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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aleks Math

I am so thankful that we have gotten the chance to review different math programs this year.  We have used the same program for the kids all the way from Kindergarten through 6th grade.  Once they hit 7th grade (D-man so far), we have tried a few different things, but not using a separate, specific curriculum.  It seems to be working, but, lately, I have wanted to shop around and see what else is out there and what may work for the kids.  Just because it worked well for D-man doesn't mean that it will work well for L-Girl, you know?

The latest math program we have gotten to try is called Aleks.

Aleks (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is a Research-Based Online Math Program.  This program is what I would call a no-nonsense sort of math program.  There are not a lot of bells and whistles and brightly colored pages to entertain your kids.  Instead, it is a solid math program that assesses your child's skills and then designs a program based on what they need. 

After your child takes the assessment test, there are two basic sections in Aleks.   The first part is just regular old math problems.....that is based on the results of their assessment.  This is the no nonsense - just math- portion of the program. 

The second part is something called QuickTables which is a math fact mastery section.  This has a little bit of fun and games kind of math.

But it is all used to move their math facts (7x1 = 7; 12-5=7;  8+3=11) from their short term memory into their long term memory.

We had all three of the big kids, D-man, A-Girl and L-Girl try Aleks.  I liked this math program and so did the kids.  Here are some of the reasons why.... 

It is available anytime day or night....even when we travel (no textbooks to haul along with us). 

The questions/answers have limited multiple choice options, so they are having to actually work out the answers and not just going with their best guess.  When they get the answers right....they really get it right.  I cannot tell you how many tests I passed based on my skill as a good guesser.  I have higher hopes for my children!

I also really, really like that it (Aleks) assesses each student on what they know and what they are ready to learn.  So, everyone has their own unique lesson plan....even if they are in the same grade.  That one point, right there, speaks to a homeschoolers heart. (I feel like I should have my thumbs hooked through my belt loops and pronounce it "rot dare")

I like the pie chart visual that shows what they have mastered and what they still need to work on.  They seemed to be motivated by working to fill in their pie charts. 

I loved that there were explanations available, if they wanted them.  If they didn't need them, they could skip them, but they were always just a click away if they needed it. 

Aleks would send me a weekly report on each of the kids that told me what they had worked on, how long they had spent on the site, and, what they had mastered.  Since this type of schooling is so hands off....which I normally don't was an easy way for me to still feel like I was on top of what they were doing....without having to stand over their shoulder and watch them work all the math problems.

This program is intended for students from Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade....although some of the areas are listed as 3rd - 12th grades.  You can watch a quick tour of how Aleks works by clicking here

Now that I have told you how much I liked this program, let's get down to the nitty gritty.  The cost.

This is per student.

  • $19.95 per month

  • $99.95 for 6 months (which in case you aren't good is math is like getting six months for the cost of five months)

  • Or $179.95 for 12 months  (which, if you intend you use it long term is the best deal because you would save $59.45)

  • There is a family discount available also.  For example, if you had 2 students enrolled, the cost of a 6 month subscription would be $169.90.

    You can try using Aleks, for free, as either a student or an instructor.  The normal window for the free trial is pretty short get to try 3 hours of Aleks during a 5 day period.  But, right now, they are offering a free 2 month trial for homeschoolers! 

    For us, we are still exploring our options and "doing the math" to see if this is something we will continue, especially for my older kids.  It is attractive in many ways:  It is so portable.  The explanations of each problem that are available (even in the upper/hard math).  There are some ACE (American Council on Education) courses available that could count as college credit classes.

    Here is what other TOS reviewers think of Aleks.

    We received a 2 month subscription to their program for free in exchange for an honest review of their product.