Sunday, May 3, 2015

{Crew Review} A+ Interactive Online Math

A+ Interactive Math sent me a free subscription to their Family Math Package program to try with my guys.  This is an innovative program that provides online and offline components to help your students achieve in math.   I was really curious to see how the online and offline parts worked. He has been dissatisfied with the pace of our current math program, so I was happy that he was willing to try something new to change things up.  

What is included: When you subscribe (pricing information is down below), you'll get access to these components when you log in:

  • MM Lessons -  Multi-media lessons for each concept in this comprehensive curriculum for grades 1 through Algebra 1.  
  • Lesson Plans - These are week-by-week lesson plans for each grade level that integrate the multi-media lessons, the interactive Q&A (which provide reinforcement of content that was just taught in a multiple choice format), worksheets (you could choose the online or print offline worksheets), exams.  You can print this out to incorporate into your lesson plans/ assignment books and can check off progress easily.
    • I'd like to mention a couple things about the worksheets and exams.  Each time you select one of these (whether online or offline) a large pool of questions is used to generate unique worksheets/ exams.  So, let's say your student really struggles with a fraction concept, and needs to review the material with another worksheet.  No problem! A new worksheet with new questions (and answers!) will be created for your student.  
  • Printables - Here, you can gain access to the worksheets, exams and other reference sheets.
  • Ebooks - If you would like a digital/ PDF copy of the teaching material, you can print off or save to your hard drive a text of the lessons and worksheets and exam answers.
  • Online Worksheets and Exams:  This is where your student can practice and practice concepts to mastery. Worksheets have 10 questions exams had 25 questions.   Both of these have different statuses that you have to keep track of: pending are incomplete worksheets that can still be changed;  completed worksheets lock in answers for final grading.  You can view lists of incomplete (pending) and complete worksheets (with grades) from here.
  • Admin Panel: Here you can track your students' progress through their work and the program itself:
  • Help:  Here you can find FAQs, a user guide and compare features of the products offered by A+ Interactive Math.
Your student's screen is similar to yours when s/he logs in:

Using the Program:  Luke had his own account and password, and was able to log into the program to begin a lesson.  I ended up not printing out the recommended lesson plan, and I'm kicking myself that I did not use that feature -- it would have made life a little easier.  Since I was trying to use the program to match what Luke had been learning in his usual math program, we had to jump around a few grade levels to find the concepts that matched what he was learning.  

Because I didn't just use the recommended lesson plan, Luke and I would spend some time trying to open up folders in the ToC (table of contents) to find a match for his skill level and needs.  He would use headphones to listen to the lesson and complete the Interactive Q and A.  If he got 100% (and it was a review concept), I let him pass out of a worksheet for that lesson.  Otherwise, I had him create a worksheet to practice the concept, finalize it and grade it.

If you are looking to keep all your student's grades in one place, you can even enter their grade for off-line (printed) worksheets and tests so that you can have everything in one place.  Nice!

Pricing: You can purchase subscriptions for up to 10 students in monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions. Prices begin at $15/ month for a single student subscription ($124.99/ year).  With this you'll have access to all grade levels (with the ability to switch your student to different grade levels as needed) with lesson plans, interactive teaching of all concepts, online worksheets and tests that are automatically graded, as well as the ability to generated printable worksheets/ tests to take with you. 
You can try their Family Math Package demo for free (and even get a free month) to see if it will work for your family.

5/4/2014 - Important update from A+ Interactive Math 
[Limited Time]
Yes, you can purchase this now, but activate in the fall when your school year begins!

How This Worked for Us:  I had originally wanted Luke and Levi to give this a try -- but Levi was not too into it (and I had to cut him some slack since he had just helped me with another math review), so Luke was up on this.  He isn't a fan of math right now (can you say "fractions?"), so I'm not sure that anything would make him happy.  

This is definitely a mastery-based program (which we are used to) but there is little systematic review in worksheet lessons of previous content from what we've seen.  I like to have a little bit of review to keep everything fresh,  so this product would take a little bit of adjusting to get what I want out of it -I would probably have to print out some off-line worksheets to insert into the lesson plan for a 'day of review.'  However, I will say that there are cummulative exams which I could have used to provide some of that systematic review of previous content, so the features are there to be able to provide some review of previously learned content.  

In the long run, this product is probably not a good fit for us.  But short-term, it is providing a needed break from the routine for Luke and it is giving him some teaching from another perspective, which I like.  Luke's traditional math program hasn't delved much into decimals yet, so I had him work through basic arithmetic with decimals to help him with his annual standardized test that we take to fulfill our state homeschool law requirements.  A+ Interactive Math did a great job teaching him the basics for decimals, so I know he will not be nearly as frustrated as he was last year when he encountered this.  

If you would like to see how A+ Interactive Math worked with other families, click below to read more reviews:

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