Why Mr. D. Math is an A+ Choice for Homeschoolers

We're excited about using Mr D. Math online classes for pre-algebra and other advanced math study in our homeschool, once kids finish arithmetic!

I knew there was a problem when Luke, my oldest and my natural math-thinker, started saying that he hated math.

We're excited about using Mr D. Math online classes for pre-algebra and other advanced math study in our homeschool, once kids finish arithmetic!

He would say that he was “bad at math”. Even as a struggling reader, he actually preferred to do his reading and spelling work.

One afternoon, all of his younger siblings were outside playing. But Luke was inside, deeply engaged in his latest drawing project. He said something like “Just where I love to be. Leaning over a table with a pencil in my hand.”

I joked, “Well, then, you must love to do math!”

His response stung my homeschool-mama heart. “Not really. In art, you can be creative. You can show whatever you want. In math, there’s really no way to be creative. You are just following rules.” Ouch. I knew for sure, in that moment, that we had to make some changes to the way we did math.

We're excited about using Mr D. Math online classes for pre-algebra and other advanced math study in our homeschool, once kids finish arithmetic!

{Note: I was offered free access to this product for the purpose of the review and was compensated for my time, but, as usual, all opinions are my own, honest assessment of this service. This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure. Thanks for supporting HSWOTW.}

Thorough is Good, Right?

When my oldest entered the Kindergarten-range and I started homeschooling, I wanted to pick “the best” math curriculum. The one I went with seemed like the best choice because everyone described it as a very “thorough” curriculum. That sounded good. By all means, let’s be thorough.

But this is math we’re talking about. Not sterilizing hypodermic needles. Exploring math isn’t about thoroughly eradicating every germ of ignorance in the nooks and crannies of their wrinkled gray matter. It’s about putting on display the truth, goodness, and beauty, the sheer wonder of what can be communicated through this language we call math!

We did change up the way we did math. We started doing a lot more hands-on exploration and a lot more family-style math. Investigation. Discussion. Enjoying the lightbulb moments. And this is still a great strategy for our family.

But I knew I’d need more help when the first pioneers in our homeschool ventured into the jungles of higher math. Logistically speaking, I’m just one person. I can only do so much myself. But how could I outsource math learning without returning to the burnt-out wasteland of “thorough” math?

Enter Mr. D. Math


A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to join Mr. D’s Pre-Algebra Class with Luke so that we could explore it and review it for other families. Well, that was a moment of Providence!

Dennis DiNoia, the Mr. D. behind Mr. D. Math has developed his own course materials and videos. The course is composed of online lessons. In each lesson, students watch a video in which Mr. D. talks about a concept, using example problems, drawings, and/or 3D objects to explain it.

In the first video Luke and I watched together, Mr. D. explains why people often find math so challenging. The problem isn’t that math and English are unrelated concepts (as they are often treated in schools and curricula) but that math language is actually a subset of English and it’s the areas of overlap that can be challenging!

We're excited about using Mr D. Math online classes for pre-algebra and other advanced math study in our homeschool, once kids finish arithmetic!

The next few lessons are titled:

  • “What is Addition?”
  • “What is Subtraction?”
  • “What is Multiplication?”
  • “What is Division?”

I must admit, I was a little skeptical. Is this really needed for a middle-school student? Apparently, actually, it was even needed for the mom of a middle school student, too! Mr. D. explains how some of the traditional definitions and approaches to these operations are a little too simplistic and therefore lead to problems down the road when applying them in more complex areas (like fractions and negative numbers)!

Mr. D. also has a brilliant approach to teaching kids to think about numbers as sets or parts of ten (since we do indeed have a base-ten number system). When we watched him show a common-sense way to approach subtraction by thinking about tens, I turned to Luke and said, “Isn’t that amazing!” With a little grin, he replied, “Actually, that’s kind of already how I think of it in my head.” That’s when I knew we had struck gold.

