escapade: n. a piece of daring or reckless behaviour. How many times have you been labelled as mad or reckless because you homeschool?
Well I say its time to break down those notions - Bring on the Madness !
I must admit to being sceptical when we were first offered this item for review - after all we don't work to the US grade system here and math is one of Sunflowers favourite subjects while Lilly will do it without too much complaining. However their reaction to this surprised me .
Aleks - Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces - is a Web-based, intelligent assessment and learning system.
When you first log on you take an assessmentof approx 30 questions. Each of the assessment questions is unique as each question is based on your previous answer. After the the assessment you are presented with a pie chart showing which areas you have mastered and which need more work.
Each session begins with a quick review followed by the Pie Chart which allows you to keep track of your progress. The darker shading shows what you have completed and the lighter shading shows more work needed. You then select what you wish to practise/study each day. If you are tackling a subject you don't know, they provide an explanation of the topic and a series of questions to test your understanding and if you go wrong they show the correct working out.
There is also a Quicktabs screen when you can drill in the basics.
Aleks courses are available for grades 3-12 and subscriptions are available from $19.95 a month ($99.95 for 6 months or $179.95 for 12 months). Discounts are available for more than one user.They do offer a 2 month free trial.
I liked the idea that I could check on my child’s progress at any time as well as having reports emailed to me (it was wonderful seeing Lilly submit 3.5 hours of additional math work in one week).
While I think Aleks is very good, I did find I often had to interpret their explanations for a new topic and a certain speed is required on the keyboard which Sunflower struggled with initially.
Some of the processes are difficult to use (like drawing points or shading a graph) but overall a pleasant experience. Lilly loved this product and would willing use it every day while Sunflower liked it but was less excited, probably more due to her lack of computer skills.
You can read what the other crew members thought over at TOS Crew Blog
Disclaimer I was provided with a free trail so I could give an open and honest review of the product.
Lilly and Sunflower have explored the workings of a wheel and axle using our simple machines set and an umbrella - the umbrella is the wheel and the handle is the axle, neither can turn without the other and its a great way to explore how turning the wheel or turning the axle differ.
They finished their lines work by making a reference poster using matchsticks,
and making valentines gifts (I keep insisting this cupcake should be for me ).
Used their animal research time to discover the species of snail living in our pond.
They have also used the snow as an excuse to run numerous ice experiments including - how to melt ice fastest, does coloured ice spread it colour, what supports the biggest icicle and how thick does pond ice get.
KinderBach is an Internet (or DVD) piano program that uses cartoon characters to teach children. Weekly lessons are divided into 4 short sessions per week combined with activities, colouring pages, games and worksheets to provide a multi sensory approach. It's designed so that even parents with no musical abilities can teach their children.
KinderBach uses its fun characters to teach notes, rhythm, singing, theory and composition.This is designed so children can either work alongside you or independently.
Although it is recommended for ages 3 -7 Sunflower (7) didn't find it challenging enough (although I did catch her singing a few of the songs), Rose (3) and Tulip (5) loved it and wanted to do multiple lessons each day. I think for any children who haven't had an introduction to music this is a fun, interactive way to introduce musical concepts and skills, it would provide some good revision for experienced children. I loved the multi-sensory approach and found the lessons to be stimulating - the younger girls would often talk about it for days afterwards. I also like that I could use it for multiple children and not have to pay for multiple access.
Kinderbach is available for a yearly fee of $95.88 (payable in twelve monthly instalments of $19.99) or you can buy day passes for $5.95. DVDs are available from $40.45. They offer a 2 week free trial here and they have a 30 day money back guarantee.