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Schoolhouse Review: Professor B Math

Nine years ago I started on an adventure of a lifetime, homeschooling. Within that first year I found Professor B Math, but as an overwhelmed mother of a six children ages newborn to 6, and with all the homeschooling curricula choices and not really knowing what I was doing I didn't stick with it. I kept feeling like the grass was greener on the other side. I didn't know at the time what a treasure I had found and I let it slip through my fingers.

One can imagine my excitement when Professor B Math popped up as one of the vendors for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was super excited to be one of the reviewers of not only one level but all three! It was like finding an old friend kind of feeling.

As I was digging through the Professor B Math website wanting to learn more about the philosophy of the program, I found the quote below and was intrigued, you can read the full article under the History/Philosophy page:

"If two people tell the same story, their words are different (and also different from the original version) but the events are the same and are recalled in the same sequence. Hence there is no intentional and laborious memorization of words, as in the learning of a poem. What children effortlessly (naturally) perceive, receive and retain from a story, therefore, is the structured connection and flow of its events: its internal contextual dynamics of relationships. If I say the words "woods", "wolf", "grandma", they are likely to immediately reactivate, after all these years, a structured dynamics of relationships entitled "Little Red Riding Hood". This is the genius in virtually all children for learning mathematics. Our methodology activates this universal genius for mastery learning of math by ensuring that children experience it the same way they experience stories: as connected and flowing. Similar to their experiences with stories, children will then learn and retain math without memorization or remediation: two of the major pillars of conventional mathematics education. Professor B methodology will enable this nation to produce home-grown brains, rather than import them. This is an urgent necessity in these perilous times."

In the paragraph the bolded word 'contextual', is one of the key words with understanding the methodology of Professor B Math. Basically, Professor B, is using real-life stories to present math, making it more meaningful to the child. The child has a story to relate math to, he can then recall the context provided from the story to help him understand and solve math problems.  Like the example given in the above paragraph with the words, 'wood', 'wolf', 'grandma' the child immediately relates the words to the story "Little Red Riding Hood". Same thing with the words, 'pig', 'wolf', 'house', the child would recall the story "The Three Little Pigs". Anyway, I thought that was all very interesting because it's so different from the traditional way of learning by rote memory and the child learning steps to solve problems.

To better understand contextual teaching I found this article.

For this review I received the E-Learning levels for 1, 2, and 3, and the workbooks for each level via pdf. Each level can be purchased for $20.00 a month. You can also add more children to the monthly subscription and receive a discount. Each level can also be purchased for $100.00 for 36 weeks (yes that's 3yrs!) access to Professor B Math E Learning. They are in the process of updating their prices. You can call them and they will be happy assist you with this.

The recommended grades per level:
Level 1~ Pre-K-2nd
Level 2~ 3rd-5th
Level 3~ 6th-8th and remediation of an older student

I printed the workbooks at home and had them spiral bound at Fedex Office. I thought they came out pretty.
With Professor B Math, you become an Instant Master Teacher. It's simple, all you do is sit with your child and read what appears on the screen. Professor B, will guide you as you instruct your child. 

I really like scripted curricula, so this is perfect for me. No need for me to figure out what to say. Often times I over explain things to my children thus confusing them, so scripted works for me.

Professor B is not a game, the child is not interacting with the program. The parent is reading what is on the screen and the child is answering, not using the keyboard.

Professor B Math E-Learning easy to navigate and there's nothing to download. All you do is go to www.profb.com, scroll down and click on the "LOG ON TO E-LEARNING", enter your password and your ready to go. After the introduction, you can hit the Table of Contents to see the lessons. For the screen shots below I clicked on 'Multiplication Facts'
{Please click on the screens to enlarge}
 Within the 'Multiplication Facts' there are 8 lessons to choose from. I chose Lesson 8.
Within Lesson 8 you would click on Phase 1 to start the lesson.
At first keeping track of three children was overwhelming, but I found if I wrote the lesson down that was completed it wasn't too difficult to find where I left off with each child.

I also found at the bottom left corner there are numbers. I would write 30/91 in the workbook, when I logged in to our account and found the lesson, I would then move the task bar until I came to 30/91.

