SAT Math Bootcamp With Mr. D

If you've been reading Homegrown Learners for any length of time, you know Mr. D is our math hero!

I am NOT a math person, and until last summer my daughter didn't think she was one, either!  Anna took Mr. D's Algebra readiness course last summer, and is now completing Algebra I (with an A average - hooray!). 

Because my daughter is in the 9th grade, we need to start thinking about taking the SAT.

I contacted Mr. D (because he truly loves to interact with parents and is always available to answer your questions) about Anna taking his online SAT math bootcamp class. Mr. D told me she would benefit from the class and said he could even scale the practice problems for her because she has only completed Algebra I -- the SAT includes Geometry and Algebra II and some Trig. 

We enrolled in the bootcamp and I am immensely thankful for all of the information we've BOTH learned about the math portion of the SAT! 

Take the Fear out of SAT Math With Mr. D Math SAT Bootcamp

*I have been compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. I was THRILLED to write this post for Mr. D because he has helped our homeschool so much!

About Mr. D Math

(and why we like him so much)

Mr. D (Dennis DiNoia) is a degreed math teacher with a Masters Degree in Education. He has been involved in the education arena for 25 years, and has been a Florida State Certified Secondary Math Teacher since 1988.

I first met Mr. D at a homeschool conference. I attended a math workshop he was giving, and was pleasantly surprised that he engaged (and even excited) me in math!  Most of all, however, all of the teens in the room were engaged, laughing, and clearly focused on Mr. D. 

From a technical standpoint, the Mr. D math interface is EASY to navigate. We have never had a single technical issue with a live class. His recorded videos (for the self-paced curriculum) are all extremely well done and easily accessible.  

Students are responsible for completing their assignments, entering grades, and staying accountable for their work.  

When you ask my daughter why she likes Mr. D she will tell you it is because he's FUNNY. He makes math INTERESTING, and he puts it into a LANGUAGE SHE CAN UNDERSTAND.   

I appreciate Mr. D because he teaches the grammar of  math in an engaging way, and it is obvious that he genuinely cares about each of his students. They day he called Anna a "Math Superstar" was a turning point in her math journey.   I could have cried with happiness. 

(and my husband will never live down the day his daughter beat him at math... Mr. D made the order of operations a SNAP for a certain 13 year old!)


Mr. D offers live, online classes, and he also offers self paced video curriculum.

(In my daughter's case she met each Tuesday afternoon for 1 hour of test prep with Mr. D for 6 weeks.)

Mr. D offers the following courses: 

About Mr. D's SAT Math Bootcamp

(and why we liked this so much, too!)

Mr. D's SAT Math Bootcamp meets for 6 weeks.  

To participate in the class students need to have completed Algebra I and be enrolled in or completed Geometry. 

Each Tuesday we logged on at 5 p.m. EST. Mr. D sends you reminder emails about the class, then he sends a link to login to the live class.

During the class Mr. D goes over sample practice problems with the students. He points out KEY WORDS for them to look for, and imparts his test taking wisdom throughout! Mr. D also doesn't let any student slide... he makes a point to engage EVERYONE and keeps a great pulse on the understanding of the class. 

He takes the FEAR out of the SAT because he gives the students TIPS and TRICKS that work. He teaches them how to approach each question logically, and takes the mystery out of some seemingly very difficult math questions. 

I also love that Mr. D talks to the students about CALCULATORS - from how to use them best to which one HE prefers for the SAT. 

After the class students can practice more problems (found in the test prep portal) and watch one of Mr. D's many videos. 

What if you miss a class?  (this is my favorite part!)   Mr. D sends out a link to the recording of the class and you can watch it that way.

The tuition for this SAT Math Bootcamp is only $197!  This includes all 6 lesson and complete access to everything in the Test Prep Portal (read on to find out about that goodness....).  Have you SEEN how much test prep classes cost these days?

Mr. D's price is a deal.

There are still several more SAT Math Bootcamp sessions available, but many of them are already full (space is limited to 25 students), so if you're in need of SAT Math prep, don't delay! 

