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Learn Math Quickly (Full Year Subscription) Review by Laura DelgadoJanet Scarpone
PO Box 4464
Palm Springs, CA 92263-4464
Learn Math Quickly (Full Year Subscription) is a Moodle course covering almost every aspect of math from Whole Number Operations through Algebra and Geometry. The course is comprised of a total of 23 segments, including Whole Numbers, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Fractions, Word Problems, Decimal, Percent, Ratio & Proportion, Measurement, Geometry, and Algebra (some segments have multiple parts). The course also includes five workbooks that support the videos. There are four pre-tests from which to choose in order to discern where to start the course. Mrs. Scarpone (who teaches all the videos) recommends beginning with the first pre-test (for Whole Number Operations) if one is either very math phobic or is not comfortable with things as basic as the multiplication tables. For students who are more conversant with basic math, but who lack Algebra and Geometry, she suggests taking half of the Whole Numbers and Beyond Pre-test. Everyone else should take the entire Whole Numbers and Beyond Pre-test. By taking the correct Pre-test, a student will be able to find out exactly where she should start in the course. (Editor’s Note: The vendor offers an initial phone consult with anyone interested for help with Moodle questions, set-up, or other inquiries about the program upon purchase.)
Learn Math Quickly is good for all kinds of test preparation, including (but not limited to) the GED, ASVAB, CAHSEE, GRE, and CBEST, largely because, by taking a pre-test, you can isolate exactly where to begin the lessons. The computer requirements are minimal. Essentially, you only need to be able to run the Adobe QuickTime Player, a free download.
With the exception of the lesson on multiplication tables, each of the lessons proceeds according to the same format. One first watches the video lesson. Then, moving to the online workbook pages (in PDF format), one can complete Part 1 and (if necessary) Part 2 and then Test 1 and (if necessary) Test 2 (online). One of the great flexibilities of the program is that one can watch the videos as many times as necessary for the content to sink in. Also, the provided workbooks are truly comprehensive. I indicated that the multiplication tables were learned a little differently. They are learned completely iteratively, by which I mean each fact family is learned in turn and then incorporated into practice. It is a highly effective way to teach the multiplication tables. It is, in fact, the most effective way I have yet seen through homeschooling four kids (two of whom had not quite ever mastered their multiplication facts until this program).
Almost everything about Learn Math Quickly is designed to be used directly by a student. The older a student is, the more this is true. Younger students will need help figuring out how to take the pre-test (and which pre-test to take), and most students will probably need some initial help working through the Moodle format, especially if this is their first exposure to that course format. Everything is included in the course, though, and every part of a lesson is presented in the same place. In other words, there is no clicking around on different parts of a website for the relevant workbook pages or video lecture links. The course could not be any more accessible and user-friendly once one is accustomed to the format.
As to the content of the course itself, I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is, but my children (11-year-old twins) really are Learning Math Quickly! The videos themselves are not new (in fact, I would guess that they were probably filmed at least 20 years ago) and Mrs. Scarpone’s presentation style is not in any way electric, but none of that matters! She can teach math! Sometimes all that matters is having a teacher who knows her material, presents it with confidence and compassion (math-wary kids know when a teacher understands their hesitance), and has enough experience to know what works. No frills, no extras, just the facts (the math facts, that is!)
After spending way too much time on learning multiplication facts (something that wasn’t a problem with my older two kids) and trying way too many programs, it was Learn Math Quickly that did the trick. Mrs. Scarpone’s teaching style, more than anything else we have yet tried, most closely resembles the way I was taught math in elementary school. From her kindly no-nonsense approach, to the workbook pages that review the material just enough, but with no unnecessary overkill, something about the approach just works.
When we first started using this program, neither one of my twins wanted to do it. Now, though, they ask to do it. Even more importantly, they ask to review their multiplication facts routinely because Mrs. Scarpone says if you don’t repeat them every day, you’ll lose them. It doesn’t seem to matter that I have said much the same thing many times; Mrs. Scarpone holds the math authority in our house now – and I’m fine with that (especially since her program goes all the way through Algebra!).
Although I realize the enormity of such an undertaking, there is a large part of me that would love to see Mrs. Scarpone commit to updating this program. Because the videos are older, the sound quality is nothing compared to what it would be if they were recorded with today’s equipment. I can see the vintage quality of the videos being an issue for some potential users, and I would hate for anyone to miss out on the quality of Mrs. Scarpone’s instruction because of that. It is a fact that sound is something of an issue, but it is easily resolved with the use of headphones.
While I don’t know that this program can work as a standalone math course (if for no other reason than I don’t think you can get the hours out of it that you would require for a homeschool math course), it serves excellently as supplemental instruction (how we are using it) or as review. In fact, I intend to recommend it to a friend whose son is interested in graduate school, but is wary of the math on the GRE after having been out of college for more than five years. Personally, I will eternally be grateful to Learn Math Quickly because Mrs. Scarpone is the person who finally taught my twins their multiplication tables!
—Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016