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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 31 reviews
VINE VOICEon September 15, 2010
I'm writing this review to help other people make a purchase decision. if you have a question about the program or my review, please leave a comment below. I will be emailed by Amazon and I will update the review or answer your question.

If you have spent any time checking out this product, you will notice that there isn't a matrix to help you to know if this is appropriate for your child.

Here is what I would recommend:
Buy this product if:
1) Your child has mastered addition and subtraction, and at the very least has a VERY GOOD working knowledge of multiplication tables. Memorization of multiplication tables would be better (this is per the parents manual, I am not making this up).
2) Your child shows a preference for doing math already (in my opinion).
3) You want your kid to be able to do a lot of math-based parlor tricks.

Do not buy this product if:
1) Your child needs remedial math help. If your child struggles with basic math I recommend Hooked on Math (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division).
2) Your child needs an introduction to multiplication. All the lessons teach formulas. For example, to learn the "parlor trick" of being able to tell anyone what day of the week they were born on, the first half of the formula is to multiply by 5 and divide by 4. There is no explanation at all of what multiplication is or what division is. This is for kids who are already VERY aware of those basics (that trick is on DVD 1 by the way).
3) Your child is not going to continue practicing math to keep the lessons fresh in their mind.

If your child is brilliant but doesn't like math, and you want this program to "turn them around", then this program might work. They work hard to show you some math tricks and make math seem more enjoyable. A big emphasis is made on impressing others (although we all know that in "real life" you have to play to your audience).

By the numbers:
The DVDs have 15 hours of instruction.
The exterior box and flash cards say ages 9 to 99. Actually, these items aren't age-sensitive, they are ABILITY based. If you are already decent at multiplication and you are 7, then, you should buy this. If you are 11 and the problem "whats 9x7?" scares you then this is probably not a good product for you.

That concludes my basic review. For a more detailed review, read on.

To start off with, I have uploaded a picture showing exactly what you get out of the box. 2 books, a parents manual, 5 DVDs (in 2 boxes), and 2 decks of cards. The 5 DVDs include about 15 hours of instructional time. That boils down to $10 per hour for instruction, which is a "fair" price in todays world considering you can watch them, resell the kit, etc.

The Parents Manual.
The first 5 pages of the Parents Manual is a bit of fluff, congratulating you on your purchase and giving you some explanations why you should believe Mike Byster's program is "da bomb". The remaining 7 pages guide you in knowing what to ask your kids after they watch each part of each DVD. Certainly, followup is very important.

It says right in the Parents Manual (page 7) that this program is for children who have a "comfortable understanding" of their multiplication tables. Kids who KNOW them. This is NOT for remedial students who need help over a hurdle. The parent's manual is quick to point out that DVDs 1 and 2 can be enjoyed by anyone, but DVDs 3-5 will be difficult for children who have poor multiplication skills. I don't agree, multiplication is in the second trick on DVD 1. If you dont' know multiplication then there is a good chance your train will be derailed right there. I wish that this information was better represented on the Amazon product page and the Brainetics website.

THE DVDs.
The basic format is that 4 teams of kids are competing, with Mike Byster as a sort of coach/referee/teacher. Your child watches the other children learn the strategies. I have uploaded a picture of this. Ocasionally, there is a sidebar where Mike Byster addresses the viewer directly. There are also little "commercial breaks" which have jib-jab style animation. These commercial breaks tend to have trivial information that is vaguely related to the topic, but serve to stave off monotony. To me the commercials were very ADD, which means, most kids would like them. I guess. Your child will use a workbook along with the DVD.

DVD 1 talks about magic squares and moves on to a calendar trick where you can figure out the day of the week from any date in the last 100 years. This is a "parlor trick" which you may use for a practical purpose once a year as an adult, if you don't just check the calendar on your cell phone. But it relies on a FORMULA, and your child must MEMORIZE the formula or they are just "watching a math movie". (By the end of the program your child has to memorize dozens of tricks or formulas. Otherwise, its just expensive infotainment.)

By the second DVD your child is learning about Fibonacci numbers, adding doubled numbers, square roots, and 5th root tricks. These aren't the sort of things your child really NEEDS to know, its more like geeky math fun. And fun it can be. Does DVD #2 really "help students overcome math anxiety"? I think "mileage may vary" on that one...

The other three DVDs get into some serious math tricks, how to square numbers easily, how to divide large numbers easily. Its all legitimate. Actually, I'm getting something out of it myself. But some of these things would not be used by a child until they were much older. Other of these tricks fall into the category of "knowledge for knowledge's sake" which can easily be re-labelled "trivia". I could memorize the trick/formula for squaring a number between 100 and 125. But since my occupation doesn't require that I don't think I would bother to learn it. I just used pi-r-squared yesterday as part of my job but knowing "many tricks" for squaring "many numbers" is not very practical for me.

I don't think that Mike Byster gives us anything NEW or AMAZING here. What he DOES do - and this is important - is to repackage the facts up in a way that modern kids like to see it. You should not underestimate the importance of this.

So did it help the kids? Well, the one who was the oldest knew his multiplication tables, and he's learned a few of these tricks. But, he will forget some of them if he doesn't practice them, just as if I taught him French for a month and then ignored it for 2 years. Thats sad, but its true.

In the end, I think Brainetics provides exactly what it promises. It provides a launch pad for your child to learn a lot of math tricks that can make it possible for them to do "amazing" math facts. If your child stays with the program they will feel "good" about math. They may feel like they have "insider information". It may make them feel math is "easy" and propel them toward a math-related career (which is a good thing). BUT its just as likely that your kid will go through this program and have a vague recollection of it in 15 years.

I think the price is "fair" because of the 15 hours of DVD instruction and the way its presented.

Should you buy it? Maybe not. Its not for everyone. Its really more of a "bonus-round-extra-credit-math-whiz" program. You should hold off until your kid is pretty math-savvy to begin with.

I'm a geek. I would like my kids to be math whizzes. So I gave it a try. And right now I'm not so sure its worth the $150. You can do a lot of educational things with $150, and I'm just not sure this should be in the top 5.
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3838 comments| 745 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 22, 2017
not good
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on March 19, 2014
To be truthful I haven't used it yet. I don't exactly know how to use the
equipment toward getting it to show up on my TV. I'll get someone to
help me do it tho, eventually.
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on April 18, 2014
I am so very happy with this transaction! Actually the item description for this item was the deciding factor in my purchase. It was full of detail and the product was more than what was pictured for a very good price. I had a great transaction with the seller and received my set in record time! Awesome! thank you
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on March 10, 2014
worked well, helped her get a better understanding of Math, buit after a while it became boring to hear which never turns out well. Overall, product great, but very easy to lose interest.
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on March 17, 2014
Awesome product. The lessons and tricks are fun to learn. Extremely easy to remember and you can use some of the methods in everyday life.
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on August 31, 2013
This was a waste of time. It does have a wow factor however it wasn't very educational for my struggling fourth grader. Should have gotten a more basic fundamental program. I'd suggest something more basic for struggling children.
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on November 22, 2013
Highly Recommended . A+. Look forward buying from him again. Thanks so much for . I would give A+ and Excellent!
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There is lots of hype when this is advertized. It does not help kids as it is too high level for them. Adults won't find it useful.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 29, 2013
if your child has problems with math its worth the price. Not sure I would that much money again, but it is what it is
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse