Monday, August 4, 2014

Mathletics {Schoolhouse Review}

We're always looking for fun and engaging supplements for our homeschool, even for mathematics, which my oldest son enjoys.  Recently, we were given the opportunity to review Mathletics from 3P Learning.  Mathletics is an online math practice site for Kindergarten through high school.  We received a full year of access for two kids, so both boys got the opportunity to try this one out!

Mathletics review

Getting Started & The Parent Account
Within the Parent Account, you can choose each student's grade level, but also more specifically you can choose from various common core/state courses.  I'm not looking to align with common core, but for parents who want to for testing purposes, they can choose the one that most aligns with their needs.  I left Elliott (entering 2nd grade) in a 2nd grade course, but since Emory is not-quite-five years old yet, and has had little formal math instruction, I decided to choose Virginia Pre-K for him.  My account says that my home license allows me to change their course up to six times, which means I can always adjust him up later if necessary.

In my account, I can see each student's profile and progress, and also use the Task Manager.  The Task Manager allows you to assign specific tasks, and these would have to be completed first.  Since we've been on summer break, I haven't really utilized this feature, but I can still see the last score of activities that have been completed.  This is nice, because if I saw any low scores, I could determine if he needs more work in that area.  I'll probably use this feature more during the school year if I want Elliott to get more practice on specific concepts.

Another feature in the Parent Account are the Instant Workbooks for each grade level.  There are separate student and teacher books divided by content area.  I have been looking through the Series A (Kindergarten) and Series C (2nd grade) workbooks.  In Series A there are five primary content books, and in Series C there are seven books.  Each book (which cover topics like Numbers, Measurement, Space and Shape, etc) can be downloaded whole, or further divided into sub-topics so you can download and print just specific material that you need at the time.  We haven't used them yet, since we haven't started back into school full force, but I like what I've seen.

An example of two workbooks, to show how they are divided by content and sub-topic.  (Series A)
Mathletics review

The teacher books can also be downloaded in sections.  I can see the answer books being useful for higher levels, and the Assessments being good for pre-test/post-test type material or for portfolio fodder.

These workbooks would be great if your student needs more than just online practice, or if you need physical samples of the work your child is doing.  You can also access the workbooks for all grade levels, so if you need to go up or down a level for more practice, you can do that here with the workbooks.

Weekly Reports
In your Parent account, you have the choice to receive weekly reports by email.  I get separate weekly reports for both boys, which is great for record-keeping.  I do keep a portfolio for annual evaluation, so printing these reports periodically will be helpful.  The email is detailed, and starts with how many times the child logged in for the week and how many total minutes they spent.  It shows the activities they completed and the exact date they worked on it, the score for each activity, and how many points and gold bars they received.  If you need to keep a detailed record of your child's progress, or even occasional records for portfolios, these emails are perfect!

Student Accounts
Once they initially login to their account, they can create a personalized avatar.  As they play, they can earn points and gold bars for doing Activities, and enough points earns a certificate.  The scope of the activities obviously varies by grade/course level.  Just a few of the other options the student has are Live Mathletics, Problem Solving, and the interactive Rainforest Maths.

Some of the topics Emory has covered through the Virginia Pre-K course and Level A Rainforest Maths include Counting, More or Less, positional words, shorter or longer, and subtraction.  I don't do formal math at his age, so I wanted him at an appropriate level to make sure he could work through it confidently.  We sit together, I read the instructions, and he plays!  This the perfect level for a rising Kindergartner, and he finds the graphics and activities fun and engaging.  He also loves getting the green check marks for correct answers; green is his favorite color after all!

Mathletics review

Second Grade
Elliott is working in 2nd grade, and some of the topics covered in his course are Model Numbers, Expanded Numbers, Place Value, Fact Families, Money, Fractions and so much more.  Since he's older and has more experience with formal mathematics, I went ahead and put him in the grade level that he's entering this year.  I'm nearby and available if he needs me, but he generally works independently.  So far, it has been mostly review and even topics that we haven't covered formally were easy enough for him to grasp once I explained the first problem.  It's just enough to challenge without frustrating him.  There is an option for "easier" or "harder" questions, but we haven't needed to try it yet.  He does like getting the whole set of questions correct in one try, so if he does miss one, he likes to repeat the section.  That's fine with me!

Mathletics review

There's an App for That
There are a few different apps available from the Mathletics team, and the student app that allows you to access your account and work offline is FREE.  It's available on both iOS and Android devices.  I haven't downloaded it yet, but will definitely get around to it.  The Mathsterious Mansion is listed as free for a limited time as well.

What do We Think?
We've tried a couple of different online math programs, and this has been everyone's favorite.  I think this makes an excellent supplement to nearly any math curriculum, and that's how we will continue to use it for Elliott.  Since I don't push formal curriculum in Kindergarten, this is more than enough for Emory this year!  However, between the online component and the printable workbooks, this could possibly be used as a complete curriculum for early levels.  (I don't have experience with the older material, so I cannot attest to the depth of its content.)  The online questions are adaptive and increase in difficulty as the child answers correctly, and material can be repeated with new questions for more practice.  There's also an option to choose easier or harder material.  With this flexibility, and the added range of the workbooks, it really is easy to work at the unique level of each individual child.

The Final Details
Purchase price is currently listed at $59/student for 12 months access, which is a competitive price for something that can potentially be used as complete curriculum.  You can find more information on the 3P's Mathletics informational page and sign up for a trial, explore Mathetlics website, or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Also be sure to check out more Schoolhouse Review Crew Mathletics reviews to get even more opinions on this learning resource!

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