Mr. D's Test Prep Portal

(maybe the best part?)

I wanted to share just a little bit about the test prep portal. You receive full access to this when you take Mr. D's SAT Math Bootcamp. This portal has taught ME so much about test taking strategies (not just in math, by the way), and will provide a lot of extra practice for my daughter.

The portal contains lessons and resources.


  • Writing Rubrics

  • Games for Student Practice

  • Mr. D Math SAT Video Library

  • SAT, ACT, and PERT Practice

  • Practice Tests for the new SAT -- all Areas

  • Mr. D Supplemental Videos for the New SAT

  • Mr. D Supplemental Videos for the ACT

  • EOC (end of course) Practice

  • Mind Benders - Deductive Thinking

The online portal looks like this:


This is a huge list of websites that can be used for additional test practice and preparation. 

Connect With Mr. D Math

If you'd like to connect with Mr. D - to find out more about his excellent math offerings for homeschoolers, you can find him in the following places:

I'm so happy we've found an affordable, reliable source for high school math courses and test prep!  Feel free to ask me any questions about our experience, or you can always contact Mr. D, too.




Using Audio Dramas in Your Homeschool

I'm a huge fan of reading aloud.

My kids always have books  they are reading on their own. 

But, I'm not sure how much I've talked here about LISTENING to stories on audio. 

Stories on audio are wonderful during quiet time, long car rides, or just because.

(like when you are playing LEGOS in your room and need a little company)

Do you have favorite CDs (or I guess it's MP3s now, right?) that your kids beg for whenever you get in the car or get the music player out?

I love that we have shared memories of quality stories - stories that make us a little better for having listened to them together. 

Disclaimer: I have been compensated for this post, but I never share anything with my readers that we have not first used and can recommend 100%. 

When to Use Audio Stories

So.... when do we use audios in our homeschool, and HOW do we use them? 

Let's talk about that a bit before I tell you about our favorite new series

There are so many ways to use audio stories - here are just a few things I've done over the years.

  • Quiet Time:  When my kids were little they always had a CD player set between their 2 rooms during quiet time. They always looked forward to quiet time... and SO DID I!  
  • In the Car:  Now that my children are bigger, having a good audio story keeps everyone engaged in the car (and not listening to the radio, which we know isn't always the best). Audio stories are also perfect for long car trips. 
  • To Supplement History:   I've always tried to choose audios that go along with the time period we are studying in history. A couple of years ago we would always listen to audios at lunch time together.
  • In Place of Reading Aloud:  Let's face it... there are seasons in our lives when a lot of reading aloud isn't feasible - but listening to an audio story is. 
  • To Keep Kids Occupied: Audio stories are perfect for keeping a child (or two or three) occupied while you are working with other children. You know your children are getting something GOOD and meaningful while your attention is elsewhere. 
  • Any other Time: Recently my son has been turning on his CD player and listening while he's building LEGOS in his room. He might also turn it on while he's waiting for my husband and me to tuck him in at night. Having this option (especially in the child's room) lets them make wise choices with their time. 

The Heirloom Audio Adventures:

If you've even been a fan of The Adventures in Odyssey, the former producers of that series have something new for you... Heirloom Audio Adventures: The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.

(Oh, and guess what? One of the producers is the grandfather of a Classical Conversations student -- thought my CC readers would appreciate that little fact! And... Kirk Cameron is a part of the project, too.)

These dramas, based on novels by GA Henty are historically accurate, and so very well done. The actors are superb and the musical scores are wonderful. I knew from the moment we started The Dragon and the Raven that my son would be HOOKED.  

(Kirk Cameron says the dramas are "movies that played in the theater of the mind" - and he's right!)

About The Dragon & The Raven:

The Danes have swept over every kingdom in England, laying waste to everything in their path. Join Edmund and the one man who is willing to stand against the invaders - the young King Alfred of Wessex. From standing in the shield-wall to sailing on the whale-road, Alfred and Edmund realize the nation’s only hope is to turn back to the God they have abandoned. Can the two young warriors turn the tide of the war and save their world?

