Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013

FreeMathHelp

Strong but sparse original math help, lots of outside links

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Teachers say (1 Review)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Lessons are quite readable with a conversational tone and plentiful examples, plus forum members are clearly knowledgeable.

Cons: Ads, links, and impatient attitudes in the forum might distract from learning.

Bottom Line: Kids get solid lessons and depth of content, though distractions hamper the experience.

FreeMathHelp is designed for kids to get help at home. That said, you might advance your own knowledge through the lessons and forum or suggest that students who want to pursue topics in more depth should check it out. Kids with pretty thick skins and the ability to communicate precisely with text will benefit from the forum, while sensitive kids who need a little practice with this might be better served by a classroom chat. One possibility: Encourage entire classes to register on the forum, which would give students the ability to help each other at a basic level but still have an experienced adult available for more complex topics or ones that have stumped the whole group. You could offer leadership credit for students with high post numbers.

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FreeMathHelp is a free online collection of advanced math resources with a couple of notable standouts: conversational lessons and a searchable, decade-old help forum. Kids click on tabs to access six math topics: Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus are the strongest, while statistics, sport, and games are less so. Five advanced calculators cover equations, derivatives, factors, and integrals, though they all link to an outside paid service for full explanations. A good portion of the lessons link to outside sites including all the video lessons, and there are also lists of outside links identified as such. An email address and agreement to follow forum rules are required to register and ask a question.

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FreeMathHelp offers middle and high school-aged students some solid concept explanations and a forum to help with homework conundrums. Teens can easily read lessons like "Trigonometry Derivatives" -- with friendly wordings like, "Luckily, the derivatives of trig functions are simple: They're other trig functions!" -- absorbing mathematical terminology, examples, and formulas along the way. The moderated forum is searchable and offers a decade of depth with terms like geometric sequence, exponential function, and linear inquality. Once registered for the forum, teens will need to present complete problems up front since elite and senior members are quite persnickety about this. If kids are thorough and patient, they are likely to get multiple knowledgeable, if not compassionate, answers to their question.

Though free, these learning nuggets do come at a bit of a price. The interactive problem-solver at the bottom and left sidebar menus are really links to paid math services. Behavioral ads are dynamic and persistent despite temporary muting, a good portion of the lessons link to outside sites with different approaches, and the games aren't very engaging. Despite these annoyances, kids will find value in the content created by the site itself, and the forum can be a reliable source for answers.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Textual explanations are engaging but games, forum, and too many links to nonvetted outside content fall a bit flat. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Actual native content is well-done but relatively sparse. The searchable and rather deep forum tends to discourage newbies.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The site is generally easy to navigate. A community forum supports kids, but the quality of advice is inconsistent.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Donald P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Great math help for advanced middle school or beginning high school students.

For a 'free' site this has a lot of great 'basic' knowledge on a wide variety of math concepts for advanced middle school and beginning high school students. Upper Level and A.P. high school math students will not find much of use here.

All of the 'video' tutorials are actually 'off site' and are only links to videos on other math sites. It would be great if there were short videos of each concept inserted into each concept covered. As it is, only students with good reading comprehension will get full use out of this site - and we all know that students who need remediation in math skills (which this site is aimed at) also have poor reading comprehension. Therefore, this site is probably best for more advanced middle school math students who need additional skills and challenges or as introduction of ideas on concepts for freshman and sophomore high school math students.

This is a great 'resource' site for both students and teachers and anyone who needs additional math help.

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