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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: UnLock Math

UnLock Math

Math is one of those subjects in this house.  A few of my children have found math to be very easy.  Others have found it incredibly challenging, and a few of the children just plain struggle with math.  I was looking for a new math curriculum for my 13 year old son and was excited to have an opportunity to use and review UnLock Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math.

UnLock Math pre-algebra
UnLock Math is an online math curriculum that is accessed through a web browser.  Once your child logs in, they are taken to their dashboard which shows the list of lessons in their course, their progress, their average, and their unit progress. They can also access a grade book and course progress report from the dashboard.  As the student completes each unit the symbol beside the unit changes from a purple locked button to a blue unlocked button.  Each of the lessons follows a similar format starting with a warm up, followed by a video lesson, practice problems, stay sharp questions, and a challenge question.  They are also able to print out the reference notes for each lesson.

UnLock Math courses are graded automatically.  The warm up exercises do not count as part of the grade.  Practice problems count for 30 % of the grade and students can redo those.  The best grade is recorded. Stay Sharp questions are worth 10%. Challenge Questions give students a 5 % bonus if they get them correct but do not count against them if they are incorrect.  Quizzes count as 15 % and also can be redone if needed. Unit Tests count as 30 % and also can be taken more then once.  The Mid-Term is worth 5% and the final exam is worth 10 %.  They also can be taken multiple times.

Subscriptions for UnLock Math cost $49 a month or $299 per year.  They offer a 50 % discount for siblings.  UnLock Math offers courses in Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry.  Pre-Calculus is set to release in 2018 and Calculus in 2019.   There is a demo lesson you can view to see how the course works.

UnLock Pre-Algebra has 15 units:

Whole Numbers
Variables and Expressions
Rational Numbers
The Coordinate Plane
2D Geometry
3D Geometry
Analyzing Data
Probability and Statistics

Each lesson takes around 30 minutes to complete. If you follow the suggested pacing guide, the course can be completed in 159 days which is 32 weeks if you follow a 5 day a week schedule or 40 weeks if you follow a 4 day a week schedule.

Here is a screen shot of part of Alex's dashboard. This is what he sees when he logs in. 

You click on the rocket of the unit you are working on and that takes you to this page.  The lessons get unlocked as they are completed.  All of the lessons are on the lest side of the page and the quizzes and test are on the right side of the page.

Once you click on your lesson you are taken to this page.  All they have to do is follow the path for each lesson. 

When they are working on the problems, only one problem is shown on the screen at a time.

The Gradebook reports show what day and time students completed a lesson, how long they spent on each part of the lesson, how many questions in the section and how many were correct. You also have the ability to click on the details button and see what each question was, how your student responded, and the detailed explanations.

I used the same math curriculum for many years, and it worked well for my two oldest children, but not so well for the others. So last year I made a change.  Alex wanted something that was on the computer.  He is a visual and kinesthetic learner.  We chose a popular computer math program and I did not go well.  He was frustrated with it every day and it took him forever to complete his math assignments.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to try UnLock Pre-Algebra. 

I love the way the course is laid out.  It is very easy to see what you have done and how you are doing as you progress through the course.  I love the way the lessons are laid out.  Constant review is built in to the lessons.  The lessons videos are wonderful.  The instructor, Alesia Blackwood, is very enthusiastic about what she is teaching, and it shows.  I love that you see the instructor and that she is working out actual problems on a whiteboard while she is teaching.  She uses a lot of real life examples and visuals (like a number line) in her examples.  When the student is working on the problems, there is only one problem at a time on the screen.  This enables them to focus just on that problem and not worry about what it ahead.  The screen is free of distractions.  If the student gets an answer incorrect, they can see a detailed step by step explanation of the problem so they know what they did wrong and how to do it correctly the next time.

As a busy homeschool mom, I love that not only the teaching is done by someone else, but I do not have to grade a thing!  That is one thing I am not always great at and if you get behind in looking over your child's math and they are doing something wrong, they now have to unlearn what they have been doing wrong.  I love that UnLock Math takes care of that for me automatically and that I can see very quickly what has been completed and exactly what he got right and wrong. 

I had one problem with a technical issue during the course of this review, and I sent an email to ask about it.  Within 24 hours I received a response and a solution was soon to follow.  Good customer service is very important when using an online course.

UnLock Math wants your child to be successful in math!  I have been very impressed with this course!

Members of The Crew reviewed all of the current available levels of UnLock Math.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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