kitchen table math, the sequel: Teaching Company high school courses on sale

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching Company high school courses on sale

I'm probably going to spring for Algebra II, God help me. (There's a workbook, too, for about $30 extra, but it's not listed on the web site. If you order, call the customer service rep.)

This review persuaded me:

An Oldie But A Goodie
April 30, 2009

To put this TTC course in a historical perspective, it's course #102 with a copyright date 1994. If you can remember back then, there wasn't much of an internet, computer graphics were in infancy, and DVD technology was still being developed. Does this mean this course should be re-done and "modernized"? Well, that'd be nice, but it's really not necessary. But it does mean the visual aids, such as they are, are very basic, and the teacher makes extensive use of the simple old blackboard and flip-chart easel.

Now, I kind of liked that, because it reminded me of when I first took Algebra II in high school, 50 years ago. But if you - or the kid you got this for - get bored if there are no special effects, animations or related "eye candy" at every turn, then this course will indeed be a poor choice. This course is for those who not only want to learn algebra, but are willing to do what it takes to learn algebra. For those people, this course is an excellent investment. It's going to take some work on the student's part, first and foremost being concentration. To state it another way, if you want to learn algebra and how to work algebra problems, this course is a valuable asset, and if you don't, I'm at a loss as to what to recommend.

Most TTC Science & Math course are survey courses, meaning they "sell" the subject and its high points in an entertaining manner, and take you up to, but not into, problem-solving. That's NOT true with this one. It doesn't pretend, or even try, to get you fired up about algebra. This is a pure dirty-hands work-course. Frequently, the instructor will put a problem on the board, and ask the student to stop the "tape" and solve the problem. When you restart the course, the instructor will show the solution and what steps are involved. If you skip these problems, you have no way of gauging how much you've learned - or not. To learn algebra, you have to work algebra - there's no ducking this - and this course offers plenty of that kind of opportunity.

I'll also note that, although it's not on the web page, this course still comes with a workbook, aligned with the lecture topics, with answers in the back. If you're looking forward to a formal classroom course, working these problems is certainly in your best interest.

Another reviewer mentioned "Algebra II for Dummies". This is also a good self-study approach. There's a companion workbook, which I also recommend. (The price for both is only about $30.) Between this DVD course and the Dummies book and the workbooks, you should have all you need to fully move around at this algebra level. And if you'll be taking a high-school course, these two items will prepare you about as much as is possible.

Regarding the instructor - ok, Jay Leno he's not. But I enjoyed his "blue collar" kind of instruction, and I had no problem at all understanding him or the information he was trying to get across. And no, he doesn't look at the camera all the time, but this makes it "seem" like a classroom environment, where the teacher certainly doesn't (I hope) spend the entire period glaring at you.

I really enjoyed this course and got a lot out of it. It was well worth the price. For the intended audience, I definitely recommend it."

This is annoying. The chemistry course, which I bought just a few months ago, has now been revised.

1 comment:

lisa c said...

The teaching company allowed me to upgrade to the new version of the chemistry course (I bought the first edition in Jan 09 and called in Aug 09 about the new edition) for $40. they offered to do an even exchange but I chose to keep edition 1 and cough up the $40 because my son is going to start a chemistry course sooner than we anticipated and I didn't want to delay his start with TTC DVDs