The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Mastering Algebra "John Saxon's Way"--Algebra 2, 2nd or 3rd Edition Review by Kim Kargbo

Art Reed
AJ Publishers, LLC
117 N. Washington
Enid, OK 73701-4019

Mastering Algebra is a tutorial course designed to work with Saxon Algebra 2, either the 2nd or the 3rd edition. It is 12 DVDs, containing 129 lessons and 2 review lessons to brush up before you begin. The lessons are correlated with Saxon Algebra; for those who want the tutorial benefit but are using another curriculum, a detailed scope and sequence of the lessons is available online so that you can select the lesson or skill you need to work on.

This DVD set is somewhat different from other math DVD tutorials because it does not make use of modern video technology, such as "white board technology," where the screen is like a giant white board and the marker magically writes on it as an unseen teacher talks. In these DVDs, Mr. Reed, the teacher, stands at a podium at the front of a classroom with a real white board behind him and teaches the class. He even has an oversized calculator that he uses to show exactly what you do with various calculator functions. There are no people in his classroom, however, so he interacts with the listener, not students in front of him. This adds a personal touch to the tutorial, in my opinion.

It is also my opinion that there isn't a whole lot you can do to make Algebra 2 very exciting, so it is likely that many students will find Mr. Reed's lectures boring--but I don't think that is so much the fault of Mr. Reed as it is the material that he is presenting. The lectures are very understandable, and Mr. Reed has a way of breaking down and illustrating the concepts so that they are easy to comprehend--even for the "math-challenged." At the beginning of the series, he outlines the work for the year, telling students how many lessons to do each week and when to take the tests. He also instructs parents on how to grade the tests. The series is specifically geared for the home educating parent/student, and it would probably set many a homeschool mom's mind at ease to have such a competent math tutor for her high school student. At $49.95 for the entire set, this is the most inexpensive math tutoring you will ever find as well!

For anyone starting to have sweaty palms over teaching Algebra 2 at home, I highly recommend this tutorial course--even if you aren't using Saxon Algebra.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010