I love, love, absolutely love the way addition and subtraction are taught.
Addition samples.

Subtraction samples.

 At the end of a lesson (sometimes a lesson can take several days or up to a week to complete) a text-box will appear on the screen and it will instruct the parent/teacher to have the child work on the concept that was being taught using the Professor B 'way'. This is when the child will use the worksheets.
Professor B's motto~Mastery, once obtained, must be sustained. Throughout the program the parent will need to have the child practice certain concepts for five minutes a day, for five days (when noted). Once the material is obtained you want your child to keep that information.

One thing to keep in mind, the student workbook pages do not have any instructions, only the problems to be practiced after the child has completed the lesson via the powerpoint presentation with the parent. Because Professor B Math's methodology is not the same as rote memorization, you do want your child to go through the lessons first. If you only hand the child the workbook pages, one will miss out with how Professor B Math is taught. You're back to memorizing facts and learning 'steps' to get the answer.

I would like to encourage you to do the lesson, even if your child sort of knows it and can complete the workbook pages. I know it's tempting to skip lessons and go straight to the workbook but I encourage you not to do so. One thing I've learned in my years of homeschooling, is there's no rush to complete a program.

Here are a few examples of what the workbook pages look like from level 1.

How we used Professor B? I had three children using this program. Lance used level 1, Ethan used level 2 and Annette used level 3.

Annette, is 12 (will be 13 in Sept.),  a very strong reader and scores high with reading comprehension, so I let her use Professor B Math on her own. She would go through the lesson and let me know when she was done, so I could check the text-box and see what she was suppose to do next. This worked great because it freed me up, but also kept me in the loop with what to expect.

With Ethan (9) and Lance (7), I would sit with them. Some days, we would not have to log on to Professor B Math at all. For instance, when Lance, when he was learning 10-1=9, 9-1=8, 7-1=6, etc. I would practice that with him throughout the day for a few days before moving on, same with Ethan but with another concept.

How did the children like Professor B Math? Annette said it was too quiet. She is a auditory learner it seems when it comes to math. As much as she reads and comprehends her reading, with math, she becomes confused with the instructions. Although she is a strong reader, I think it would have been best if I would have sat with her. Another factor with Annette, I started her at the beginning of level 3, which is fractions. With her current math program it concentrated heavily on fractions all year. I was going to have her skip the fractions and go straight into the decimal section of Professor B Math, but she was a bit confused thus I had her start at the beginning because I didn't want her to miss any information that she might need for the future decimal lessons. To make a long story short, she was frustrated because she had already learned fractions a certain way with her current math program.

With that being said, I think with her going from one program that heavily focused on a concept (fractions) to another program that did the same made it, not a very good fit for her. If she would have come from a program that was spiral or not so heavy with the one concept a year, I do think the transition would have been a lot smoother.

What did the boys think? Before I answer that, let me say that my boys don't want to do any kind of math, so of course they didn't want to do Professor B Math as well. Math has to get done regardless of  what they like and don't like. Math is not a choice around here. With that tidbit of information the boys enjoyed Professor B Math as much as they would any other math program.

What did I think of Professor B Math? I loved it, absolutely loved the whole concept. Throughout the day, I would lift my hands, show some fingers and say to Ethan, "How many?" he would say, six. Or with Lance, we could recite our lesson anytime anywhere. Math wasn't us confined to a textbook at the kitchen table and it didn't end once we logged off the computer. I hope to continue using it with Ethan and most likely will with Lance. I would love to see an easier way to quickly find the next lesson when logging back in. Even with writing down numbers and all, it still took me a while to find my place and where I left off with Lance or Ethan.

I also blogged how we've been using Professor B, during our summer school days. You can find those post under Professor B Math label on my sidebar, you will need to scroll down as this review will be on top.

To read more reviews and see what my Crew Mates thought, please click HERE.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

1 comment

  1. I like your idea of writing the lesson number down, to keep track of where you've been working. I, too, found it rather....cumbersome....navigating the site in general, and to the lessons in particular.....


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