If you have a visual or auditory learner who would benefit from consistent reinforcement, you might consider taking a look at Professor Harold's Video Flashcards, available in VHS or DVD. Each math process - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - is covered in four videos or DVDs, going through math facts from zero to ten.
The Addition 30-minute program, which Professor Harold notes "... all adds up to mastery of basic addition," has three choices:
Training - numbers are shown in order from zero to ten in the top number and zero to ten in the bottom number, graphically in a vertical format, along with color picture/objects alongside to depict the numbers. A soothing male voice says, "zero plus one equals ... one" and so on. This method is especially good for children who need reinforcement with math facts.
Reinforcement - one number is shown in order, and the other number is random, graphically in a vertical format, along with color picture/objects alongside to depict the number. A soothing male voice says, "zero plus one equals ... " The answer is depicted visually with no verbal answer. There is a short pause given for student to reply.
Drill - problems are random, shown graphically in a vertical format, along with color picture/objects alongside to depict the number. A soothing male voice says, "zero plus one equals ... " The answer is depicted visually with no verbal answer. There is a short pause given for student to reply.
Each flashcard goes through the 0 to the 10 table. Addition and subtraction videos show numbers and pictures (apples, birds, etc.) to designate the quantities. Multiplication and division videos depict shapes (squares, circles, dots), with dots inside shapes to represent sets.
Why do the videos work? As Professor Harold says on his web site, "Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition ... well, you get the idea.
"Repetition breeds familiarity. For basic math facts, that's pretty much it. You see them. You hear them. You say them. You write them. You hear them some more. Then you know them." He continues, "and once you have that knowledge, it stays with you."
Professor Harold has several suggested uses, including the use of games, on his web site. He suggests that a group of children can simultaneously watch the program, and take turns answering, getting points for each correct answer. Or children can view the program simultaneously, with each child taking a turn at giving the answer. Another competition could give points to the child who answers first.
The video quality is fair, with colored background and colored numbers/graphics that stand out from the background. I find the DVD version of this program to be much more accessible than the VHS, merely because the menu choices of Training, Reinforcement, Drill are available at the beginning of the program, while you have to rewind or forward through the videotape to get to the sections you want.
Some sample worksheets are available at Professor Harold's web site at www.professorharold.com.
Once you pick the choices, you or your child may play through them or watch them at an individual pace. Professor Harold recommends playing them in the background, too, as ambient video and audio, so that your child can get the message even if he or she isn't paying close attention. He says, "Later when you're doing something else in the same room as Professor Harold's Video Flash Cards is playing on the TV, you'll benefit from the repetition again, just by hearing it in the background.
"This works much like learning the jingle from a TV commercial. You didn't set out to learn the ad jingle. You probably didn't even know it was on. But somehow that tune and those lyrics got into your head. Professor Harold's Video Flash Cards works the same way, except that having math facts sneak into your brain is a whole lot more useful!!"
A plus to the DVDs is that they can also be played on your computer or laptop if you have a DVD player that accepts this format. My Hewlett-Packard laptop does not play them, however.
For the more tactile student, these programs might not be a good investment, but for students who enjoy visual stimulation and verbal drills, these productions would be a worthwhile addition to your curriculum library.