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I received free access to Mr. D's pre-algebra course for this review and I was compensated for my time reviewing Mr. D Math. All opinions are my own.
Our struggle with Homeschool Math Courses
When we first started homeschooling, we had two daughters who were three and five at the time. Our first math curriculum, which we began in grade one, was Singapore Math. I loved it. The kids, not so much.
I loved that the Singapore books offered so much opportunity to practice and that it pushed kids to work beyond what was expected at their grade level. As a math lover myself, it was exciting for me to see my kids moving into concepts that were more advanced than I was allowed to do at their age.
For several years, they plugged away at the Singapore program and completed the Primary Math program last June. Although I thought it was a solid program, they never did become converted fans. They found the explanations lacking and the work too hard and too copious. I often struggled to get them to do their math.
Why we tried Online Math Courses
When we finished the Singapore Math books, we considered several different options for a new curriculum, including both online and physical math courses. Changing curricula can be difficult because you've spent years following a certain system and organization and adjusting to a new system is not always a smooth transition. I evaluated several online programs, but didn't find one that seemed to be a natural fit for us.
We ended up going with Beast Academy, which offers both a physical and an online version, and which is known to be both fun and challenging.
I don't want to give the impression here that Beast Academy is not a good program; it is. But because of our life circumstances, it didn't work for us. It is a very challenging program and the instructions were not sufficient for my girls to handle it independently. Unfortunately, with a preschooler and a toddler at home, I rarely had enough time to complete the lessons with them.
They tried the online lessons as well, but there was no live instruction—it was pretty much just a replication of the textbook, with some added assistance. They didn't get very far with it.
By the time we received the opportunity to test Mr. D Math, we were feeling pretty frustrated and were desperate for something that would help them meet their math goals with minimal help from me.
What I love about Mr. D's Online Math Courses
We started testing out Mr. D's online math courses just after Christmas. I enrolled both the girls in the Pre-Algebra course, which is the first level Mr. D offers, as it was the best fit for what they were previously studying.
The kids were excited about it straight off the bat. Computer time is very limited at our house, so they loved having the opportunity to go on the computer every day to do some of their school work. The course software is simple and intuitive to navigate and they picked it up right away.
Mr. D's Online Math Courses work with different Learning Styles
One reason I think Mr. D's math courses are so effective is that they incorporate many teaching methods. Students begin by watching a video where he explains the concepts and demonstrates several problems.
Students download and print a notes sheet that helps them follow along with the video by taking relevant notes. Some of the information is already added to the notes pages for them so they don't have to race to get everything down, but they can also pause the video if they need more time to write.
After watching the video, they print and complete the corresponding course work. They then check their own answers and submit their grade. Mr. D's emphasis is on learning, not on grades, so he encourages them to keep working the problems until they understand them and can solve them correctly, not just for the sake of the grade, but so that they really understand.
After submitting their grade, they take a short online quiz before moving onto the next lesson. They are able to complete approximately one lesson per day.
Students are also able to attend live classes on Zoom each week so that they can get real time one-on-one support from Mr. D Math teachers.
Mr. D teaches Challenging Subjects in an Understandable Way
I am pleasantly surprised by the way Mr. D is able to take challenging subjects that would have confused my kids a few months ago and teach them in a way that makes them seem almost like common sense. (Personally, that's my favourite thing about math—that is just makes sense—but I know that those who struggle with it have a hard time finding any sense in it at all).
He explains concepts like rational and irrational numbers, the distributive property, and divisibility rules in a way that my kids can readily understand. My kids—even though they are great at math—don't learn well from reading a textbook. They really need to hear someone explain things to them, and Mr. D does a fantastic job of this.
Mr. D offers World-Class Support and Assistance to his students
I know this sounds like an exaggeration or a gimmicky sales line, but this is honestly the only way I can think of to describe the level of customer service that Mr. D offers.
Before we did Mr. D Math, my kids would work through their math books, stopping every few questions to ask me a question. If I was unavailable to help them, they got stuck and had to wait until I had time to help them sort through the questions. This was the main thing holding them back from progressing with our previous curricula.
With Mr. D Math, it's Mr. D they go to with their questions, not me. At first, I was a little surprised (maybe a touch embarrassed) by how many questions they were sending him. (His responses come into my email account as well as into their lesson portal so I see everything they're asking him). But Mr. D is like a math concierge. He responds almost immediately with the answers they need and an extra dose of encouragement. I don't know how he manages to pull this off, but it has taken ALL of my kids' math frustration away. They are actually excited now when I tell them it's time to do math.
Also, there are two live classes per week (per course) where they can join a Zoom meeting and get live help from a math teacher. It's not necessarily Mr. D himself, but the teacher my girls worked with was just as helpful and equipped to answer their questions as Mr. D was.
What my kids love about Mr. D's Online Math Courses
My two older girls are both enrolled in Mr. D's Pre-Algebra course. Here's what they had to say about it:
"I really like Mr. D Math. I have learned a lot and I can work much more quickly at math without getting everything wrong. He tells you the easier things so the hard things aren't so complicated. Now I can be excited about doing math instead of being frustrated. I also like the additional help sessions. They're very useful if you are having trouble with the course work."
- Grade 4 daughter
"If you have a problem you can email Mr. D, and he will write back right away.
The videos are really helpful. There are examples that include some questions from the course work. Because it is not a physical class, you can work at your own pace, but you can still ask questions when you need to.
The website is really amazing. You can see all the news and the contests and things like that. You can see exactly what you've done and everything you need to do."
- Grade 6 daughter
Other Courses Offered by Mr. D Math
Mr. D Math offers several types of online math courses as well as a selection of non-math courses. He offers both self-paced and live classes. The self-paced classes are designed to run for 34 weeks, but can obviously be completed as quickly or as slowly as suits your child. The live online courses run from August to May and have weekly sessions with Mr. D or one of his teachers.
The math courses offered by Mr. D include:
- Algebra 1
- Algebra 2
- Pre-calculus with trigonometry
He also offers Math Test Prep Bootcamps to help students prepare for the ACT and the SAT as well as American Sign Language and Life Skills For Teens.
I really encourage you to check out Mr. D's selection of online math courses if your children are struggling with their current curriculum. Why keep fighting over a non-optimal program when you can have a quick and easy win with Mr. D?