Thursday, March 01, 2012

What is K5 Learning?

Good question! I didn't know what K5 Learning was either until about five weeks ago. I was given a two-month trial to review the online learning program. Designed as an after-school study program to help children from kindergarten to grade 5, this program teaches math, reading, and spelling.

From the website:

K5 Reading helps kids become strong readers and develop a love of reading. This award-winning program covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program which improves language skills one word at a time. We feature adaptive instruction, automatic word generation, an optimized visual interface, and a 150,000+ word database.

K5 Math is an award-winning program which builds self confidence and a deep understanding of math concepts. K5 Math covers numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.

K5 Math Facts uses adaptive technology to help kids develop instant recall of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Progress on each and every math fact is monitored until mastery is obtained.

I had two of my children use this program at different levels and in different areas. We started with  K5 Reading. First, we logged into the program and set the grade levels for the children. If you don't know the reading level for your child, there is an online reading assessment you can take. It looks like this. Click to enlarge.

The dashboard (below - click to enlarge) is not too complicated. You can view reports of your child's progress, assign your child specific assignments and lessons, add special words to their spelling lesson they are having trouble with, and change the settings for spelling. There is a Help Center, a Worksheet Center, and a whole host of other helpful information to help your child suceed.  It is easy to have questions addressed by an exchange with the company via email if you get stuck.

Here is a sample of one of the reading screenshots. She is learning the "ar" sound here. The person reads the sentence to her (or she can read it herself) and then she clicks the correct word with the "ar" sound.

We found this a helpful program, but my daughter thought it was a little slow. If she could have picked up the pace, or if the program would have allowed her to click through once she had the answer without having to listen to the explanation again, she would enjoyed the program a little more. This isn't necessarily a negative - some people like a more easy-going review pace, but she was anxious to keep going. 

K5 Spelling was my personal favorite of all four. It is really simple yet works well. This video explains it so well that I am sharing it here. 

My daughter has a hard time with spelling and this focused on what she knew and built upon it. I loved this part of K5 Learning!

K5 Math is a great program. It is "...comprised of over 1,200 research-based tutorials and activities aimed at building your child’s understanding, confidence and success in math. The program is based on national instructional guidelines and on best practices employed by teachers and math specialists." 

When you load the appropriate level, and click the start button, you are immediately brought to a screen that tells you the learning objectives for that lesson. It looks like this:

Then, once the lesson loads, the screen for learning comes up. The narrator tells your child what to do and your child figures out the lesson after the instructions.

The program is colorful and interesting and certainly keeps the attention of the child. This is another example of how they teach the concepts. I am a big proponent of place value so I appreciate that they show this way of learning to the children. 

Here is a sample of the learning objectives for a higher level.

This is a screenshot of part of how it works.

One of my daughters really loved this way of learning as all she has ever used is textbooks. This was entirely new to her and she liked the way it worked for her. I think she would choose it for her forever program if she could do so!

K5 Math Facts is the last area of K5 Learning that we explored. This does exactly what it says it does--teaches the math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This is what it looks like from the student's perspective. It begins with an explanation of the facts being learned like this:

Then your child practices them:

As you can see, they are colorful and interesting. Dare I say... fun? You can set the speed for your child too.

Pricing for K5 Learning are as follows:

Monthly Subscription:
First Child....................$25.00
Additional Children.....$15.00

Annual Subscription:
First Child....................$199.00
Additional Children.....$129.00

A two week free trial is available so you can see if this style of learning fits your family. The trial includes free reading and math assessments, the two weeks of free lessons, no future obligtations, and you don't have to enter a credit card to check it out. 

One of the neat aspects of this program is the multi-cultural aspect it has throughout all the learning screens. You will meet people of all shapes and sizes as well as colors. I liked that.

It helps to see what things look like. You can see some sample lessons at that link. K5 Learning is a solid, interesting, and educational program for your K-5 child. If there are areas in which your child needs a little help, I suggest you check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised at how well it works for you.

See what the other Crew members thought about it here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine. 

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