What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that FreeMathHelp is a grab bag of advanced math resources, the strongest being conversational concept explanations, five specialized calculators, and a help forum that's been around since 2002. Design is kid-friendly, and the voice is warm, especially for a free site. However, there are a few drawbacks; two prominent page features are actually links to for-pay math sites that alternate with behavioral ads.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- writing clearly
- following directions
- presenting to others
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- part-whole relationships
- academic development
- asking questions
- conveying messages effectively
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
Text explanations are engaging, but games, forum, and too many links to non-vetted outside content fall a bit flat.
Actual native content is well-done but relatively sparse. The searchable and rather deep forum tends to discourage newbies.
The site is generally easy to navigate. A community forum supports kids, but the quality of advice is inconsistent.
What's it about?
A tab-based menu offers six math topics -- algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, and sports -- plus a few so-so games, some advanced calculators, and a help forum. Native lessons (ones that have been created by FreeMathHelp) are well-worded with multiple examples, but others link to external sites with variable quality. Video lessons all link to the same outside site. The moderated forum with five or six advanced members requires email registration and agreement to follow the forum rules.
Is it any good?
FREEMATHHELP is a good deal for its price point (free!), but distracting and deceptive ads plus a plethora of nonnative content can make for a confusing experience. On the plus side, the forum is searchable and contains a decade's worth of in-depth insight from the user community. Simple navigation complements conversational lessons with kid-style thoughts such as, "Why do we have to do it like that?" Absolute value is explained with patience, depth, and accurate mathematical terminology. These native lessons are clearly authored by an experienced classroom teacher with a concise, knowledgeable, and clear approach.
Unfortunately, not all aspects of the site are so clear. At first, the left sidebar looks like a native menu, but it actually links to an outside, for-pay side, and the "Interactive problem solver" functions briefly before a no-exit dialog box links to an outside, for-pay site. A good number of the lessons are actually links to outside sites (including all the video lessons) with different approaches and levels of quality. Finally, the tone of recent forum posts is not particularly supportive or respectful, and the explanations from elite or senior members are not always clear.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about at-home study habits and how they can be especially important to keeping up with complex math concepts.
Talk to your kids about online communication. It's always important to be respectful in a forum setting.