it sounds like this particular teacher is not someone to waste good money on for private lessons. the secret to learning math is to work plenty of practice problems. that is--many, many of them. there are a number of websites where you can go to get help in understanding and explanations of the mechanics of working math problems. that is always a big help. here are some of those sites:
- i've linked you into basic math. there are progressively advanced subjects in math that you can access by expanding the drop down menu at the left side of the page. you may need to enable pop-ups for that to work.
- s.o.s. math starts with algebra and goes into progressively advanced maths. although they are advertising and selling books and software, there is still free helpful information on their site
- math for morons like us (i love the title!) - there are tutorials on this site. again, there are links at the left side of the home page. pick your poison! they run from pre-algebra (which is basic math) to calculus.
the other component that you need is problems to work. you can either shop around for a good workbook(s) to buy or you can get plenty of those free at this website: http://www.interactmath.com/
it is a companion website for a whole group of math textbooks. the only drawback is that you have to be online in order to have access to the practice problems and be working on them. you can't, for example, print out a page of problems to work on, unfortunately. you also need to pick a textbook when you first enter the site in order to get into the problem database. my recommendation has always been to choose textbooks by elayn martin-gay. she has written a number of textbooks on pre-algebra and the various levels of algebra. i have seen her video tutor series and she is a terrific teacher.
here are instructions for accessing http://www.interactmath.com/
. once you are on the site, click the "enter" button. the next page to come up asks you to select an author and textbook title from a drop down menu. there are many titles there. as i said above, i would look for martin-gay's books (ex: martin-gay: prealgebra: 4e, enhanced - the 4e stands for the 4th edition of the book and you always want to chose the enhanced versions of the software on this site because they are the newest and most updated programs). after choosing your book title, click the "submit" button. at this point, an installation wizard window pops up. you need to install the mathxl player (it's free). you may have to first install an active x driver, but the installation wizard will tell you that. just follow the instructions of the wizard to download what you need. it is all free. once the mathxl player is downloaded and installed, you will be given access to the practice problems for the textbook you chose. [every time you go onto this site, the installation wizard will appear and check to see that you have the proper software installed in order to use the software.] you will first see a page of drop down menus for chapters, sections, and objectives contained within the textbook you chose. by expanding the chapters menu, you can see how the chapters of the book are organized. pick one. the appropriate sections and objectives for that particular chapter will appear as well as a list of exercises that are links to the problems within that chapter. click on an exercise link and you will be taken to that particular problem. it takes some time to become familiar with using this program. when you go to a problem (exercise) screen you will find active buttons on all sides of the screen that you need to check out and learn what they do for you. buttons at the top allow you to go back and forth between the previous and next math problem so you don't have to keep going back to that fist page with all the drop down menus. as you progress through the problems they become more advanced and increase in difficulty. you can ask the program to show you the step-by-step solution for every single problem it presents to you by clicking on a button on the right side of the page that says "help me solve this". a button below it, "view an example", will show you a sample problem of the same type already solved in a step-by-step fashion. you can also print out a step-by-step solution using the "print" button. you have three tries to get the correct response or answer that the program seeks. once either occurs a new button appears at the bottom of the page: "similar exercise". clicking on this button will bring up another problem of the same type exactly like the one you just solved, but with different numbers. all the same buttons on the right side will still work and you can still ask for step-by-step help if you still need it. that is another great feature about this program. buttons on the left help you to enter things like fractions, radicals and powers. play around with them to see how they work. i could not find a help button or a set of instructions to help in using the program, so you are kind of left on your own to play around with the buttons on the left side to figure out how they work for you.
use this website to practice, practice, practice problems. this is how "a" students get their top grades. they work problem after problem until they know what to do when they see a problem put before them.
you can do this too. it will require you to be self-determined and self-disciplined to put in the hours of doing the practice problems.
good luck the next time around with your math classes.