Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: K5 Learning

PhotobucketThis homeschooling thing is a piece of cake.  I can chat on Facebook, catch up on House, and do other important stuff, occasionally checking into the K5 Parent site, while Esmé sits and plays works at her own computer on K5 Math and Reading.  Pain-free and effortless all around…

Seriously, K5 Learning, an online reading and math program, was a lifesaver when I had to take my daughter to work in the office with me, and it’s helpful when I’m needing to get work done at home, also.  It’s easy for her to do on her own, and I can easily monitor her progress on MY site as she finishes each lesson.

K5 Learning is an online study program for kids in kindergarten to grade 5.  We build reading, math and study skills to last a lifetime.
K5 Reading helps kids become strong readers and develop a love of reading. This award-winning program covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
K5 Math is an award-winning program which builds self confidence and a deep understanding of math concepts. K5 Math covers numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.
K5 Math Facts uses adaptive technology to help kids develop instant recall of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Progress on each and every math fact is monitored until mastery is obtained.
K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program which improves language skills one word at a time. We feature adaptive instruction, automatic word generation, an optimized visual interface, and a 150,000+ word database.
Recommended Age:  Kindergarten to Grade 5 
Price:  Monthly:  $25/first child, $15/additional children.  Annual:  $199/first child, $129/additional children 
For More Info/14-day Free Trial/To Purchase:
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

What Mom Liked:     Photobucket
  • Assessment. This assessment of eight reading and math skills is FREE with the 14-day trial!  It determines what lessons your child will start with.  And seriously, it was one of my favorite parts of this program, since it gave me a GREAT glimpse into how my daughter’s mind works.   The questions become increasingly difficult if your child answers correctly – be forewarned that you should EXPECT questions too hard for your child as part of the placement process.  When Esmé got the question “How many vertices does a cone have?”, that sent ME scrambling.
  • The assessment scores are relatively easy to read.  Important to note:  no matter how well your child does, the program will not start higher than the grade above your child’s current stated grade.  Because I had understated Esmé’s “grade” and this didn’t quite work for us, I contacted the vendor, who gave me a more personalized assessment and offered to increase her level if I wished.  I very much appreciated the personal touch.
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  • Parent reports.  Often I’m right there with Esmé as she works, but I love being able to monitor her performance through reports when I’m trying to get something else done.  At the end of each lesson I can see if she’s struggling, messing around, or whizzing through.
  • Focus on learning.  No fancy free playtime in this program!  It walks though lessons one step at a time.  It repeats answers to reinforce them after you answer – this would frustrate me, but Esmé doesn’t seem to mind.  There are lessons where you could earn tickets to play a short game, a reward of sorts, but time for play is limited.
  • Questions/answers read aloud.  At Esmé’s current level, it is nice to have all the questions/answers read aloud for her as appropriate.  It allows her to work independently.
  • Fun.  Even with the obvious educational focus, there are fun features, such as dog-bots who dance when you answer questions correctly.  Esmé loves the little characters – inchworms and such – who give instructions.
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  • Math Facts Section.  I love how the Math Facts section works – one set of facts at a time.  It’s easy to master in small chunks – and this makes a great supplement to the living math curriculum we are using.
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  • We didn’t spend much time in the Spelling section – the default stuff was a bit too hard for Esmé – but I understand parents can set up their own spelling words, which is a feature we may try soon.
  • Customizability.  It’s a little work, but the program does allow us to specify the lessons our kids will be given.
  • Internet-based.  The program works reasonably well in spite of our poor internet speeds.  Esmé is able to work on any computer, and I’m able to check in on the parent site from any computer at the same time.
I very much recommend you try the free 14-day trial.  No credit card is necessary, you get an assessment, and you’ll get a good feel for how it will work for you.
Thanks to K5 Learning for providing trial access to the program, and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.