Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: ALEKS Math TOS Crew

The latest product that we have had the chance to review for the TOS Homeschool Review Crew was ALEKS math. ALEKS math is an online math program for K-12 students. 

According to the ALEKS website:

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is an online tutorial program:
  • Complete Curriculum Solution - Access to Full Course Library
  • No Textbook Required
  • Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
  • Assessment and Individualized Learning
  • Master Account - Monitor and Direct Learning Progress
  • Unlimited Online Access - PC & Mac Compatible
  • Allows Students to Toggle Between English and Spanish
Active use of ALEKS will dramatically improve grade performance and learning progress.

The ALEKS math program is not flashy, full of pretty pictures, or filled with animation to entertain. This is a straight to the point math education system that provides solid learning potential for the right child. Each student receives their own account so they can login and progress at their own speed. There is no need to repeat and review lots of unnecessary material with ALEKS, the system automatically moves the student through subjects that they have proven to have mastered. The use of pie charts gives the child a visual of their accomplishments and what is left to complete in the math course they are currently working on. 

Parents can quickly and easily monitor the progress and attendance of multiple children from a master account.

ALEKS math provides math courses for everything from basic math facts all the way through high school trigonometry. They also have math prep courses for specialized levels if this is something your children require.

How we used the product:
As someone who learns math easily, I was incredibly excited about the math learning possibilities my 4th grade son would get with our free month trial. Notice I said, was. My oldest son, who is the only one that fits in the 3-12 grade range learns math completely different than myself or my younger children. He can only learn math when there is a verbal explanation for new concepts and lots of hands on assimilation opportunities. He requires lots of examples and opportunities to practice a new math concept. He can not see problems or solutions easily in his head, although he is making progress in this area slowly. ALEKS proved to be a bit discouraging for him because new concepts are not introduced verbally. All new concepts, examples, problems, and solutions are in black and white. My oldest son quickly got bogged down with deciphering new explanations and was not grasping the bigger concept of the lesson at hand. I regularly had to sit with him while he did his ALEKS lesson to give verbal reinforcement and explanation for what he was learning. ALEKS is supposed to promote and encourage independent math learning so having to sit with him for so much time was counter productive and a drain on our homeschool day.

On the other hand, I know this program would have been golden for my first grader had he had the opportunity to experience this program. He is gifted in the area of math so as a result needs little explanation or review when learning a new math concept. I am considering a free month trial for him to see if this is a program that he will enjoy. This is not to say that your child has to be gifted to get the most from this program. Quite the contrary, so long as they do not need lots of verbal explanations for math I think any student would do just fine with ALEKS wonderful math courses. In fact, I know of plenty of other homeschoolers on the TOS Crew that had success using this program with their children who are not gifted in math.

ALEKS is offering homeschoolers a free month trial ($19.95 value). Normally, their free trial is 48 hours but ALEKS is giving homeschoolers a special deal.

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

A subscription to ALEKS is:
  • $19.95 per student, per month, or
  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or
  • only $179.95 every 12 months.

Be sure and read what other TOS crew members are saying about ALEKS!

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