Each store is approximately 2 hours long and extremely engaging.

I love these stories because each of them point our children to God.  

Each adventure has also been meticulously researched.  Here's what the creators of Heirloom Audio adventures say:

At Heirloom Audio Productions, we are especially passionate about bringing real history to life. This inevitably means a bit of detective work as we try to figure out what actually happened in the story we’re attempting to tell.

Our task is further complicated by the fact that so much of what passes for any type of history today has been “sanitized” by secularists and is often beyond the point of historical recognition.

That said, our passion and love of history takes us to some amazing places and allows us to do some pretty unusual things as we sort out the details of a sometimes murky past.

Yes!  This is exactly what we look for as we seek to teach our children the unwavering TRUTH of God's word!  It isn't easy to find resources that help us in this task with our children.

Inside the CD case is also a memory verse for the story:

In addition to The Dragon and the Raven, there are three other stories: In Freedom's Cause, With Lee in Virginia, and Under Drake's Flag.

You can also find additional teaching resources for each of the stories online - which is great if you like to extend your children's learning a bit. 

You can watch trailers of each of the stories and see for yourself why we like them so much.

BOTH sets of audio dramas can be purchased for just $79.95 (including bonuses and other features both sets are valued at over $400!).  

Purchase HERE.

(Once you click "add to cart" it will you your subtotal is $79.95 for BOTH sets with some really fun bonuses, too!)

The Giveaway

Heirloom Audio is giving away one set of all four stories (which includes the CDs and mp3s) to one lucky reader.

Simply follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter.  (United States residents only, please.)

Good luck!  I know you will love these stories as much as we have!

Win 4 Audio Dramas from Heirloom Audio

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

Our homeschool journey has been just that.... a JOURNEY.  

We abandoned the public schools seven years ago, eager to learn every possible thing we could about homeschooling. 

Those first few years were spent getting our feet wet. Our way of life had dramatically changed, and we all needed time to adjust.

We always were diligent with school. We rowed beautiful books, used history as our spine, and took many field trips. I guess you could have called us "Interest Led", "Charlotte Mason", and at times "Unschooled". 

( I don't regret a minute of those early years, because each of those moments led to the path we are on today. )

Less is More:Why We Homeschool Classically

After nearly four years, however, we lacked direction -- and more importantly -- we lacked DEPTH and DIRECTION

I couldn't see my children's education as a WHOLE - it seemed like many small pieces that didn't quite fit together. 

We needed to make a radical change, but I didn't know what that change would be.

One day I decided to reread The Well Trained Mind.

A friend of mine suggested I read The Core (she also showed me her Foundations guide and timeline cards - wink).

Something in those books resonated with me... actually A LOT of principles resonated with me. The Classical model of education made SENSE to me. It made sense to me, even though I had not been educated Classically. 

There was no need for bells and whistles --- a Classical education relies on the ideas of the past that have stood the test of time. I've been able to relax and rest in the fact that this Classical homeschool is more than enough for my children. 

If you are a new homeschooler or contemplating homeschool, might I suggest investigating a Classical Education?  (I have included a list of resources at the end of this post.)

I have seen it work for all types of children (children with learning disabilities, children with all different learning styles). I have reclaimed my OWN education in a way I never dreamed possible. And, most importantly, I believe it is a simple, beautiful way to bring our children closer to God.

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

A Classical education centers around the principles of God.

The virtues of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are reflected in the grammar, dialectic, and rhetorical stages of learning. 

Knowledge is the comprehension of facts. Understanding is the reasoning of relationships. Wisdom is the application of learning.
— Harvey Bluedorn

A Classical education is so beautifully SIMPLE, yet it allows our students to think in amazingly complex ways.

And, contrary to what I used to think, a Classical education allows my children to realize their God-given potentials. It equips them to learn ANYTHING and teaches them to articulate their passions and beliefs in a Godly, wise manner.

The Grammar Stage requires simple memorization, learning how to read, a math program, nature study, exposure to great art and music, and LOTS of living literature. 

