Some people just have a really good head for math, you know - I'm NOT one of them - and for the past 10 years Mike Byster has toured classrooms all over the country, sharing his math skills and proving that he IS the human calculator.
He created Brainetics so that parents and teachers can get them right in their classroom or living room in an instant.
Good thing, seeing as I'm having enough trouble learning the "new math" being taught in my kids' schools, lately!
Seriously, they're teaching my kids to do basic math, in a different way, without using the good old-fashioned multiplication tables and flashcards I grew up with.
According to an article in the Washington Post, some experts believe that memorization will only carry you so far:
"With 'Investigations,' kids understand the real values of the numbers and are not doing shortcuts. When they multiply 23 times 5, they'll do five 20s to get 100, and then add five 3s to get 15, and they put that all together and get 115. What they've done is made actual use of the numbers."
I was never really good at word problems, either.
My 9-year-old son is in 3rd grade and I'm having a devil-of-a-time trying to help him with his math homework. I want him to "work it out on a sheet of paper." He insists on trying to do it ALL in his head!
"Because, that's how the teacher says we SHOULD be doing it!"
It was the same for my 6th and 8th grader, too.
"Multiplying fractions is SO confusing!"
I'm not helping my 12-year-old any, either.
Don't even get me started on marking my 1st grader wrong on a test, because she was SUPPOSED to estimate! I'm sorry, shouldn't they be learning how to get the right answer...first?
No, math is NOT a fun subject at our house, at the moment, and perhaps you'll understand why I would hesitate even bringing it up, let alone join the Brainetics campaign.
Supposedly, this program is fun to do (at any age) and we received a 5-dvd set, a playbook, parent guide, flashcards, playing cards, and an extra 2-dvds.
"Sounds like a lot of work, to me!"
My husband Garth (not his real name) is a Financial Specialist for a banking firm (read: he's good with OTHER people's money) and even he agreed to sit in on this particular week's Friday movie and pizza night.
"Bwane-k-nex sounds too-scah-wee-foe-me!"
My 6-year-old thought we were watching a movie about killer Legos, that sucked your brain, or something.
"It's sort of like math class."
Okay, same thing.
Honestly, I was sort of expecting some highly educated know-it-all teaching terribly boring facts about how we all SHOULD be doing the math.
Participating in the Brainetics program was like tuning into a game show - featuring teams of kids competing against each other and we were playing along - so, by the end of DVD #3, my 12-year-old was taking great satisfaction in competing against her father (and me, sort of) to see who could multiply freakishly long numbers faster and she WAS winning...dangit!
I was able to catch up, though, by learning how to remember information AND then adding even more information, without forgetting what was in your head, already.
"Holy crap, this stuff really works!"
Mike Byster (a former commodities trader turned child educator) approaches his audience with patience and, I swear, the man carries himself with a perpetual grin. Seriously, he NEVER loses his cool, or his sense of humor. Mike displays the enthusiasm of a magician showing us some new tricks he's mastered; except he doesn't mind sharing his secret.
His excitement over finding patterns in numbers is contagious, really.
Bottom line, this is perhaps the first time (in the 14 years since I've had children sucking my brain) that I have to side with the experts and agree - making actual use of numbers...makes sense.
Thanks to Mike, my children appreciate the fact that practicing their math skills can be, you know, sort of fun.
Brainetics is a program that my family will undoubtedly turn to, over and over, again, to infinity.
Find More 'Bout It Here: PBN - Brainetics Campaign Launch
[This review was made possible by the Parent Bloggers Network]
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