day anymore.
We’ve only had one day this whole school year that she has been frustrated to the point of tears. One day! Remember…this had been an almost daily occurrence in the past! What a huge stress-reliever!
She’s finally starting to make those mathematical connections.
Algebra: A Complete Course starts from the beginning and explains the “why” of algebra, not just the “how”. It’s about learning concepts, not just memorizing procedures.
Mathematical operations are compared to the functions of grammatical elements, like nouns and verbs. So, my kid whose brain doesn’t make those mathematical connections naturally, she can understand numbers better when she relates them to the way words work to make sentences. Game changer!
She’s doing math on her own.
In the past, we both dreaded math time so much. She’d put it off until the end of the day and wouldn’t even attempt to do it on her own. I would sit with her, and we’d do every problem together. No matter how many ways I tried to explain it, it just didn’t make sense to her.
Sometimes it would take days to get through a lesson, because we could only get through a little at a time before there was an emotional breakdown. Honestly, it was causing way too much contention between us.
Now, with Algebra: A Complete Course, she is choosing to do math early in the day. She does it mostly on her own and comes to me if she needs help, which is usually only a couple of times a week. When she does ask for help, she is calm and doesn’t have that wall that seemed to always be up before when I would try to explain things to her.
We can have conversations about what she is learning, and it is very apparent to me that she’s getting it!
The short lessons make it more manageable.
As an educational psychologist, I can tell you that small chunks of information are easier for anybody to digest. If a person has learning challenges in a particular area, like my daughter does with math, it’s even more important not to overwhelm them with more information than they can process in one sitting.
The instructional videos for each lesson are short (I think they’re typically 5-7 minutes). They introduce one new concept and then the student puts that concept into practice.
There aren’t as many problems in the daily lessons as you will find in most high school math curricula, and it is only recommended that the student do either the odd or the even problems in one day. They should, however, write out all of their work for each problem.
This gives the opportunity to catch and correct mistakes early on, so the student is not working out loads of problems without ever knowing they’re doing something wrong until it’s too late to correct it. My daughter checks her own work each day, so she can see where she made mistakes and how to correct them.
Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of options for more practice, if it’s needed. I’m sure we’ll be utilizing more of the practice sheets as my daughter moves into the more advanced modules.
She loves the Course Notes!
Traditionally, a student would be expected to take notes during a lecture to use later when they’re doing their independent work. That can be counterproductive when your brain is trying to use its resources to process the information it’s receiving. It might work okay for rote memorization of facts that you need to recall later, but when you’re trying to actually learn how to do something new, your brain needs to give all of its focus to the process from beginning to end without interruption.
With that theory in mind, VideoText Interactive provides a booklet with each module that has course notes for each lesson. After the student has watched the video, they go to the Course Notes and try to re-teach the concept they just learned using the notes provided.
Of course, they can always go back and watch the video again with the notes in hand if they’re having trouble understanding something (remember, the videos are short), but having the most important elements from each lesson provided in the Course Notes booklet ensures that they don’t miss something that is imperative to understanding the concept.
My daughter has commented several times about how much the Course Notes have helped her when she is completing the practice problems. There are also explanations and examples provided in the student worktext that she finds to be quite useful.
On a side note: I do think note-taking skills are important, but they should be taught separately. A student who struggles to understand math should not be further penalized because they are trying to learn note-taking skills along with quadratic equations, for example.
She can go at her own pace.
We are planning to take two years to complete Algebra: A Complete Course. It’s set up to finish in either one, two, or three years, depending on each student’s needs. Since my daughter is a freshman, we have plenty of time. If she happens to be able to move faster, she might finish it sooner. If she needs more time, we’ll stretch it out to longer.
As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of practice problems available. There is an A and B practice sheet for each lesson, and the student is only expected to do the even or odd problems each day. That gives four days of problems, and more are available to print from the website, if needed.
In addition to the practice problems, there are two forms of each quiz available. The quiz is taken to ensure mastery before moving on to the next concept. This course is truly set up with self-pacing in mind.
Homeschool Planet is our must-have scheduling tool for homeschooling! You can purchase the lesson plans for Algebra: A Complete Course to pre-load into Homeschool Planet and save a ton of time on planning!
The videos are old, but the content is still relevant.
The videos that go along with this program were obviously made a long time ago. Video quality and graphics have come so far since then. Funny thing, though…my kid likes it that they look old! It reminds her of the 90s TV shows that she likes so much! 😊
Here’s the thing…if those old sitcoms were funny back then, they’re funny now. If they had good story lines then, we’re going to love watching them now-even if the video quality isn’t quite as good.
It’s no different with this curriculum. The content is good. The concepts are explained in a way that makes sense. My daughter understands. That’s all that matters.
We can get help if we need it.
One of the unique things about VideoText Interactive is the unlimited phone support for parents and students. Although we haven’t needed it yet, it’s such a comfort to know that someone is there to help us!
And I’m not just talking product support…They have instructors who answer the phones and work through the problems with you! That’s amazing!
Keep in mind that the phone support is intended for the original purchaser. If you buy this curriculum used, however, you can purchase phone support separately.
We think we’ve found a winner!
Of all the math curricula we’ve tried (and we’ve tried a lot of them), VideoText Interactive is looking to be the best fit for my daughter who has always struggled with mathematical concepts. As I said earlier, we’re just in Module B, so time will tell if this continues to hold true, but we think we’ve finally found a winner!
What about geometry?
VideoText Interactive also has a geometry program, but it’s designed to be taken after Algebra: A Complete Course. Geometry: A Complete Course covers not only geometry, but also trigonometry and pre-calculus.
Since we won’t be ready for this course for a couple of years, I haven’t looked at it too much just yet. You can find more info on it here.
Is it worth it? YES!
VideoText Interactive can be pricey, but you have options. They offer a completely online option with the written material available in PDF format, online videos with printed books, or DVD videos with printed books. Orders are filled by their parent company, Memoria Press.
You can also purchase each module separately as you need them, three-module bundles (A-C & D-F), or the entire course (Modules A-F) all at once. As with most things, there is a discount for purchasing the larger bundles.
If you want to start out with Module A to try it out, they will even credit the amount you paid for that module to one of the bundles if you contact them within 30 days of purchase (current policy as of this writing). They have a great guarantee as well.
Give it a try and see if it will make algebra a winner in your homeschool high school!