For the past three years my son has simply been memorizing facts given in the Foundations memory work. These lay the groundwork for future learning; he will draw upon all he has memorized when he hits the Dialectic Stage.

Yes, it really is THAT simple. 

Memorize facts in the areas of science, history, Latin, English grammar, geography, and timeline. 

Choose a math program that emphasizes DRILL and REPETITION (We love Saxon in the early years.)

Expose your children to great artists and great music

Take them on nature walks and let them experience God's beauty firsthand. 


Read aloud. Provide many types of books all throughout your home. Take your children to the library. Model reading for your children. 

Once you do these simple things there is ample time left over, and your child will naturally fill that time with what interests them, whether it is time outside, drawing, building, or simple PLAY.

The memorization of rivers in Africa led to my son creating the continent out of LEGO bricks and using this as a presentation on community day. 

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

A Classical Homeschool education allows our littlest ones to explore and play, while at the same time ensuring they memorize a body of knowledge that sets them up for learning in the middle grades years. 

While the Grammar Stage focused on FACTS, the Dialectic Stage now focuses on UNDERSTANDING THOSE FACTS and presenting that understanding in a deeper way.

I love this example:  My son (in the Grammar Stage) memorized the classification of living things.  He simply can tell you "Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species". My daughter (in the Dialectic Stage), however, chose an animal and completed a taxonomy project about that animal. She also learned about famous scientists (Linnaeus - the Father of Modern Taxonomy) being one of them.

This was her project in Challenge B. I had NOTHING to do with the project. She was inquisitive and creative all on her own. 

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

 Doing this type of activity with a young child would have been mostly busy work, and they wouldn't have understood it nearly as well as a child in the Dialectic Stage. 

The lightbulb will go on for a student in Classical Conversations Challenge B because they have memorized the Classification of Living Things in Foundations, and NOW they get to apply that knowledge, and present it to their peers. 

Simple and beautiful. 

The Rhetorical Stage allows our children to think abstractly and express what they know in the most deep and meaningful way possible.

I am just beginning to see the INCREDIBLE fruits of the Rhetorical Stage.

After years of memorizing math facts, and endless hours of drill and repetition, math is beginning to CLICK for my daughter. 

At the beginning of this year (Challenge I -- roughly 9th grade) I watched her teach the Order of Operations to her classmates. This seemingly simple concept (remember "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally"?) turned into a lesson at the whiteboard and a conversation about WHY she chose to solve a certain problem in a certain way. 

This is a child who NEVER would have volunteered to come to the front of the class and explain a math concept.  Look at her now! 

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

This year I have also watched my daughter work through a music theory curriculum. It has involved learning all of the GRAMMAR of reading music. After drilling this grammar (note names, time signatures, etc...), the students are then applying their knowledge through the analysis of a hymn score. Sharing this knowledge with their class will be the final - Rhetorical - piece to the puzzle. 

The diligence, repetition, and yes - frustration - produces a learner that is inquisitive and thorough. 

(Side note: I have been working through the curriculum and have a better understanding of music theory than I did in college -- and I was a music MAJOR!)

Anna will also get to see how everything in a score of music so intricately comes together to produce something beautiful - hymns that touch our hearts and souls. 

A Classical Homeschool education gives me the peace of mind to know my children are getting everything they need, while still keeping their primary focus on their Creator and an appreciation of goodness, beauty, and TRUTH. 

I am so thankful we found this way of home education. I am thankful we chose to become a part of Classical Conversations - although this is not the ONLY path to a Classical homeschool education. There are many others. 

When we first started homeschooling I knew I wanted to give my children MORE than they were receiving in the public schools. 

I never dreamed I could give them THIS MUCH. 

Less is More: Why We Homeschool Classically

The "Short List" of Classical Homeschool Resources

These are the resources that have proven helpful to me over the past several years. I won't burden you with too many... remember - less is more!

The Lost Tools of Learning
By Dorothy L. Sayers
Classical Education and the Homeschool
By Wes Callihan, Douglas Jones, Douglas Wilson

Do you homeschool?  Tell me about it in the comments below? I'd love to get a conversation going about why (and how) we do what we do for our children!