For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Professor B - Homeschool Crew Review


One of our latest products I have been reviewing as a part of the TOS Homeshool crew has been Professor B.

"What is professor B?", you may ask.

Professor B is a math curriculum that aims at teaching Math contextually. They believe that "Mathematics is best retained by reconstruction rather than memorization". To this end Professor B teaches Math in a way that makes sense, and makes connection, not in a rote, mechanical way. They focus on teaching number sense and strategies.

Professor B teaches:

LEVEL IPre-k though 2nd graders and remediation of older learners.Introduction to Addition/Subtraction Facts - Counting to One Hundred - Lower Addition and Subtraction - Higher Addition and Subtraction - Place Value Fractional Parts & Order - Time - Money
LEVEL II3rd grade through 5th grade and remediation of older learners. Multiplication/Division Facts and Problem Solving - Introduction to Fractions - Fractional Equivalence - Addition and Subtraction Fractions
LEVEL III6th through 8th grades and remediation of older learners.Multiplication/Division of Fractions - Decimals - Percents

There is a placement test on their website so that you can know at which level to start.

They offer both an e-learning program as well as arithmetic books and algebraic books.

PhotobucketWe were asked to review the e-learning program. We focused on Level 2 and specifically on long divisions, as this is where we are at in Math with my 3rd grader. I also had my 1st grader do some of the later part of level 1 (place value).

The way this program works is that a bee with a stick guides you through the different chapters, and teaches you the lessons. The concepts are explained using stories and  making conceptual connections.  There is no sound, so the parent is meant to sit with the child, (which can be skipped if you have motivated, independent learners), and interact with him. The program is very interactive as the child is supposed to answer back to the questions and problems posed, even if the answers require working it out on paper.

The program also includes workbooks (printable PDF file) for practice. Not every lesson requires a page of exercices. The bee lets you know when to do the facility (as it is referred to) exercises and for how long.

Our opinion:

The concept behind the program is very appealing. We want our kids to understand the mechanism, and the why of why Math works. Math is not just a set of rules, math makes sense, and in that way it reflects the creator.

The program is very easy to use and to navigate through, with clickable arrow to go forward and backward. You can always get back to the table of content at any time. The company's website is not as friendly but you only need to be there at the time of ordering.

I find that Professor B is very "schoolish" when it comes to the way it is implemented: scripted text through bubbles which makes it more interesting, and practice workbooks.

Although professor B stays away from rote learning, the program still has a feel of drill with the workbooks. The workbooks have pages full of exercises (of which you do not have to do everything - once mastered you move on), but for my oldest seeing a page of exercises turns him off.

If you have a child who does not mind doing lots of exercises, this program is definitely one to look into. It promotes conceptual, and mental Math, and most of all Math sense.

My 3rd grader did enjoy the online lessons, not so much the practice. My 2nd grader had mixed feeling about the online lessons but did not mind the exercises. Both the boys are ok with Math when it comes to comprehending concepts, so it is hard for me to judge the effectiveness.

In conclusion, love the approach but the practice aspect of the curriculum does not thrill my boys at all.

Things to note:

Price:   $20/ month / level. You can get all three level at a discount for each additional level.
The program can now also be purchase for $100 for 3 years access to each level. The site is still being updated, but if you call 678-765-6655 they will be able take the order and honor the new price.

Their FAQ page contains a good list of questions for you to check out.

On their home page they offer a free sample and a 30-day free trial as well.


Disclaimer: I was offered a one year subscription to Professor B E-learning program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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