This is where UnLock Math and their UnLock Pre-Algebra program comes to the rescue.
What It Is:
UnLock Math is an online homeschool math curriculum. Now I know there are lots of these types of programs out there, but there are some unique qualities to this one that I really liked.
First I felt it was very well organized.
Each day you do math, the student goes through the same steps.
First up is the Warm Up. There are around 5 basic math questions to answer, which review addition and subtraction facts.
Next is the Video Lesson. These are taught by Alesia Blackwood, an enthusiastic teacher who loves getting your kids excited about math. The lessons are not too long and Alesia does a great job of describing the concepts.
After the video lesson is the Practice Problems. Your student will work through problems that are specific to the concept that was taught in the video. They are checked by the program as your child answers; if they get to many wrong the program will continue to ask them questions.
Next comes Stay Sharp. This part of the lesson reviews previously taught concepts. There are about 10 problems to do in the section.
And finally, Challenge Yourself. This final question is in word problem format and is the most challenging question in the lesson. These questions are also great and show how we use algebra on a daily basis.
Within the lesson is a reference page; this is helpful for reviewing and can be downloaded as a PDF.
What You Get:
I received a years' access to UnLock Math. There are two different log-ins; one for the student and one for the parent. In the parent's log-in, you can assign work and keep track of your child's progress. One nice feature of this program is that you can very easily plan out the entire year of study, with each day being given specific work to do.
There are also quizzes, reviews, tests, a mid-term, and a final exam. The quizzes and tests all combine to make up the student's grade. You can access the Course Gradebook on the student's homepage, and see exactly where your child is in the program and what their grade is so far.
How We Used This And What We Thought:
Dasher really struggles with math and is an extremely visual learner. This was a good fit for her in that sense; the videos are engaging and have lots of graphs and other visual aides to help teach the concepts. I appreciated Alesia's teaching style; she completely understands that math can be hard for some students, and tried her best to make the learning interesting and fun.
Dasher struggled with some of the concepts, but loved it that the videos were not drawn out, but got right to the meat of the lesson. The pace was good, and even though we moved slowly through the lessons, she was retaining what she was learning. This in part, was due to the Stay Sharp sections. These did a great job of reviewing other algebra concepts. I also really appreciated the Warm Up. Many times we only focus only on algebra, and forget the basic math that still needs to be practiced.
Overall I really liked this math program. I do wish that we could have printed off worksheets; I do feel it is important for the kids to write out their algebra problems with pencil and paper. We will be taking a break from math the month of August, but I do think we will pick back up with UnLock Math in the fall.
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