Goodness. I do not know where the time has gone, but it has flown by fast. I now have a middle school teenager who is taking pre-algebra classes. What happened to just addition and subtraction? Having a middle school student is why I was looking forward to the opportunity of River reviewing UnLock Pre-Algebra, which is for middle school through high school students.
I will admit, I have been trying not to have my children working on too many online resources for school, but after watching this video, I decided online for this subject may not be too bad. I really like Alesia Blackwood’s gentle presentation of the subject and every once in a while, she makes you laugh in the videos. I mean that in a good way. Yes, math is a serious subject, but it can also be fun.
Using UnLock Pre-Algebra was quite simple; log on and go. I gave River his access information and he was able to work through the lessons independently. I had River work through one lesson a day after he completed his other general math. Since the UnLock Math lessons are not really long and are varied in exercises, it was a nice addition to his school day. There was no groaning when I told him he had an UnLock Math lesson to complete.
There are 16 units with daily lessons and review, as well as quizzes and tests. The lessons take River about 20 to 25 minutes to complete and are thorough. The program has a well-organized plan for each lesson that follows this schedule: a Warm-Up (review); watch a video; Practice Problems; Stay Sharp; Challenge Yourself and reference notes.
River likes the Practice Problems that question him regarding the instruction from the video and the Challenge Yourself, which is a “big” question based on the instruction. He thought the questions were challenging; he loves to be challenged and it made him concentrate more on understanding the material, so he could get the answer right.
The reference notes at the end of each lesson provide a handy print-and-go review sheet for the student of what was covered in the lesson. It can also be viewed online, but I printed these after River completed his lessons and he looked over the notes as needed. I also had him review the unit reference notes before he took his final test for a unit.
As I said, I let River work through his lessons independently. Occasionally, I would check in on him, but the program flows well. I know Internet companies and connections are usually the cause, but he never had any problem with the program shutting down on him or loss of data.
I had an instance where I needed assistance from customer service (I missed something that was labeled – oh well). The response was immediate and efficient. I hope that continues as the company grows.
Although River has completed some pre-algebra work, it is not necessary for a child to know anything about algebra before beginning the program. As a parent, you also do not have to know (or remember pre-algebra), because Alesia does all of the teaching.
I really like the challenge the student is presented in the work and the fact it does not take him hours to complete a lesson. The variety of exercises also makes learning fun. Having access, for the student and parent, to student progress is also helpful and can motivating for a student as he works through the material. I was able to easily see the answers he submitted to the questions and where, if at all, he needed more practice.
Alesia Blackwood is a mother of three and was homeschooled (her husband is a homeschool graduate) until she returned to public school during high school graduate and mother of three. I love it when homeschool moms get it and create something that is really of value for homeschool parents. Along with her personal qualifications, she is certified through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to teach middle to high school mathematics and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers where she is certified in Intermediate and Senior Divisions Mathematics and Computer Science. Academically, she knows math. In UnLock Math, I see a program created by someone who loves the subject they teach and cares about the student learning the subject (ex: the time it took to create brief, but thorough videos that teach, and the way the lessons flow).
UnLock Pre-Algebra has already been added to River’s education plan for the new school year. He is making progress through the material and I think he likes the sense of independence he is able to experience working through the material alone.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
UnLock Pre-Algebra is available for $299 for one year of access or monthly for $49, for one student.
You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members.