As a homeschool mom, math is an area I feel ill-equipped to teach. Higher level math is just not my thing and so when offered the chance to review UnLock Math I did not hesitate. We chose to use UnLock Pre-Algebra with our 9th grader, as a way to reinforce what he should already know going into Algebra I and as a way to catch any weak areas he may have. As we get ready to close out our school year, I take a look at the progress we’ve made over the past year, looking for gaps and weaknesses my children may have. This program seemed like an excellent way to evaluate.
In this online PreAlgebra course there are 16 units, with a final review and test. Each unit will take from 7 to 14 days, depending on subject manner. A pacing guide is available for download to help you plan out your school year – you can easily complete the entire PreAlgebra program in one school year when student completes 4 or 5 lessons a week.
To work a lesson, my son logs in to his account, clicks on the appropriate lesson and does a warm up problem. Then he watches the video lecture that goes with the lesson (usually lasts less than 10 minutes), followed by practice problems to reinforce the concept taught in that lesson. This is followed by the Stay Sharp problems, which review the concepts already learned.
His favorite part? The Challenge Yourself question! This is optional, but recommended. Kids love to find out they know more than they thought they knew! And finally there are notes available, as needed. Once he clicks over the finish line his scores are recorded and percentage is figured. Automatically! Easy peasy!
The units cover a full range of concepts that review what student should already know and anything needed to prepare for a full Algebra I course. They include whole and rational numbers and integers, variables and expressions, equations, fractions and decimals, polynomials . . . well, you get the idea. You can see the full list of lesson here.
Because this material is mostly a review for Gabe, he often works more than one lesson in a sitting. He’ moving into Algebra anyway, but this program is reinforcing what he already knows and gives him confidence to move on ahead. The feedback given has been a great bonus – getting the visual scores and charts helps the student (and the parent) see clearly how things are going.
The grade reports are accessible to both the parent and student. They are clear and easy to understand. I found it to be a good indicator for whether my son was understanding the material or whether he needed extra practice – in the beginning I figured out he was hurrying and not fully understanding how to properly enter his answers.
Along the way the student takes a quiz (every 2 or 3 lessons) which helps to keep him focused. If they know a quiz is coming, will be graded and recorded, they are more likely to pay close attention! Mid-Term and Final Exams are also given.
Our biggest challenge has been when Gabe knew the correct answer but entered it in a form they system did not like. The thing with math is there are a variety of ways to write equations and when you are working with a digital program, you must enter data the way that particular program recognizes it. The staff at UnLock Math is great about answering questions and has been helpful and getting to the root of the problem anytime this may have occurred. Their support system is terrific, you can email them directly or use the chat feature.
All in all, I’ve been impressed. My student enjoys it and is gaining good things from it. I believe it is the best option for an online math course we’ve seen yet. Because the course of study my kids use for higher level math does not have a separate geometry course, I expect we will be signing up our high school students for the UnLock Geometry course. It can be a stand alone program or a supplement. Even a summer resource for those who need additional work. Love it when I find others to do what I don’t want to do – hooray! You’ll also find UnLock Algebra1, UnLock Algebra2 courses available from UnLock Math, with UnLock Pre-Calculus coming soon.
Find out what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about a variety of courses offered by UnLock Math – just click on the image below!