How will I know that my children are really learning?
In fact, during the first couple of years I had nightmares
that we’d fall victims to the “Fill-in-the-blank” cycle of teaching.
You see I would spend a week teaching my children all about “Rounding to the nearest 100”
They would complete their worksheets with great accuracy,
then we’d move on to the next subject.
Half a year later, we’re doing problems that require rounding to the nearest 100,
and both of my children are sitting their completly stumped as to what I’m even talking about.
That ever happen to you?
This happens to me in every single subject.
I teach, they listen,
I test, they regurgitate,
I grade, we move on.
Of course NOW….we’ve learned to REVIEW.
(we actually have “Review” as a subject on our weekly calendar.)
And, usually our review sessions are short little verbal quizzes
in which we simply sit and play “Mom against the kids”
to see who can score the most points.
(Mom getting the points for a missed answer)
These types of reviews can usually be done on the fly,
with very little prep work, (and sometimes even in the car.)
But then there is math….
Math is a bit harder to review.
Sometimes it requires an actual sheet of paper to work out the problems.
But most often it’s hard to really know what math concepts my children understand,
and which ones their skirting around or finding other ways to solve.
So our ALEKS reveiw couldn’t have come at a better time:
ALEKS stands for 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. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions.
Did you read that last line?
“AVOIDS MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS.”
As a student I used to LOVE multiple choice questions.
As a teacher….eh, not so much.
Here’s what I really enjoy about ALEKS:
–Initial Test to see exactly what my child knows.
–Subsequent lessons, reviews, and testing surrounds only subjects that my child needs to work on.
–There is an “Explain” button.…oh how I love that button
Sissy: “Mom, I need help!”
Mom: “Hit the explain button!”
Sissy: “Oh, I get it!”
Mom: “Zzzzzz” (that’s me snoring and taking a nap on the couch)
–Data is presented in a pie-chart that my child can understand
(seeing your own progress is a great motivator)
–Daily review with each log-in.
–Quick tables are great for speeding up those Math facts
–State standards are easily assessed
–Quizzes show progress made and in what areas.
–You can PRINT out a worksheet to take on-the-go
Now, ALEKS is a bit heavy, and more intensive then I first thought.
My daughter is in third grade, the very first level of ALEKS,
And there are initial training programs for children to learn how to use the tools and the functions, so that they don’t miss questions because of a lack of technological ability. This was something I was concerned about for our upcoming state test this year, so I’m glad that Sissy got in some practice.
You can subscribe to ALEKS in a variety of ways:
$19.95 a month,
$99.95 for 6 months of access,
$179.95 for 12 months.
(For families with more than one child, discount pricing is available.)
I would definitly recommend trying out the program to see if it’s a good fit for your family. If nothing else, after the initial test you’ll have a great idea of what areas to work on with your children!
Disclaimer: I was given two free months of ALEKS for purposes of this review. All opinions are mine honest thoughts about the product. Read what other TOS Homeschool Crew members thought of ALEKS here.