I posted a review over at the SecularHomeschool.com for ALEKS math a while ago. I thought I would post it here, too, on my blog along with an update since more time has past since I posted my initial review.
Here’s the review:
Member Ranking – Extremely Positive
We’ve been using it for two years now (Grade level 3 and 4 with QuickTables) and will be continuing on to Grade level 5 in a few short weeks.
This is an amazing program that has helped my daughter master her multiplication through its QuickTables.
This program can be used independently by the child but you can choose to sit with your child (as I’ve been doing!) and work with them. We sit together and choose a topic or two to do a day. We hit explain several times till I feel my child gets it, then she enters the answer all on her own the next few times till the program says she has mastered it and can move on.
What we really love about ALEKS is how all the topics in the grade are divided into a pie-chart. The child can choose what they’d like to learn that day! More pieces open in each pie when they’ve completed a prerequisite piece. It’s really fun seeing how much of the pie is complete each day as she progresses!
The program is also intuitive enough to know when to have the child take an assessement. If the child needs to relearn a topic, it simply re-opens the piece in the pie and she can re-learn it when she wants. Your child won’t move forward till s/he knows it well!
You can also assign worksheets and quizzes from the parental login and that has been a great asset to have!
We’ve had such amazing results and are really pleased with ALEKS math for our child!
- QuickTable mastery of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
- Reviews done automatically everyday on previous days topics to ensure she has retained and understood the material learned.
- Intuitive Assessment
- Quizzes you can assign
- Worksheet printables
- Under the master login, you can view progress reports and progress reports also get emailed to you to keep you updated.
We’re actually currently doing Middle School – Grade 6 with ALEKS. So this makes it our fourth year with ALEKS and we still absolutely love using ALEKS for math. Although this is geared towards the child to independently learn and do the work, I opt to still sit with her. I am, essentially, re-learning algebra! See? Never too old to learn! And that is what I keep telling my kid. I didn’t quite get it when I learned it all the first time around so here I am re-learning it. And I am actually getting it!! So I am indeed rather proud of myself :)
But getting back to my daughter -she is quite capable of doing this alone at this age, but I also like that we work together. We just keep hitting “explain” until she gets it and then does all the next examples on her own till the program says she has mastered it. This method works great for us!
I definitely plan on sticking with ALEKS for the time being and truly recommend it to both young and old (like me! ;) ) Can’t argue with results!
You’re never too old to learn about fire safety!
We (my ten year old and four year old twins) recently went with our homeschool group to visit a fire station.
We had a really nice turn out. I didn’t think it’d be a very long visit but I sure was wrong! The fire station staff was amazing! They really took the time to teach the kids some important fire safety tips.
What I felt was really important (and something that actually had not occurred to me!) is how scary a fireman may look to a child when all geared up and breathing through an oxygen mask. Yikes! So one of the kind fireman at the station got himself all geared up in front of the kids so that they could see he wasn’t a monster! He told the kids that if ever they found themselves in a situation where they saw a fireman come towards them, that they should not be scared and run away but to in fact come closer to him if they could.
My oldest also volunteered to demonstrate what it’s like to be immobilized so if ever a kid were to find themselves on a board being tied down, they’d know why and that the EMT or fireman present is just trying to help.
My kids, of course, much preferred getting on the big red fire truck and trying on some of the really heavy gear that firemen wear.
When we got home we talked about our own fire escape strategy. We showed them where all our smoke (and carbon monoxide) detectors are located and showed them where our fire extinguishers are located in the house. I’m sure we’ll be talking about this for some time as the kids had quite a memorable visit to the fire station!
I’m seeing threads pop up on forums I visit asking what all you’ll be using in the upcoming year. I can’t believe it’s that time of year already! Time is zooming by!
A lot of what I’m using is working so we’re going to just keep at it and not change things up.
Other things -not so much. :(
For my 5th/6th grader:
Math: ALEKS middle school math
Language Arts: Growing with Grammar and Soaring with Spelling
Reading Comprehension: Moby Max’s Reading section
Writing: A good friend lent me her Writing With Ease and so we’re going to give that a go.