Highlights at a Glance

Here are some real perks of the Mr. D. Math approach …

  • Everything is right there online. Print out the activity at the moment you need it (no storing a workbook … also, no losing the workbook)!
  • Solutions are included with each lesson. For mom? Maybe. But mainly for the student! Mr. D. expects students to check and grade their own work. He even provides a video demo of how to do this. But his emphasis is on letting the students figure out what they did wrong. He encourages them to go back and rework problems until they have 100%. (Bonus motivation: when you get all the problems right, that makes calculating your percent grade pretty easy!)
  • Many lessons also include a link to extra online practice from IXL.com. Students can access the extra practice through Mr. D.’s account without needing to pay for their own subscription to IXL (which begins at $10 a month). Mr. D’s lesson links students directly to the appropriate activity on IXL.
    We're excited about using Mr D. Math online classes for pre-algebra and other advanced math study in our homeschool, once kids finish arithmetic!
  • Every lesson also includes an online quiz which is automatically graded. But again, students are offered the chance (and encouraged) to retake the quiz if needed, for complete mastery.
  • Mr. D. even includes lessons on utilizing technology in math learning. For example, when teaching order of operations, Mr. D. shows students how to put this knowledge into practice in an Excel spreadsheet!
  • Regularly spaced tests and exams are also a part of the course, but Mr. D. encourages students to use their notes. This isn’t about memorization. It’s about engaging with the material and really understanding it!

Here’s a little sample of a Mr. D. video lesson (embedded within his online class, no need to visit YouTube or pull out a DVD).

Live Online Class Sessions

Families can stick with just the self-paced course if that’s a good fit for them. But there is also the option of adding on weekly, live, online lessons with Mr. D.! Luke and I had a chance to hop into one of Mr. D.’s online classes and it was great fun!

At the beginning of the lesson, he allowed students’ comments to be seen by everyone. Students were saying hello to Luke and welcoming him to the class! After the first few moments, however, Mr. D. changed the settings such that only he could see users’ comments. This prevented the students from distracting each other, but more importantly, it meant that students could share their guesses to a problem the class was tackling without giving away the answer to others.

During the live classes, Mr. D. covers material related to a particular topic, based on the lesson students would be covering if they were pacing themselves to finish the course in a traditional school year. In addition to the weekly live classes, students can also utilize the opportunity for extra help sessions at two times during the week. During these help sessions, students can ask questions about anything they are working on and receive live, online help!

More Questions for Mr. D

After our first foray into the self-paced material and the live online classes, I was very enthusiastic about this opportunity! But, like any homeschool mom researching a new program, I had developed a list of questions. Mr. D. was kind enough to chat by phone. He spent over half an hour satisfying my curiosity. Here are a few of the details I learned.

  • Mr. D. has designed this program with homeschoolers in mind. This is a tool for YOU to use. His goal is to provide everything you need in one location. But you utilize the resources as you see fit. Have a student work independently, or go through the lessons together. Let your student do the problems on the whiteboard, or talk about them out loud if that works best.
  • No, you don’t have to do all the problems. Mom can choose just a few, if needed. However, as he pointed out and I later verified, there really aren’t an excess of problems per activity. (For some lessons, he does offers extra practice sheets just in case more are needed.)
  • Once you pay for a class, you have unlimited access until … you’re done with it! No deadlines. No expiration dates. Mr. D. will help you to know how much to complete each week if you want to aim to finish it in a school year, but it’s up to the family and the student to set the pace.
  • Yes, there are discounts available for multiple siblings in the same family. There are even discounts for students returning to take another course from Mr. D.! As a mom of seven, you can bet this news was very welcome!

From content to course presentation to Mr. D.’s math-side manner, we just couldn’t be more pleased. Suddenly the anxieties about what-to-do-after-arithmetic have vanished!

For More Information

We’re enjoying the Pre-Algebra Course now, but here is the full Mr. D. Menu:

If you’d like to get a peek inside, you can see this Facebook Live Video showing what the Mr. D. Math program looks like!

For more fun, you can also follow Mr. D. on Facebook and listen to his Podcasts!


This post is a part of the Math Month Resource Roundup. Check out other resources, freebies, giveaways and fun and be sure to sign-up so you’ll be in the loop about what’s next!

Join us for a roundup of math resources, manipulatives, freebies, and giveaways. Learn how you CAN do math as a whole-family activity!

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