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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Thinkwell

Thinkwell  offers online math courses for 6th to 8th Grade Math (6th Grade to Pre-Algebra including Essentials and Honors) and High School Math  (Algebra to Calculus including Essentials and Honors.)  For the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review 8th Grade Math (PREALGEBRA) from Thinkwell.

Thinkwell's courses included online videos, exercises, quizzes, and tests along with printable notes and worksheets for students.  You can choose to pick and choose areas that your child needs to work on or follow the lesson plans for a full course.   Each lesson contains several short videos with step by step explanations that can viewed and reviewed as many times as the students needs.  Online exercises for the student to complete gives step by step answers and printable exercises have step by step answer keys.  You can choose to print the worksheets from the course website or purchase the entire set of worksheets separately.  Online quizzes and tests also give step by step answers and grades for quizzes and tests are recorded in the course.  Subscriptions are for 12 months but can be extended by 1,3, or 6 months.  Placement tests are available.

I have been using the 8th Grade Math course (PREALGEBRA) with my 14 year old 8th grader.  We had been using another online math course but were looking for something new when this review came up.  One of my main reasons for using online math classes is so that I do not have to teach and that my students can complete the work independently.  With our previous course we discovered that while the answers were given to each question, they were not given step by step.  Every time my son got something wrong and wasn't sure why he got it wrong I would have to go back and work the problems out myself to help him figure out what he was doing wrong.  This was adding time to my school day and making him wait for me to be available to help him instead of working at his own schedule.  I was VERY excited to see that Thinkwell shows answers to every single problem step by step.  This had made a huge difference in our homeschool!

How does a lesson work?

Anthony logs in to the website.  There is no separate log in for students and teachers, it's all the same, and clicks on go to course.  Then the main page pops up.

You click on the chapter you are working on.

Then the subtopic.

All of the coursework will be on that page (except quizzes and tests those are in the assessment section.)  You can print notes, watch the videos, complete the online exercises and Interactive activity and print the topic worksheet.  When Anthony is working if he understands the topic and gets all of the online exercises correct he does not do the printed worksheet, but if he needs a little more practice he does the printed worksheet and checks it with the answer key.

What did we think?

We love the video instruction.  The teacher is funny and interesting and the videos are a good length.  He does a great job of using visual examples and showing how to do everything step by step.

I love the combination of online and printable exercises.  You can choose what works best for your child or to do both if extra practice is needed.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that everything is worked out step by step.  This is so important especially as students move into upper levels of math.

The  daily work and quizzes and tests have a good amount of problems.  There are enough questions to give the students enough practice but not too many that they are overwhelmed. 

I like that the grades for the quizzes and tests are stored.

The biggest pro?  Anthony understands it.  He is doing very well with his lessons and understanding why he misses something when he gets it wrong.

What Would I Change?

A few picky little things.  The log in is just a bit awkward to me.  I wish there was a separate student log in that would take them right where they left off and a parent log in for the answer keys and grades and check lists.

For some reason it only shows that he completes the first video even though he always watches all of them in a lesson.

I wish the grades were stored for all the online work including the online exercises.

I wish the quizzes and tests were in the same area as the coursework instead of a separate spot.  We almost missed the first one but thankfully I had read the lesson plan that day (he doesn't usually just goes to what is next.)

Overall I think Thinkwell is an outstanding math course!  I wish we had started with it this year instead of the course we did start with.  We will definitely be using it for the rest of the year!! I have reviewed several online math programs over the years and this is my favorite for middle school and up.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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