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ALEKS math online. Supplement or full course?


klmama
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We use Saxon and for a treat the kids love to do their facts on aleks. I don't feel Aleks gives enough instruction for those who have difficulty with math. Since the kids have their regular lesson on Saxon they are better able to understand what to do on Aleks. For us it is a fun way for them to review and have additional practice on something that might be difficult. My kids are Saxon age 9 in 6/5 and age 11 in Saxon 8/7.

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It depends- if you are confident in teaching math, it is a full course. It is quite rigorous, IMO. But the explanations are not "self-teaching" at ALL, unless it is for review of material previously learned. Well, maybe for a few kids, but not for mine!

 

My oldest loves it, because she can pick what to work on, and watch her pie chart fill in. Also, doing it on the computer saves her the writing, though she does work most things on scratch paper. I can't say we'll use it forever, but for this year, its been a life saver as Saxon 5/4 was a disaster with her!

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In my math-teacher opinion, it is not a stand alone course. I think it is an awesome supplement, though. Here are a couple reasons why I don't think it is rigorous enough for a stand alone.

1. The teaching is not super strong if you are not a math person. It presents one way to do things, and doesn't always explain why you go from each step to the next. It is fine, if you already understand math.

2. There is very little mathematical thinking required. Most of the problems tend to be procedural (memorize how to do the problems and do them) rather than critical thinking (analyzing what you need to do in the problem and doing it).

3. The problems are all worded exactly the same way, so once you see a problem you don't even really have to analyze whether you need to change something around, you can just work it out.

 

I have used ALEKS with many, many students and the ones who do best with it are students who are a bit internally motivated. Because there is no "lesson", some kids will spend an hour and not have made that much progress. So, it is good to set up how much you want your student to do in a day.

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I think Mindy does a good job of explaining what works with ALEKS--after reading some of her previous posts, I've decided to stop using it as a stand alone course.

 

That being said, my daughter has blossomed in math this last year using only ALEKS. She's in 5th grade, but is getting ready to start level 7 in ALEKS. We're moving to pre-algebra, and I chose a text that is integrated with ALEKS. I think she was a bit behind because we were using the wrong level in Saxon the year before.

 

What made ALEKS so successful for her is that (1) she is intrinsically motivated, and (2) she is a very quick learner, and 95% of the time understands the ALEKS explanations. I feel totally confident that she is ready to start pre-algebra.

 

ALEKS would not work well for 2 of my kids except as a supplement, has worked well with dd, and I think it will work well for 7yo ds when he is a bit older.

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I think Mindy does a good job of explaining what works with ALEKS--after reading some of her previous posts, I've decided to stop using it as a stand alone course.

 

That being said, my daughter has blossomed in math this last year using only ALEKS. She's in 5th grade, but is getting ready to start level 7 in ALEKS. We're moving to pre-algebra, and I chose a text that is integrated with ALEKS. I think she was a bit behind because we were using the wrong level in Saxon the year before.

 

What made ALEKS so successful for her is that (1) she is intrinsically motivated, and (2) she is a very quick learner, and 95% of the time understands the ALEKS explanations. I feel totally confident that she is ready to start pre-algebra.

 

ALEKS would not work well for 2 of my kids except as a supplement, has worked well with dd, and I think it will work well for 7yo ds when he is a bit older.

 

I should ammend my post to say ALEKS isn't necessarily a good long-term stand alone program. Because you are right, sometimes kids need to get a good foundation in the basics in order to use them for higher level mathematical thinking. Thanks for pointing that out.

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My sister unexpectedly moved here in Nov. (we are working on getting custody) and since I was at a loss of stuff to get her to do now, we picked ALEKS for math.

 

She finished the 6th grade level a few months ago, and I think she learned very little.

 

I agree with WTMindy points, I didn't mind the first so much, I could usually explain it in a way she could understand, but number 2 and 3 are right on. I would also add that with out having to write answers or even actually punch them in on a calculator, I felt like the little act of clicking with a mouse didn't get her mind or body nearly as involved as actually writing out problems.

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