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Professor B Math {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

July 12, 2012

Professor B MathSeveral weeks ago, my family received access to Professor B Math for the purpose of giving this review.  The Professor B Math program is meant for teachers in a classroom as well as for homeschool classrooms.   It is an online math program used to teach the basics of mathematical theory.  The little bee (my kids are still arguing over whether it’s a male or female) is the main character.  He writes things on the slides and points to numbers, among other things, to lead the student.  The thing that confused my children the most was that there is no sound.  This was intentional by the manufacturer.  The idea was for the parent/teacher to truly be the instructor and not abandon the student(s) to do the lessons on their own.  Odd that the bee doesn’t talk, but you get used to it.

Professor B’s tagline is “Accelerate your student 3 years in 1 year”. They advertise that in one year your child can achieve three years of math education.

The program is broken down into three levels.  Level 1 is for Pre-k though 2nd grade.  It introduces addition and subtraction, counting to 100, place value, fractions, time, and money.

Level 2 is for 3rd through 5th grade and covers multiplication and division, and lots more about fractions.

Level 3 is intended for 6th through 8th graders.  It teaches the multiplication and division of fractions, as well as decimals and percents.

There are placement tests to assure you get your student started off where he/she needs to be.  Again, this is a parent/teacher driven program (see “dislikes”).  After placing your child, you can begin the lessons immediately.  Since this is an online program, there’s no need to wait for a shipment of any kind.  

Any of the 3 levels are only $20 a month or $100 per year.  If you want more than one level at the same time (example Level 1 & 2 for different aged children) there used to be a compound pricing structure available.  But now, if you contact them personally, they will give you 3 years access to each level for only $100!  What a deal!  (As always, prices are subject to change and are only current during the time of the review.)

How we used the program:

I used this program with my 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders.  For each child I sat right with them to determine their success or failure (usually success).  🙂  There is an online workbook that comes with the program.  For my first grader, we didn’t use the workbook but with the 5th grader it had lots of extra practice that I felt she needed.  We printed off the pages and used them for paper drills.

Likes:

  • Moves at your child’s pace.  The flashcard/slide system works well for keeping up with your child.  If your child is having trouble making the hand shapes, you can pause on that one slide for a bit. Other formats might not be as forgiving as this one.
  • Lots of practice.  The slides have lots of good “drill time” in them.  Plenty of time for your kids to practice what they are learning.  They truly believe in their slogan, “Mastery, once attained must be sustained.”
  • Your child can start wherever you feel like they need to work.  There are no age or level barriers in this program.  If your child is in 4th grade but needs to still work on addition skills, that is not a problem with Professor B and your child won’t feel “behind” using this program.

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Dislikes:

  • Flashcard idea is good, but if your child gets “off” by one “flash” you have to start completely over with that section of the slidesFortunately, you don’t have to go through the entire slide show.  If you get lost, it’s the same, you have to start over.  At my house, there are frequent interruptions from littles so this is especially difficult for us.  You have to find a real stopping point in the program – these are frequent but do not necessarily fall exactly when it’s time to change a dirty diaper.
  • Not a built-in way to keep your place.  We logged out after each use and had to keep up with where we were because there is no auto book mark so you have to find your stopping spot each time.
  • Lots of monitoring.  This is a parent/teacher directed learning program.  Even though there are slides and your child can “work” the play button, I felt like I must be right beside my children to be sure what they were understanding and what they were missing (because that is the way it is designed to be used).  Especially during the drill time it was easy for my children to fall behind and I wanted to be sure they weren’t skipping through parts of the curriculum.  I put this as a dislike, whereas some people may actually enjoy sitting next to their child the entire time and even expect it, I have come to expect my children to be more self-directed or for ME to be the one directing them instead of the computer.
  • The website was difficult to navigate.  For example, to get to the homepage, you click in the bottom right hand corner on text.  There also appears to be a 30 day free trial, but the link only takes you to their facebook page.  But perhaps you could inquire about it there or by using their telephone number 678-765-6655.

Professor B Mom with childThoughts from my first grader:

“Mom, can we do that Math?  I love the panda bears!”  (He was pretty excited about Professor B – he even dubbed it “his math” and was a little dismayed when the older children were ready to work on it.)

Thoughts from my third grader:

“I’m good at this!”  (Most of the time he was pretty neutral on whether or not he liked the program, but he’s this way about math in general, too.)

Thoughts from my fifth grader:

“I’m sleepy.”  (She didn’t care for it much.)

It is impossible for me to assess whether or not 3 year gains can be made in one year because I haven’t been able to use the program that long.  Given my brief experience, we will likely continue using this program for my 1st grader, but I don’t think we’ll be continuing with Professor B as our main Math course for the older children.  My opinion?  It really depends on your child and their learning style.  If you enjoy sitting right by your student then this is the program for you.  If you prefer a more independent approach, I’d choose something else.  Everything else in the dislike category can be overlooked or gotten used to, but the dependency on the teacher is how the program was designed and really can’t be changed.

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DISCLAIMER:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received access to all three levels of Professor B Math for an entire year for the purpose of completing this review.  All the opinions expressed here are my own and are offered honestly in exchange for the product.  The receipt of the product in no way influenced my honest assessment.
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