Thursday, June 22, 2017

Unlock Math Review

I've talked before about our problems with math. Jake, my oldest, has always had a love/hate relationship with it. When he was younger, he loved it. He was good at it. It came naturally to him. As he got older though and the concepts grew in difficulty, he started to struggle. If he understood the assignment, he loved it; if he didn't quite grasp it immediately, he hated it. It was frustrating and a source of contention in our days. Not at all how I want our homeschooling experience to be. Sigh. I was pleased when our most recent math curriculum finally started to make a difference. The grumbling turned to a minimum, and he actually claimed to like it--or at least tolerate it--most days. When the opportunity to review yet another one became available, I was was uninterested. That is until I previewed a sample lesson. Right then I knew that UnLock Math was different. After talking to Jake to get his opinion, I signed him up for UnLock Pre-Algebra.

UnLock Math was created by a husband and wife team who were both homeschooled. Alesia, a seasoned math teacher, has a unique teaching style of breaking math into bite-sized chunks, making it easier to understand, interesting, engaging, and fun. She and her husband Matthew designed this online curriculum to take away the stress and frustration from parents.The program takes care of everything from the teaching to testing to grading. 

Here's what you can expect from the curriculum:
  • Teaching Videos
  • Advanced Assessment
  • Immediate Feedback and Fully Explained Solutions
  • One Visible Question at a Time
  • Unlimited Practice
  • Unlimited Review
  • Gradebook & Progress Reports 

We were on vacation when we received access to UnLock Math, so I simply filled out my information and that was it. I didn't required Jake to start the first lesson until we got home. A week later when he sat down to begin, we ran into a problem. He was not assigned to a course, and therefore had no access to any lessons. I checked all over the parent dashboard and could not figure out where the issue was. I sent Matthew an email to ask what I was doing wrong. Within minutes, my phone rang. He took the time (even while he was out enjoying the zoo with his family) to personally walk me through the setup. As it turns out, the problem was not with the program at all, but because I caused a rare glitch during my checkout process. He was extremely helpful and friendly. So, the customer service was great, but how was the actual program?

The lessons look very similar to the geometry image above. The student begins by clicking the Warm Up button where he answers 5-10 easy review questions. Next is the teaching video, followed by the practice problems. After that, he answers a few questions from previous lessons, so he "stays sharp" on the material. The final question, Challenge Yourself, gives the student a chance to answer one single advanced problem. The final tab includes reference notes, which lists the instructions from the lesson in a printable PDF.

Jake has been using this program for the past month or so and is earning a 99% average for UnLock Pre-Algebra. Not only does he complete his lesson every day with no complaints whatsoever, but he's grasping the information and thriving. He responds to the video lessons, not only because they're short, bite-sized chunks, but also because Alesia is a phenomenal teacher. She brings energy to her teaching and lets her love of the subject shine through.

The only aspect of the program that he would rather see different is that it won't keep him logged in. He keeps the tab open on the school computer, but it still kicks him out after a period of inactivity, requiring him to sign in each day. A big deal? No. But still a bit of an annoyance.  If he had the option to remain logged in, the program would be pretty much perfect for him.

I am incredibly happy with our experience thus far with UnLock Math. It's a quality program with exceptional teaching and great customer service. It's easy for both the student and parent to use and to review progress. Any curriculum that gets my son to complete his assignment on his own and with a good attitude on top of helping him to retain the information is a winner in my eyes.

You can connect with UnLock Math on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this level and the others offered by UnLock Math on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.
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