Overview: Looking for a self-paced or live online algebra 2 course for high school that isn’t dry or boring? Or an online summer course for upper math? This program has been working for our family!
Do you have a child who absolutely hates math but who needs to take Algebra 2 or any other upper-level math course, for that matter? Math is one of those subjects that students either love or hate. Some kids have a natural bent toward math and science and they’re easy to teach math classes such as Algebra 1 or 2, Geometry, or even Trigonometry.
Simply purchase one of the popular math books out there and throw it in front of them. Or sign them up for any available online math course. That’s all it takes!
However, if you have a kid who hates math or who struggles when it comes to learning some of the harder math concepts, then you need to put a little bit more thought into your approach.
Kids who hate math benefit from the following:
- A teacher who will use humor to help him or her relax
- Someone who can explain problems in a way that makes sense
- A mentor who can help the frustrations the student is feeling to melt away into thin air
- Concepts which are presented in a simple, straight-forward way
- Lessons which allow the student to watch the teacher work out multiple problems step-by-step
- The ability to ask questions either on the spot or through email and to receive a fast response
Does this sound too good to be true? If so, then I have some good news for you. My sons have been taking Mr. D online math courses for the past couple of years and it has transformed our math experience around here.
I had the opportunity to review this course for free and am being compensated for my time but I’m sharing my honest opinion about the program with you in this post. And we’ve purchased several of Mr. D’s courses on our own as well because they have been a game changer for our family.
What Happened? My Sons Used to Love Math
When my sons were young, they loved math. They enjoyed using manipulatives to figure out their problems – especially when we used something like M&Ms or some other form of chocolate as counters. But once we made it to Algebra, all of that changed.
Suddenly, math was capable of ruining our day. We tried several different programs where I used a teacher’s manual to present the material. We also tried a few online courses so that I wouldn’t have to be the teacher anymore. But these programs were either very disjointed or were confusing.
My sons would ask me questions about how they were supposed to solve the problems and I found myself frustratedly doing Google searches to try to figure out what to say. I’ve taken upper-level math courses through Calculus but that was years ago. And unfortunately, I don’t remember very much about how to solve those problems.
So I found myself having to sit next to my sons while they were watching their math lessons and learn right along with them so that I could help them if they struggled with the material.
The experience was so frustrating! I didn’t know what I was doing half the time. And if my sons didn’t understand the process the way I was trying to explain it to them, we both ended up feeling upset and defeated. I didn’t have any idea how to explain things in a way to help them better engage with the material.
What’s So Special About Mr. D’s Online Math Courses?
That isn’t the case when taking an Algebra 2 course with Mr. D. Dennis DiNoia has been a math teacher for over 25 years. He knows his stuff! And even better, he isn’t the typical dry, boring math teacher you might expect.
He’s funny! His live classes start by hearing him hum a tune or crack a joke. He greets the students by name and has short conversations with them while waiting for the other students to log in.
He encourages feedback from the students and asks them questions as they go along to make sure they all understand the material. He explains things in several different ways to give the kids an opportunity to really engage with and understand the material.
And the kids are able to ask questions immediately if they are struggling, which is fantastic.
No more having to brace myself while my sons are doing their math because I’m afraid they’ll be confused and will ask ME to explain things to them.
NCAA Approved Courses
Another fantastic aspect of this program is that several Mr. D math courses are now NCAA approved. This is great news for all college-bound student athletes who are trying to prepare themselves to play a sport at a Division I or Divison II college.
These students need to prove their eligibility before they can apply for scholarships at these schools. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the non-profit organization which regulates athletes of over 1,200 North American institutions and conferences. College programs that want to offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport need to use NCAA approved courses.
Mr. D Math is NCAA Approved for the following courses:
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry
3 Options for Taking a Mr. D Math Course
There are 3 different ways that students can take Mr. D’s math courses:
- Self-Paced Courses
- Live Classes
- Co-op Classes
There are pros and cons to each of these options so let’s get into it and discuss them.
The self-paced courses are what work best for our family. Self-paced courses are exactly what they sound like. You start them whenever you want and finish them at your own child’s own pace. They’re great for kids who either want to work through the material very quickly or a bit slower without feeling the pressure of having to stay up with the rest of the class.
Self-paced courses are also less expensive than live classes. The downside is that your child is watching pre-recorded lessons so it isn’t quite as personal as if he or she is part of a live class. But the upside is that your student can pause the lesson whenever he or she would like so they won’t feel rushed.
Also, if your student has a question, he can’t ask it within a chat and get an immediate response from the teacher. The good news is that kids do have the option of emailing their questions to Mr. D’s support staff, who respond in a timely fashion. That has always worked just fine for us.
Live classes are a bit more expensive than the self-paced courses, but students in these classes have the benefit of having a teacher right there to show them how to solve the problems and they can ask questions and get immediate answers.
These students are also able to have the camaraderie of other students who are taking the class with them. And there is accountability as well because the classes are a certain day and time each week which keeps kids on track to finish the class at a set date. From our experience, these live classes move fairly rapidly so slower students may struggle a bit to keep up.
These classes are taken over the internet using Zoom meeting software, which is free. Here’s how it works:
1 – Reminder Email
Students receive an email reminder with a link to the class 15 minutes before it begins. This is a good time for the kids to print out the relevant worksheets for that lesson so that they’re ready when the class begins.
2 – App Work on Phones or Computers
When using Zoom meeting software, students have the option of choosing to use Audio & Video if they have a webcam or just Audio. It’s completely up to them depending on which option makes them feel most comfortable.
3 – How the Class Functions
During class, all of the students work through the problems together. First, Mr. D will solve a few problems while the students watch. He explains each step and gives them shortcuts whenever possible. Then, he asks the students to work out one problem at a time to be sure they understand the concept. After the students have finished, Mr. D solves that problem as well so that the kids can check their work.
4 – Students Stay Together
Before moving on to the next problem, Mr. D makes sure each student has had time to finish solving that problem and that they don’t have any questions. It’s fairly fast-paced, which is great for students who don’t want their math lesson to drag on longer than it needs to.
5 – Students are Engaged
Throughout the class, Mr. D talks to students, asks them questions, engages with them, jokes around with them, and encourages them.
6 – Extra Resources
There are also two extra help sessions per week for students who are struggling with a particular concept. And students in the live classes also have full access to the recorded classes that are used by the self-paced courses giving them another avenue to help them understand the material
7 – Ability to Ask Questions
As I said before, students also have the option of asking questions via email as well and the staff responds to the students quickly.
My son and I have attended a few live classes and they’re great. We were able to follow along and I was even able to work out a few of the problems myself, which is quite a testament since I’m not a math person.
I love how Mr. D explains things to the kids and keeps things fun and light. That’s one of the reasons I continue to have my sons take these courses!
There are a few cities where students can attend Mr. D classes in person as part of a co-op. These students attend classes in person and are given access to the online coursework as well, making it the best of both worlds – an online math program as well as learning in a classroom. There is more information on the Mr. D Math website about co-op classes if you’re interested in this option.
All Available Courses
Mr. D offers the following courses:
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- SAT Math Bootcamp
- ACT Math Bootcamp
- Life Skills for Teens
- Summer Programs (11-Week Full High-School Credit Programs of Pre-Algebra thru Pre-Calculus)
Whether you have a kid who hates math or who loves it, Mr. D Math Classes are definitely worth checking out. I highly recommend them! To find out more about Mr. D’s math programs, visit his website or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.