Monday, December 13, 2010



There are so many choices for math curriculum, how does one choose. We have used about 5 different curriculum in our homeschool, from computer based to online to textbooks, none of them seemed to be just right. Well, we got to try another one recently, as a member of the Old Schoolhouse crew I received a month subscription to ALEKS.

I know what you're asking yourself, what the heck is ALEKS. Well, I'll tell you!! ALEKS is an acronym for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. Basically that means that your child takes an assessment test and then based on how they do they are assigned problems that either reinforce lessons that they did average on or introduces new topics. If the child already has a firm grasp on the topic, they don't have to work on it; they can move on. In other words, it doesn't beat them over the head with it, "master" it and move on.


I had Koty work with this product to get a hands-on opinion, he is an "8th grader" doing Geometry. He is very driven and math is one of his best subjects, so he's a great test subject. We chose Geometry out of a wonderful selection of courses which you can see here.  He has been working with another curriculum but we put that on hold so we could enjoy this opportunity.

Koty really loved that after his assessment, the program kicked him right into things he didn't have mastered and didn't make him repeat anything that he already knew.  He could work on topics that he 'probably' had mastered by doing some practice questions under that topic, if he did great he would be switched to mastered and could move on.  As we all know, sometimes you have to see some things a few times before it 'clicks', but once it does your ready to learn something new.  ALEKS really fosters the independent learner, who enjoys pushing themselves to learn and master more.

This isn't Koty's "Pie" but it shows you what your child's screen would look like after assessment. Some topics are mastered and others need to be worked on. In the case of Koty's "Pie" he isn't allowed to work on some pieces of the pie until he's mastered other sections of his pie. This limiting guides the student to work sequentially, therefore; not letting them get in over their heads and enabling them to enjoy success.

The above graphic gives you an idea of what you would see through the Master account or the parent account. You are able to see how your child is progressing with a very easy to read graph that plots out the number of topics mastered and how many more they have to work on. With the next graphic you can see how long your child worked on ALEKS and how many topics they attempted, giving you a really good grasp of any problems your child might be having. For example, Koty usually attempted up to 4 topics a day, when he only attempted one but still spent the same amount of time; it was obvious that he was struggling to grasp the topic and needed some help. The whole program is very individualized and meets your child where he's at!!

So here's the nitty-gritty: ALEKS is a subscription service that costs as follows.

Month to month: $19.95
6 Month subscription:$99.95
12 Month subscription:$179.95

ALEKS also offers a family discount, click here to see pricing for multiple students.

What did we think?  Koty really enjoys challenging himself to master topics and move on.  He loves filling in his pie chart and can really visualize his success with the "Pie" graphic.  We definitely recommend this product and will probably be extending Koty's subscription to finish Geometry and possibly to move on to Algebra II and beyond.  Normally,  ALEKS offers a free 48 hour trial, but to homeschooling families reading this review; they are offering a one month free trial, just click on the button below and go see how ALEKS can work for your family.  Head on over here to see how other families utilized ALEKS in their homeschool.

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

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{I received a one month subscription to ALEKS,  free of charge as a member of The Old Schoolhouse review crew. All opinions are my own and  I was not required to write a positive review.}


Our Village is a Little Different said...

We thought this was a great program, too. I liked your review, as I was wondering how it worked for more advanced math.

alecat said...

Very good review. :)
I realised after reading this how we liked being able to move about and try different math areas per day, too.

Denise said...

Enjoyed your review. My kids really enjoyed doing this program as well. They loved how you didn't have to read explanations unless you needed to.