Review of Online Learning for Math and Language Arts

Often online learning is an appealing idea to my children. When learning can be done through a computer program, they can often learn more independently and have fun. I've heard about frequently but never had the opportunity to try it. I was very interested in finding out how it would work with my kids.
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We received a one year Online Math Membership which has content for ages PreK-12th grade and an Online Language Arts Membership which has content for grades 2-4. The cost of membership is $9.95 per month for each subject or $15.95 for both subjects. There is an additional charge of $2 for additional children. There is also a yearly membership for $79 per subject or $129 for both subjects. Additional children are an additional $20.

I knew that I wanted to try out the language arts for my 3rd and 4th grade girls. We use a Charlotte Mason approach and haven't done much formal grammar with the younger girls. I decided to have them work at a 2nd grade level since they hadn't studied grammar formally.

 photo IMG_6332copy-Recovered_zps68039f50.jpgI also wanted to try the math with the girls as a supplement to our math curriculum. We love our curriculum, but it doesn't use very much drill and worksheet practice. I thought using each day would give them some additional practice. I chose to use the 3rd grade level for both of them. They do math together regularly, and our curriculum isn't set up by grade level.

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It was very easy to log in and get started. Each user has a profile (including the parent) and you can chose whether or not to have it password protected. I especially liked that I could log in and try out the different skills without having to do it on a child's account.

The third grade math that they worked on included skills such as place value, Roman numerals, money, advanced addition and subtraction, and sequencing. There were 230 skills covered. The second grade language arts covered information such as sentence types and basic parts of speech. There were 57 skills covered. Each grade for each subject has a skills overview page with all of the skills that are covered listed. I could have them begin at the beginning and work sequentially or I could choose a specific skill for them to work on. I did a little of both, beginning with the first skills and then skipping around some as we saw how the program worked. On the skills overview page you can mouse over the skill and see a sample problem.

As I had the girls work through this, I discovered that it wasn't going to work very well for us. The information to be learned on is based on the Common Core and state standards. None of our curricula particularly lines up with the standards. Using this as a supplement often frustrated the girls because it covered information they were not familiar with.

Another key thing to know if you are considering is that it is not game/activity based like some other online learning programs. It is just like workbook problems online. The students work through various questions having to do with each successive skill. If they get the question right they get points and if they get the question wrong they lose points. Once they reach 100 points, a skill is considered to be completed. If they get the question wrong, the program "teaches" the concept by showing an explanation and/or practice problem.

My girls would often get frustrated at how long the activities were taking because the points would lower with each incorrect answer. I generally would let them stop after a certain time no matter how many points they had.

I think if we used a standards based curriculum that this would have been much more useful to us as a supplement/workbook. I liked the way that the program moved successively through skills. I liked the way that there was an explanation offered for missed problems. I liked the way that the program kept track of how many problems were completed in each skill set so that students could pick up where they left off or move to a new skill.

Another really nice feature was the reporting. Every time a certain goal was reached- one hundred points in a skill or an amount of time practiced, I would received an email report. I also received a weekly report detailing what the girls had worked on and how they had done. I like this and think that if you were using this as a workbook/supplement, this would be a great way to keep up with what the kids were doing. I could also log into my parent account at any time and pull up reports showing information such as how long they had worked, how they scored, and what they needed to work on.

There are some very good things about even though it didn't work for us. If your curriculum uses state standards or Common Core standards, it might be a very good supplement for you.

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Review of Online Learning for Math and Language Arts Review of Online Learning for Math and Language Arts Reviewed by Leah Courtney on 2:06:00 PM Rating: 5

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