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Chalk Dust Company
PMB 256
16107 Kensington Dr
Sugar Land, TX 77479-4401

800.588.7564 (USA)
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How to Use DVDs to Study Math Independently
As you view the DVD, be actively involved in the learning process by working out examples along with the DVD. When explanations on DVD feel comfortable, and additional problems are presented, stop the presentation, attempt a solution, then play the presentation to verify your method. Do not rush, simply repeat troublesome sections.

A textbook is beneficial as a source of practice problems, especially if math is being learned for the first time. Practice (much practice) is necessary to shift understanding from short-term memory to long-term memory.

When working problems on your paper, avoid skipping steps by showing your work as though it must be understood by another person - make your presentation as important as the answer. If you find yourself pondering how to write the next step, then chances are you are trying to skip steps. Try to condition yourself to perform one operation in each step. Also, use good penmanship. [Incidentally, more problems are missed due to careless errors involved in skipping steps and poor penmanship than to actual misunderstanding of math content.] Continue to practice until you can do problems all on your own.

Concentrate on understanding concepts or general ideas rather than memorizing specific methods or definitions. When faced with a particular problem, think first about what the problem is asking for. Often the method of solution will become obvious.

Avoid attempting several hours of study in one sitting. More frequent concentration for short periods of time usually results in more focused attention and more effective learning.

Do not become discouraged. Learning math is a progressive process. Your interest is the vital first step, and the most effective way to learn math is at your own pace, a condition inherent in using videotapes. So feel good that you have taken the initiative to use video as part of your study plan. With patience and time, confidence will grow and the pathway of mathematical knowledge is yours to travel.

Homeschooling With DVDs


Each chapter of a textbook is divided into about four to eight sections. Students should complete all of one section before moving to the next one. There are two distinct tasks related to learning a section of material. One task is watching the DVD to understand concepts -- what is going on and why. And then to work the sample problems as they are presented on the DVD. The other task is working practice problems which are written in the textbook. The two tasks can be performed separately or concurrently but the two tasks will likely require more than one day to accomplish.

Watching the DVD Program

While the DVD instruction is playing, turn to the same section in the text. Reference to text examples should be casual and intended to simply reinforce methods or concepts presented in the video program. The video instruction is comprehensive so text references are not necessary to complete an understanding of a topic, but seeing variations on a central theme can often significantly help to solidify understanding of a topic.

The student is encouraged to attempt some examples as they are presented. That is, once a student feels somewhat comfortable with a technique being discussed, as an example is being introduced on DVD, the student should pause the presentation, and attempt the example without looking at the DVD explanation. Then play the presentation to verify correctness. In that way, a student will often discover faulty logic or the danger in taking shortcuts that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Working Practice Problems

Many practice exercises appear at the end of each section of the text. The exercises typically contain some problems that are manipulative in nature (simplifying expressions, solving equations, etc.), and other problems that can be referred to as word problems.

The student should complete about 25-30 problems per section chosen at random. If you have a student solutions guide your 30 problems will be chosen from the odd problems. For Geometry, the student should not necessarily work every proof (proofs are not currently on standardized tests).

The word problems utilize whatever skills are involved in the manipulative area. They are designed to show a "real world" connection to the techniques emphasized in that section. It is helpful to attempt those problems, but do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by them. If about half of the odd numbered word problems are accomplished, you will have a pretty good idea of the general usefulness of the topic at hand.

The only exceptions are the sections devoted to solving word problems, showing specific techniques and methods of attack on different kinds of word problems. In those sections, work every single one of the odd problems.

In addition to working selected problems at the end of each section, work every problem in the mid-chapter quizzes, end-of-chapter reviews, and cumulative tests which appear after every third chapter. The answers to all of those problems are listed at the end of the text, and the step-by-step solutions are given in the Solutions Guide.

When working through the exercises, after each group of about ten problems, check your answers with the answers listed at the end of the text. Then review troublesome problems with the step-by-step method of solution in the Solutions Guide. Getting the correct answer is not the most important goal. It is just as important to show the work properly and understand the general idea involved. You see, every problem in every topic has a more difficult form, and it is increased organization and conceptual understanding that allows one to tackle the most difficult of problems.

Study Techniques

Feedback from homeschoolers using our DVD programs (with suggested textbooks) reveal two distinct and effective techniques that may be of interest. One study technique is to view an entire section of DVD (once or twice) on a single day or two to understand concepts and work sample problems with the instructor and concentrate solely on the exercises the next day. The advantages of this technique are: (1) it is simple to oversee, (2) student responsibility is clearly defined, and (3) the amount of time required is, for the most part, predictable.

Another technique is to view the first few examples of a section on DVD and begin the exercises in the text as soon as there is comfort with a particular kind of problem. This technique would likely require that the student stop the process at some point and continue the next day. Advantages of this technique include: (1) simple skills are solidified with practice before progressing to more challenging topics, (2) particularly good for a student with a short attention span in a relatively long section, and (3) the student will sometimes (perhaps often) complete sections in a single day.

Using DVDs in Secondary Education

DVD technology can be utilized in a variety of ways at the secondary level. Teachers as well as students can benefit from the availability of a video supplement.

The Student

DVD programs can be located in a Learning Center, Math Lab, or Library for check-out by students. Students will use presentations to reinforce concepts presented in the classroom, or to catch up after absence or illness.

Gifted students use DVD presentations to satisfy their fast-paced interest, and they are ideal for self-paced study or for group study.

Although students at every ability level can benefit from using a DVD presentation as a learning tool, anecdotal evidence indicates the existence of a particular population of students that seem to benefit the most from that. Characteristics of students within that population include:

  • typically earn grades below B+
  • have trouble taking effective notes in math class
  • must utilize repetition to offset limitations in short-term memory

Since the textbook in use at a particular school may not be the textbook followed to produce the video program, topics to be studied will need to be crossreferenced to the DVD program. To cross-reference your textbook to one of our DVD programs go to, scroll down and click on the program of your choice, click Program Outline, print and compare to your textbook.

The Teacher

Teachers use DVDs...
(1) to show classes when they are absent [the video substitute offers maximum predictability in competence, material covered, and time required],
(2) when the video demonstration or animation is inconvenient or impossible for the teacher to perform in the classroom,
(3) to investigate teaching techniques that they may wish to use in their class,
(4) to brush up on unfamiliar topics.

When teachers use DVDs occasionally in the classroom, students become acutely aware of their existence and quality and are far more prone to check them out for home use.


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