What is it?
UnLock Pre-Algebra is a complete online homeschool math course taught by Alesia Blackwood, a former math teacher and fellow homeschool mom. We have used other math curriculum's in the past that use a video to teach but we have to say that the way Alesia teaches has been by far the most engaging, easy to understand teacher we've worked with for math! You don't just hear her voice for the lessons but you actually see her as she demonstrates problems on a white board! She does all the work for you in not only teaching pre-algebra in a way that makes sense, but lesson plans are already laid out and the grading & record keeping is taken care of for you right online. I LOVE curriculum that makes my busy life simpler.
There are 16 units with each unit containing a variety of lessons & quizzes as well as a midterm quiz and final exam.
How does it work?
Once the student logs in, they are brought to their dashboard that shows the list of lessons (and which ones they've completed), their average grade, a link to check out their gradebook as well as progress report. If you aren't sure how long your child should take on each lesson/unit, there is a pacing guide that you can download that tells you approximately how many days they should spend on each. I felt this was a great idea and lets me know if my son was on target or needed some extra help.
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Once the student clicks on which unit they are on, it takes them into a page that lists all the lessons for that unit and shows which ones they have complete. Upon selecting the next lesson, they are set to begin that days lessons which starts out with a warm up session of 5 math problems. Once those are complete, they move on to watch the math video. Alesia teaches each concept in small, easy to understand pieces so it isn't overwhelming. The videos vary in length, from what I've seen 3-10 minutes each.
After the video, the student then completes about 10 practice problems that goes over what they just learned in this lesson. These problems are automatically graded. If the student needs more practice, the program automatically generates new problems for them to complete (how cool is that!!) The other awesome feature that I adore about this program is the fact that after the student completes the practice problems, they can they get an explanation on each problem which especially comes in handy if they got one wrong. Many other programs just show the student WHAT they got wrong and not WHY it was wrong and how to do it correctly. I think this is huge in helping a student understand the concepts.
Next the student moves onto the stay sharp section which reviews concepts they learned about in previous lessons. This helps them retain what they have already learned.
Finally they end with the challenge yourself section which is a way to earn extra credit. To wrap it all up, you then have the ability to print out the reference notes for the lesson. The notes go over what they learned in the lesson as well as new vocabulary they might have learned. If you print this off, it would be best to put them in a notebook so your child could reference them in future lessons if they need help with something they previously learned.
As if this curriculum in itself isn't already great, their customer support deserves a huge mention as well. You can have a wonderful program but if you find yourself needing help, where can you turn to? Let's just say Matthew (Alesia's husband) is wonderful to communicate with by email and even though we (so far) haven't needed Alesia's help, he has assured us if at any point we need help, Alesia is there for us through either email or phone support! That to me speaks volumes knowing I have a math teacher ready to step in if we need the extra support.
UnLock Pre-Algebra is a well thought out online math program that covers everything I would want in a math curriculum. My son typically would've waited another year before starting pre-algebra but because of how well this program dissected the concepts, he plans to complete the program this year for his math curriculum. He averaged completing 1 lesson a day during the review period. I would love to see Alesia eventually role out other levels in math down the road!
If this program sounds like something that would work with your family, feel free to use this link to save $50 on purchasing UnLock Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1.
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