An Online Math Curriculum
I first heard about ALEKS Math from a young female student at Home Link who was telling another student how much she liked using it. This is a fairly rare comment coming from students, especially girls who are referring to a math curriculum! I am always on the lookout for new and better programs to recommend so I quickly cornered this poor child and asked her to show me some of the basics of how this program works...and then I did a little research on my own!
It seems that ALEKS is an online math tutoring course which meets state standards and test norms for Grades 3-12 and works very well in the homeschool environment.
There are no textbooks or workbooks... everything is done online... interactively... even the testing and review!
You, mom, as the teacher, serve as a sort of overseer, familiarizing yourself and your student with the program. You will use a
Course Recommendation Chart
to determine the course and level your student should use to begin. You may want to take them through a lesson or two, until they understand the format and from there on - especially with the older grades - they will work indepedently.
They will work from a 'pie chart' that will look something like this...
with the topics represented in the pie corresponding to the course and level on which they are working.
They get to choose to build a piece of the pie (a topic) and will work through the lessons and quizzes until they have mastered that area.
Then they simply choose another piece of pie to build!
The program will know by their responses if they are missing a building block to understanding a concept and will present that building block to be reviewed. The number of practice problems increases or decreases with their demonstrated mastery of a topic. It seems to be very responsive to each individual student and allows them to progress at their own speed.
When you purchase a subscription...
ALEKS Home Page
you will have access to all the courses for all the grade levels. The subscriptions are purchased for a block of time... for instance -6 months- and family discounts are available.
The parent has a master account which allows them to oversee when and where a student moves between courses. You will need to have enough involvement to monitor your child's progress be aware of when they are ready to move to another course.
There is a program that is a part of the appropriate courses in ALEKS Math called 'Quick Tables' which teaches all of the 'math facts' tables... Yes!
ALEKS Math can easily track multiple students at different levels simultaneously, so it works well for siblings.
There is almost always a free trial period available on the website so that you can find out how well your children adjust to using it before you have to purchase a subscription.
Here is the link to the FAQ page so you can learn more...
ALEKS Math Frequently Asked Questions
I can't afford to sign up for ALEKS Math to try it out myself, so if any of you have used it... would you please use the form at the bottom of the page and let us know how you liked it?
In the meantime... here are some very helpful comments taken from the ALEKS site:
I have used at least five different math programs during my five years of homeschooling and did not find the right fit for both of my children until I found ALEKS Math. It is the perfect combination of practice and mastery."
- Cynthia Wygant, Homeschooling Parent
"I am using the sixth grade class for my nine year old son. He is gifted in math, but has some characteristics of an ADHD learner, so ALEKS has been perfect for him. We love the simple screen without lots of distractions; that one problem is presented at a time; that problems are at his level of mastery...no slogging through tons of material he already knows; that if my son gets the problems correct, he can move on to another topic; and the price. Earning a piece of the ALEKS pie is all the motivation my son needs to complete his lessons...no arguments over how many pages of math to do."
- Laurie Becker, Homeschooling Parent
"We'd been using the same math curriculum since Kindergarten to homeschool our 6 1/2 year old daughter. She's been plodding along doing basically one lesson per day and not enjoying it at all. With ALEKS Math, on the other hand, she's flying! When we first started four weeks ago, she tested at 19 percent, now she is at 56 percent! She loves to see the pie grow and her favorite parts are Geometry and Graphs."
- Dana Leeds, Homeschooling Parent
"My daughter absolutely loves ALEKS! She wakes up and runs to the computer to start ALEKS - a far cry from working for three hours, kicking and screaming, to complete just a couple of problems. She loves the freedom and independence of working on her own. Thank you so much!"
- Sudy Graham, Homeschooling Parent
And here are some comments by homeschooled students...
"I love how detailed the explanations are. I like working at my own pace, and there is no useless work. You don't end up doing things you have already done."
- Brett F., Homeschooled Student
"ALEKS is a fun math program because it’s a fun way to learn to do math; it helps you do the problems, lets you use a dictionary if you need to know what a word is, and sometimes lets you use a calculator. It lets you do the problem over again if you get it wrong, and that’s cool. My favorite part of ALEKS is the inbox. You can send messages to people, get replies, and get help from ALEKS Customer Support. ALEKS is a great way to learn, so I would recommend it."
- Deidra S., Homeschooled Student
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