Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ALEKS Review

What is ALEKS and how does it work?!  ALEKS is an online math program that not only assesses what your child knows, but helps teach what they don't know!  ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces.  The process of signing up was pretty simplistic and even our 8 year old had a good experience with sign up process.  Then comes the assessment.  Admittedly, our kids were a little nervous about completing it since it was going to compile what they didn't know as well as what they did.  Once they completed the assessment portion, they were shown a pie chart which also explained how the pie chart functions. 

As our kids worked through the pie chart, the concepts to be learned are listed as such and then have further break downs within each.  When clicking on a concept, it takes you to sample problems and after the student answers a problem in that category correctly 3 times, they are considered to have mastered it and will then be taken back to the pie chart to move on to the next topic.  If they are having trouble with the concept, they have the option to see the explanation and ALEKS will show how the problem is solved.  Of course, when explained, it does not count as a correctly answered problem.

Overall, we were pleased with what ALEKS had to offer.  The assessment portion of the program is an excellent tool for seeing where those "spaces" or gaps are.  We didn't feel it was a complete program/curriculum, but it seemed to get our 8 year old interested in learning those problem areas, especially since it was an opportunity to be on the computer.  Our 16 year old didn't get as much out of it as far as excitement goes, but she felt validated in the areas she was having trouble with.

The cost for this program is reasonable and worth the price.
$19.95 per student per month
$99.95 every 6 months
$179.95 every 12 months
*Family discounts apply*
See site for more subscription information

 Be sure to read more reviews about the ALEKS program by kindly visiting TOS Homeschool Crew reviews.

*As always, these opinions are my own.  I received this product free of charge to review honestly and that's what you have here.*

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Master Ruler Product Review!!

Wow, so exciting! Master Innovations is one of those companies that make you smile and say, "Man, I wish someone had thought of this long ago!" Yes, there's quotes there, because that's what I said when I first saw the Master Ruler. Master Innovations have come up with a creative, hands on, concrete way of learning mathematical concepts.

The Master Ruler, as their website declares, "is SEVERAL rulers in one!" It's an amazing tool for learning measurement. I can't tell you how many times I've been measuring something and thought, dang, I wish these stood out in some way, so that this would be easier! Well, with the Master Ruler, they've not only made the smaller measurements (like ¼") easier to see with the different colors, but they've made the ruler layered, so you can actually remove the layers you don't need. Flipping them back and forth allows you to get the measurement more quickly and more accurately! You can check out this video for more information and to see it working in action.

So, are you wondering at this point how your kids might like the Master Ruler or be able to use it? When working with our 8 year old son, he remarked, "hey Mom, I've never seen a ruler like this before!" When he was done working on just a few of the worksheets and some lessons that I had come up with, he mentioned that he understood fractions better! Now, that is an awesome revelation, right?! Right. Our 16 year old daughter said, "I sure wish that these would have been around when I was his (our son's) age. It would have been a lot less confusing!" Then, while doing a Chemistry experiment, she was using the metric ruler while our son used the other. What more can you ask for? We're all impressed. Here are some pictures for you!

The Master Ruler itself sells for $9.95, which I think is an excellent price, especially given the durable material! If you're interested in purchasing it separately, you can go here. To see the other options you can get with the Ruler, look at this page. And of course, if you'd like to read more reviews about the Master Ruler or their other products, please see our TOS Homeschool Crew.

*As always, these opinions are my own. I received this product free of charge to review honestly and that's what you have here.*