Self-Paced Success: Preparing for Pre-Algebra with Mr. D Math

preparing for pre algebra cover image that homeschool family

This is a sponsored post. I have received complimentary access to this product and have been compensated for my time reviewing the product and producing this review. I have not been influenced in any way and my opinions on this product are my own.

The teenage years are creeping up and that means homeschool math is about to get a lot more complicated. Pre-algebra is on the horizon and, while I know that I’m fully capable of teaching such lessons myself…I don’t know how far I can stretch my patience. You, too?

As homeschool parents, we’re raising our children to be (more than) capable of leading successful, independent lives. We aim to equip them with all the tools & knowledge necessary to not only survive, but to thrive. No matter which career path they follow, they’ll likely be using algebra in some capacity.

Like so many other homeschool parents, if there’s a subject matter I don’t quite feel confident in tackling with my kids, I’ll do what I can to outsource. (There’s absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t feel comfortable teaching a certain subject.) In this particular example, I’ve taken advantage of Mr. D Math by enrolling my oldest in their Preparing for Pre-Algebra class.

Why Learn Algebra?

Why is there so much emphasis placed on learning algebra? Why is it important to have a solid understanding of algebraic skills? Besides having to meet any state homeschooling requirements, being fluent in algebra is important for several reasons such as:

  • standardized tests: I don’t like them, either, but so many states require homeschooled kids to complete standardized tests. A homeschool education is anything but standard, but having a strong understanding of algebra can help kids to pass those tests. In addition, if your child is planning on obtaining a college degree, many college entrance exams contain algebraic concepts.
  • cognitive development: higher-level math challenges kids to think in abstract and conceptual manners. Being fluent in algebra can help with this and even promotes a deeper understanding of a variety of mathematical concepts.
  • career opportunities: having a solid understanding of algebra will benefit nearly every career, but especially careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. My son spends his “free” time learning and and building his own animatronics, so I can totally see him ending up in a career in the STEM field.
  • real-world applications: Algebra isn’t just important for obtaining a college degree! It’s also part of everyday life: filing yearly taxes, figuring out measurements when cooking, tackling building & gardening projects around the home, and more! It’s essential for daily life skills!
  • problem solving: Algebra both encourages and requires kids to solve math problems by breaking them down in smaller, bite-sized pieces. This results in a heightened ability to think analytically and consider a number of possible routes leading to a solution.

I could go on and on! Whether the kids realize it or not, it really is important for them to learn algebra and the building blocks that lead up to learning algebra. This is where the Preparing for Pre-Algebra class comes into play!

Preparing for Pre-Algebra with Mr. D Math

The Preparing for Pre-Algebra online course is appropriate for kids that have a solid understanding of 4th grade math standards, but aren’t quite ready to move onto Pre-Algebra for whatever reason.

Real life moment: all kids develop in their own time and may or may not be on “grade level” at all times…or even at all. That’s ok! It’s important to respect those truths and provide the best learning opportunities for your kids, no matter their “level.”

Learning math can be super overwhelming for some kids (and even their grown ups). While we do want to challenge our kids, it’s really not necessary to stress them out by completing lessons that don’t “jive” with their learning style or ability. Homeschooling is about creating a custom education for our children and I really believe this was taken into consideration when creating the Preparing for Pre-Algebra course.

sitting on the sofa learning with mr d math that homeschool family
Are you part of the “homeschool on the sofa” club, too?

This course includes some of my favorite aspects of online learning:

  • it’s self-paced: Self-paced classes can be amazing for all students, but especially for students with varying attention spans and abilities. In addition, as a mom who likes to include a number of travel & adventures into our homeschool experience, I love that my kids could technically start a class, make progress, stop for a week or two, and return back to the instruction with no worry about having to “catch up.” This course works with nearly any homeschool schedule!
  • it includes pre-recorded instructional videos: My son loves the videos! Each section has a video providing a visual & verbal explanation of the math concept. Being able to see a problem being solved start to finish is super helpful and, whenever my son felt like he needed to see the process (or a portion of the process) again, he could “rewind” and watch the video again.
  • it includes opportunities for paper/pencil work: Studies show that writing things down on paper help us to remember them, so, as much as the kids might be opposed to doing their lessons the “old fashioned way,” I’ll always do what I can to encourage paper/pencil work.
  • instant assessment scores: I swear, I try to keep my kids from being concerned about getting all “As” on their lessons. It’s more important to me that they steadily make progress, but I do appreciate that this course caters to our love of instant gratification by providing assessment scores immediately after completing a quiz, test, or exam.
  • live extra help sessions: Optional, but certainly helpful, having the opportunity to actually chat through any issues with an instructor can make a world of difference when it comes to fully understanding a concept versus knowing “just enough.” My anti-social tween, though? I had him sit in on one session and he wasn’t a fan (this says nothing against the quality of the program, but more so acknowledges the tween mood)
screenshot of a section of the preparing for pre-algebra course from mr d. math
Here’s a screenshot of one of the course sections. Each section has an instructional video, course work, and course work solutions (might want to tell your kids that you’ll print the answers out yourself!)

