A valuable free educational resource I just discovered to help my child learn more complex middle school algebra concepts is the Prentice Hall Homework Video Tutor. It’s a comprehensive series of algebra instructional videos ranging from foundation concepts like variables to radical and rational expressions and functions.
Located at http://www.phschool.com/webcodes10/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.gotoWebCode&wcprefix=ate&wcsuffix=0775, The Prentice Hall Homework Video Tutor lessons give the viewers a sense of being at a desk in front of a piece of notebook paper while they receive individual instruction from the teacher. Each algebra video is about five minutes or less, and it begins with short descriptions of the key points, and the steps required to solve the problem at hand. Each item is color-coded, which greatly improves one’s ability to digest the key points. The teacher gives audible explanation while simultaneously setting up the problem on the virtual note paper.
At a certain point, the video automatically pauses to allow the students to answer the rest of the problem on their own, so they should make sure to have a pencil and paper handy. Once they’ve finished, they have the option to continue watching the video as the instructor finishes solving the equation onscreen. Students who don’t understand have the option of replaying the video before the solution is revealed.
Topics are broken down into the following chapters:
- Chapter 1: Variables, Function Patterns, and Graphs
- Chapter 3: Solving Equations
- Chapter 4: Solving Inequalities
- Chapter 5: Graphs and Functions
- Chapter 6: Linear Equations and Their Graphs
- Chapter 7: Systems of Equations and Inequalities
- Chapter 8: Exponents and Exponential Functions
- Chapter 9: Polynomials and Factoring
- Chapter 10: Quadratic Equations and Functions
- Chapter 11: Radical Expressions and Equations
- Chapter 12: Rational Expressions and Functions
The site also provides an extensive help section of short videos explaining the very basic algebraic definitions and functions that are critical to solving problems in the lessons.
The Prentice Hall Homework Video Tutor does a great job of teaching kids to take an organized approach to solving complicated algebra questions. It stresses the idea that each seemingly tough problem is solved by performing a series of relatively easy steps, which can be a powerful tool for those who get intimidated by the subject matter. For parents with kids who are easily discouraged if they don’t grasp the material quickly, this site can be a lifesaver!