Science: Elemental Science’s Logic Stage Biology (goal is to start in the Spring and go through Summer)
History: History of US by Joy Hakim (continuing -almost done with book two)
Language: Getting Started with Latin (we recently started this and kid is enjoying it so we’ll keep at it!)
Extras: Logic Perplexors
Let’s Make Some Great Art
Meet the Great Composers
Co-op and the usual homeschool group field trips we attend
For my nearly 5 year olds:
Kindergarten Early Bird Singapore Math
A variety of books for teaching how to read: Alpha Phonics, 100 Easy Lessons, Hooked on Phonics, BOB books, Reading Game -seriously using all or none of these! My girls like to jump around and as long as they are enjoying the process of learning how to read I am totally fine with it!
Lots of crafting: painting, coloring (we’re HUGE coloring fans here!), gluing, cutting, etc.
Hope everyone is staying warm! This winter has been harsh! The girls are loving all the snow but this momma is so done and over it. I am very much looking forward to seeing more color out there.
As a long time believer in your general attitude about science and your charismatic presentation of the same, and perhaps most especially your recent debate with Ken Ham, I have to take a moment to speak out about your recent uninformed non-response to a question posed by a fellow homeschooler on the Facebook platform.
For your reference, here is the exchange:
Michelle Pippin’s question:
“The homeschool community is severely lacking in real science curricula. Will you give thought to creating a science curriculum for the ever-growing number of secular homeschoolers?”
Bill Nye’s response:
“Use your judgment. The rest of us out here, want your kids to appreciate society and the importance of working together in school and in life. A person working alone will probably not build the future 797 airplane, for example. It takes people who can work with and around people. Carry on.”
Firstly, I have 3 children. We’re actively homeschooling one – a 10 year old girl. We also have 4 year old twins who will follow the same path. Having seen the state of what passes for public education in the K-12 bracket, I can say with certainty of myself and my wife that we are not only far more capable of, but also far more willing to spend the necessary time and effort to properly educate our children. While I know there are always exceptions, K-12 schools of the present day seem to focus, almost morbidly, on the all-knowing, all-seeing standardized test.
Mr. Nye, let me share with you a graphic which I have on my wall to illustrate what I find perhaps the most compelling argument against the standardized testing model:
I realize that some measure of a student and their level of performance is required, however I do not believe that giving every student in every school the same test fills that role. Just as I don’t believe that you can spend a finite, fixed amount of time teaching all the primary subjects and expect that every student will benefit. Some students learn very quickly and become bored. Others learn more slowly and need more attention or even just more time with a subject.
Setting even that aside, primary school state and government provided education these days has become far more about test results than about students learning. Every school superintendent I’ve spoken with is under tremendous pressure to produce a high average test score. I’ve never been told by any school administrator that they are under pressure to produce intelligent students. Again, there are always exceptions, but you don’t plan by the exception, you plan by the rule. Both as wise parents and as scientists.
So, off my soap box- I have to ask you- what has given you such a seemingly low opinion of homeschoolers? Do you have direct experience with some that has perhaps colored your perceptions? Do you simply have a lack of knowledge of the homeschooling field and how it works? I’d truly like to understand what prompted you to answer the way you did.
You had what, in my opinion, was a wonderful opportunity to lend your considerable experience and knowledge on a subject that could have helped to shape the minds of the coming generation. Instead, you chose to completely disregard the question and instead, in not so many words, chose to belittle the homeschooling community.
I’ll close by leaving the questions I’ve asked open to your answers, and also to recall your debate with Ken Ham- a man who by your own account was so mired in the rote memorization his holy book requires of him that he is incapable of entertaining a new, fresh idea. I’d hate to place you in the same category as he.
Mr. Nye, be a scientist- if there’s something you don’t know, don’t understand, or are misinformed about regarding homeschooling, then do some research. Check your facts before propagating an old stereotype. Go through your history books and determine which of our finest minds have been homeschooled for their primary and secondary education prior to moving on to other institutions for post-secondary education. I have and I was surprised. Maybe you should too.
Secular Homeschooling Dad & Secular Homeschooling Mom