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ALEKS Math: Reviews?


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#1 Twinmom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:04 AM

I am considering this program for my three boys, who currently use Singapore. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not the best math teacher in the world...not being hard on myself here, but it is true! I'd love a way to make teaching math easier on all of us and more fun for my kids.

I have adopted a sib group of three "mathy" boys, one of whom has a very high IQ and the other two of whom have sensory processing disorder, dyspraxia, an APD and trouble focusing. They do, however, get glued to a computer! So, from what I've looked at on the site, ALEKS seems like a good choice. I love the fact that it targets individual learning paths and identifies and addresses individual deficits. My kids are so divergent in abilities that teaching them together is a bit hopeless...even for the twins. So, this seems like it would both hold their attention and meet their individual needs.

So, has anyone used it? What did you think? Good points and bad points, please!

#2 Twinmom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:05 PM

Anyone? Anyone? :bigear:

#3 pfamilygal

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:01 PM

Have you looked at Teaching Textbooks? My daughter went straight from Singapore 2A to TT3 and is rocking it. It grades your lessons for you, and will read all the stuff outloud (great for my dyslexic kid). Plus, once you buy it you can use it with multiple kids.

#4 Bloggermom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:13 PM

I've used both Aleks and Math Whizz and I must say both the kids and I think that Math Whizz is so much better! www.whizz.us
(You can get Math Whizz at a discount through the Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op)

#5 Elizabeth in WA

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:51 PM

I love ALEKS, but it is not enough practice or instruction on its own for my youngest son or (even younger) daughter. I have no problems teaching math lessons on the fly or printing additional worksheets which you can find free on the internet or use Math Mammoth Blue or Gold series for. My older two can generally use the Explain button to figure things out on their own, although they also use other programs.

ALEKS is great for immediate feedback, some freedom in choosing what to work on, and frequent reassessment. In elementary, you can use it along with free resources and ad hoc instruction to create a complete program. (If providing ad hoc instruction, I'd suggest reading Liping Ma's Knowing and Teaching Elementary Math.) In high school, you could use it the same way for get 'er done math, or with more conceptual instruction and higher level problem solving as insurance that they can actually do the math. By using it with all my kids, I feel comfortable allowing them to self-grade their other math work. In essence, the program keeps them honest about what math they can actually solve on their own and saves me from having to grade endless math papers, which results in endless guilt about being behind in doing that. Self-grading without ALEKS resulted in my kids significantly overestimating their actual math skill since they "understood what they had done wrong" and could fix it when they graded.

#6 aliya

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:00 PM

We used Aleks, and it was great for a while. Then I realized that according the Aleks, certain topics were marked as "mastered", while in reality, my ds was not even close to mastering the topic. After using it for over a year (3rd and part of 4th), we switched to CLE math, and ds had to backtrack a bit to fill in the gaps that occurred using Aleks.

My two cents - I think Aleks is great as a suppliment (if you can afford it) but not as a primary curriculum.

Edited by aliya, 20 April 2011 - 05:02 PM.


#7 Twinmom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:32 PM

Thanks, everyone. It sounds like ALEK is better as a supplemental program rather than a full curriculum. Funny, as they seem to market themselves as a complete, stand-alone program! That's why I asked the Hive...on the ground users can provide so much better information!

My DS9 is the type who needs little practice, gets things in a flash, yet needs accountability as he'll fly through things without mastery if I'm not paying attention. ALEK may be a good program for him, as long as I can keep up Singapore or supplement in another form. He's a little brainiac but the absent-minded professor kind of kid, so I love things that will help him stay accountable! For the twins, this does not sound like the right program. Hmmph.

Anyone with more information, please post! I'd love as much feedback as possible since the program is pricey! Thanks for the tips on mathwhiz and TT as well...I've not looked at those yet.

Edited by Twinmom, 20 April 2011 - 05:34 PM.


#8 anneofalamo

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:45 PM

We also use ALEKs as a supplement along with Math U see,
two in epsilon
one in zeta
and then my high schooler uses it with Teaching Textbooks, Geometry

all 4 said they like the 30 minutes they do extra of ALEKS, because we just did our State testing and it is worded like the exams. Was helpful in that area also!

Getting the computer times situated was an adjustment, but we love ALEKs, and they will continue their 30 minutes through the summer! :D

#9 RanchGirl

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:10 PM

We did the recent trial offer of Aleks and it just ended. This was my first experience with it. The boys both quickly caught on to how the program worked and enjoyed working on it. They didn't need a lot of help from me, with only an occasional question. There are good explanations in the program. No bugs that we noticed, and the assessments/reports I received were helpful.

Although my kids really liked it, I am still undecided as to whether my youngest will go back to it (eldest will be starting a local class so it's not an option for him). IMO, I would only use it as a standalone program for a child who is both gifted and very interested in math, and doesn't need a lot of repetition. My oldest (11) was quite happy doing those two together, although he preferred Khan to aleks. He's in the in between pre-algebra and algebra 1 phase right now. He loves the awards you can earn on Khan and leaving comments for other kids. He is also doing other things in problem solving (a workbook and an AoPS class), and waiting for his algebra 1 class to begin in the fall, so I wasn't super concerned about his work in aleks either way.

My youngest (9) really liked aleks, he was very excited to do an online program as he hates workbooks, and he zoomed through two grade levels much faster than I expected. He also just finished up Life of Fred Fractions. Now I am having him go through the Horizons tests and exams for those same grade levels to make sure he really knows all those concepts, then he'll start LoF Decimals and we'll do either Aleks or EPGY math in the fall.

If your 9 year old is the one with a very high iq, and he learns without repetition, and he is very self-motivated to pursue math knowledge, Aleks plus Khan academy might be a good combo. (Or Khan plus anything, it's really fabulous!)

With your 7 year olds, I would consider aleks plus lots of games, like the rightstart math games, cuisinaire rods activities, fraction tower, etc. Both my kids did that kind of thing up through 4th grade level math and it really helped give them a good knowledge base. Plus the games and manipulatives are so much more interesting to them than workbooks!

I hope some of this rambling is helpful to you!

#10 Twinmom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:59 PM

Wow, Khan Academy looks great! I've not heard of them before today...what a great resource, and free! Thanks so much.

Keep the feedback coming...I'm learning a lot! :D

#11 RanchGirl

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:48 PM

Wow, Khan Academy looks great! I've not heard of them before today...what a great resource, and free! Thanks so much.


You're welcome, and so true, it's hard to believe such a great resource is free! I love that the kids can go at their own pace and I have been suprirsed at how motivating the little awards are. Fyi, you can set yourself up as a 'coach' to review your child's progress (rather than going in through your child's account as I did at the beginning).

#12 BlessedMom

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:54 PM

It looks like you can try ALEKS for a 2 month free trial here:

http://www.aleks.com/webform/hsm_203

I haven't tried it yet, hope it works for you.

#13 Twinmom

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 01:19 PM

Thanks for the link!


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