Designed to be completed within 2 semesters, this course is broken down into the following 9 chapters:

  1. Whole Numbers
  2. Decimals
  3. Exponents & Scientific Notation
  4. Fractions (Semester 1 Exam after completion of this chapter)
  5. Integers & Absolute Values
  6. Expressions & Equations
  7. Inequalities
  8. Ratios, Rates, & Proportions
  9. Percents & Money (Semester 2 Exam after completion of this chapter)
sitting at dining room table learning from mr d math online math course that homeschool family
We’re also part of the “sometimes we’ll do lessons at the dining room table club.” wink, wink

Our Kind of Online Learning Experience

While we are certainly a family that will avoid museums & such during typical traditional school holidays, when traditional school is in session, we are on the move! In addition to participating in local homeschool get togethers and classes, my kids and I will usually go on at least one field trip a week. Hands-on and immersive learning has, and likely always will be, a focus of the homeschool experience for my kids. Because of this, we typically aren’t home certain hours of the day and likely will be completing the more structured lessons later in the day.

Long story short – having to complete an online lesson at a certain time of the day, everyday, just wouldn’t work for us.

click find your new homeschooling community in our FREE Facebook Group! That Homeschool Family Hangout. homeschooling our kids, one adventure at at time

The self-paced style of Mr. D Math courses, though? They do work for us!

I took pre-algebra classes over thirty year ago so, while I technically could sit down and teach my son such concepts in a one-on-one setting, I have a feeling it wouldn’t go well. We’d end up frustrated and then wouldn’t have the positive homeschooling experience that we both want and need.

There’s also my youngest son. When I’ve tried teaching my kids their separate lessons before (I tend to combine them for science & history, and have them do their own math & language arts lessons), it usually ends up that one of them interrupts a lesson for one reason or another. Being able to trust the Mr. D Math teacher to take care of teaching my oldest son his math lessons totally takes the stress and overwhelm off of my shoulders.

@thathomeschoolfamily I love that Mr. D Math courses are self-paced and can be done on OUR schedule! Having a solid understanding of the basics before taking a pre-algebra course is super important. After all, algebra is used in so many careers and even as our daily life when doing things like cooking, baking, and gardening. More information on the blog, but let me know if you have any questions! #ad #mrdmath #prealgebra #preparingforprealgebra #homeschoolmath #onlinemath ♬ original sound – Liz | That Homeschool Family

My son, though? He usually just rolls with whatever I have planned for him. Other than the tween mood that may appear every now and then, he’s typically very “go with the flow” and will complete lessons with no problem. It’s not surprising that he enjoyed the self-paced style of this Preparing for Pre-Algebra course, too. He wasn’t a big fan of the paper/pencil assignments (no surprise), but did like that he could pause/rewind the instructional videos in case he needed to review something over again. He also liked receiving his exam grades immediately.

The one thing I would change about this course? I wish that parents could have some sort of say in the quantity of test retakes allowed. Currently, each quiz/exam only allows the assessment to be taken two times. I like that the assessments aren’t timed (that can cause anxiety & frustration), but would like to be able to over-ride the exam limit and increase it as needed. In the grand scheme of things, this really is a minimal concern and doesn’t change my otherwise positive opinion regarding the courses offered by Mr. D Math.

Learning Math Online

My kids and I really have enjoyed all of the Mr. D Math classes they’ve been able to take so far. While it’s still pretty amazing to this millennial that a quality education can be had online (to think that I was just starting to experience dial-up internet when my son’s age!), I especially love that my son can learn from others on our schedule. The self-paced style is a perfect fit for our family and all the other perks of taking the Preparing for Pre-Algebra course are just homemade buttercream icing the chocolate cake!

If you have any questions about Mr. D Math, leave a comment or send me an email. I’m always happy to help another homeschool parent!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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