Identify & Close Homeschool Math Learning Gaps With A+ Interactive Math! #Review
It’s the worry of many homeschool parents: Is this math curricula complete enough? Will my student learn all the skills they need to succeed in later math courses? The truth is, no math program, homeschool or otherwise, covers all topics with the same level of thoroughness, and no student will gain the same level of proficiency in every skill.
Our best tactic, then, is to use a curricula that works for us – and then do our best to mitigate any weaknesses we encounter. Chey and Chris, my 7th and 9th graders, have been using a new-to-us tool created by A+ Interactive Math. Called the Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan (yes, it’s a mouthful), it actually consists of a series of shorter tests focused on specific content areas.
It’s VERY nice that this test can be done in smaller chunks, because the level that we are using. “Pre-Algebra (7th Grade Math)” is actually quite challenging on some of the topics. In other words, please don’t expect your student who has just completed pre-algebra for the first time to be able to pass every single section on this test!
The combo of challenging and ultra-long – I didn’t count, but there are at least 200 questions in all – will frustrate even your A+ students if they try to do it all in one sitting. Break this up, over several days, if possible.
As soon as your student has completed an exam, they’ll see their score, and that line on the summary will turn either green or red to indicate whether or not they are “At Grade Level”. All areas that they were unsuccessful at completing will be available in their lesson plan, as shown below. Students are able to watch the multimedia lessons and then generate and complete online worksheets that are directly relevant to the concept they were studying. When the student feels that they are adequately prepared, they may retake that exam in an effort to update their score.
The exams are timed, both for individual questions and for the total length of the test. This is something that I hadn’t realized before my kids started the exams, and while they were surprised, they adapted to it reasonably well. If you have a student that doesn’t do well with timed tests, you may wish to take this into consideration. The times seem reasonable and not excessively short, so it might work well for a student that simply needs practice or encouragement with speedier work habits.
While my kids were not thrilled at “more math”, it’s been fairly straightforward for them to use, especially with short worksheets 3 days a week. The user experience – aka, ease of understanding where and what to click to get where you want in the software – could use a little updating, but it’s adequate and works for a 15 and almost-13 year old. I understand that the program is available for as young as kindergarten or 1st grade; with younger students, I’d really recommend a parent close by until the student gets used to the way the program works, because it isn’t the most intuitive. (There are tutorials available that are readily accessible; check these out before you get started so you have a “road map” in your head of how things are set up.)
The kids also, I think, appreciated the fact that it IS a challenge. All too often we’ve encountered math programs that seem to be dumbed-down, and that definitely isn’t the case with this level of A+ Interactive’s adaptive placement test. You have to know what you’re doing to get through these exams with a passing score, and a student that passes them – either initially, or through the lessons, worksheets, and retakes – will be more prepared for Algebra and other upper math than 99% of the other students out there.