Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ALEKS math

Math is a challenge for me. There you go, I said it. In the great Murphy’s Law of Homeschool, it is also a subject at which my son excels.

We have been trying out ALEKS math, an online curriculum. ALEKS, Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces, offers very individualized learning that adapts to each student. Things got off to a hairy start when my son did the initial assessment. I had him take the test for the pre-algebra level since we are doing pre-algebra this year. He missed a lot -- and he was not happy. It became a teachable moment just to get him to understand the purpose of assessing him at the beginning of the school year. (“You aren’t supposed to know it yet!”) The ALEKS program provides a pie chart (I’m a visual learner, so I applaud the pie chart) divided by area of study. Each piece of the pie is color-coded and shows what the student has mastered and what still needs to be learned.


(This isn’t our pie chart, but you get the idea.)

Once my son realized that ALEKS would allow him to move forward in new areas without being assaulted by monotonous review, he was all for it. I can log in to my account (even while he is working online on a different computer) and see what new areas he has completed and how well he handled the material. I can also see the time spent each day and how far he has progressed since his last assessment. And I can assign quizzes in areas where I think he needs more practice. While we would not use this as a replacement for our current math curriculum, you could certainly choose to do so and be very well covered. We have found it to be a change of pace for us that really helped me assess my son’s math level (even if he doesn’t like assessments).

ALEKS is entirely web based and costs $19.95 per month, $99.95 per six months and $179.95 per 12 months. Discounts apply for multiple students.

A free 48-hour trial is available on their site BUT homeschoolers can get a free one-month trial --

Homeschool Banner

From the ALEKS web site:

What is ALEKS?
Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. ALEKS can provide you with the instruction and support that you need to homeschool your children in mathematics for grades 3-12. ALEKS offers highly-targeted, individualized instruction from virtually any computer with Internet access, making it a comprehensive and mobile education solution for your children.

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Program:

  • Complete Curriculum Solution for Math with Access to Full Course Library
  • No Textbook Required
  • Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
  • Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
  • New and Improved Master Account - Includes Quizzing, Attendance Tracking, Automated Reports, and More
  • Unlimited Online Access - PC and Mac Compatible
  • QuickTables - Complimentary Math Fact Mastery Program for Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction

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