By tpm | August 11, 2011
OK, I have to admit this is one of the first reviews I’ve done based on the recommendation of a student. Last spring, one of my students came in completely psyched about a present her parents had given her, Brainetics. I’d never even heard of Brainetics, so she had to get me up to speed. It turns out that Brainetics is a DVD program designed to teach kids how to do complex math mentally.
My student showed me the demonstration video of kids using Brainetics their website site, which resulted in a pretty good laugh from the both of us. To say the kids are enthusiastic to solve the problems is a bit of an understatement, but I had to admit it was also impressive to see the complex problems the kids were solving. Although she is older than the kids in the video, she said she was having success with it too. All of this got me wondering, what it going on here?
So the first thing I had to ask myself was is this thing even legit, or is brainetics a scam? Everything about it seemed to point towards it being the real deal: my student’s reaction, countless testimonials, a Parents’ Choice Award, even a John Stossel report on 20⁄20. So if the program is legit, how are the kids able to perform complex mental math?
From what I’ve read and seen, the key to Brainetics success (besides a well packaged set of videos that appeals to kids) is a system called Vedic Math. This is an Indian system of mental math. The story behind it is kind of amazing. The book Vedic Mathematics was written by Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja (seriously, that’s his name), but wasn’t published until 5 years after his death. He claimed to have found the method in the appendix in an ancient Indian text. If this is all too hard to believe, check out the Wikipedia entry on the Vedic Mathematics book.
Why Hasn’t This Caught on in America?
The use of Brainetics tricks (or Vedic math) has been pretty well established as an authentic method that most anyone can learn for doing very complex problems. The criticism I’ve heard of it is that with Brainetics tricks, you don’t really gain the same insights into how the arithmetic works like you should with the commonly taught methods of the Western world.
Of course, the flip side of that argument is that American kids aren’t always achieving at the level that suggests our methods are effective. There are certainly times when a student (or adult) gets to the point where they don’t care how much insight they have into the math. They just need to start getting some correct answers.
Bottom Line on Brainetics Reviews
There’s a lot of controversy out there over Brainetics. It’s not the scam that some claim it is. It is a cleverly repackaged spin on an ancient technique. Wisely, the creators have created the DVD’s in such a way that kids really enjoy them. Not every student needs Brainetics, but as a teacher, I am all for any mathematically sound method that helps kids learn. Brainetics seems to fit the bill. At $150, it’s not cheap, but it’s about the same as a few hours of one on one tutoring.
Visit the Brainetics.com site to get the best price on Brainetics.