K5 Learning's online program. This program for grades K-5 has sections in K5 Reading, K5 Math, and K5 Spelling. It's a supplemental lesson program which is great as a homeschool resource or for public school students to use for practice or to prevent the summer slide that students sometimes experience. We school around the calendar, so we don't have to worry about summer slide, but I liked having the ability to use these kid friendly videos to reinforce other things we're learning.
These online lessons use Adobe Flash and generally only work on desktop, laptop, and chromebook.
Every day, when a punk logs in, he sees a Riddle of the Day. Something like:
Q. Where was the Queen of England
A. On her head!
They love these jokes. They're the kind of jokes that are right up this family's alley.
The very first thing we did was to take assessments. Assessments are provided for each section (Math and Reading). I had each of the boys take the assessment. I thought the results were pretty accurate, just by my own estimation. K5 Learning does not automatically place a child more than one grade away from their actual grade level. So, if you find that your child has work that is too easy (or too difficult), you can just zip off an email and they are very quick to make adjustments for you. You receive an email with the results, plus you can see them in the parent dashboard. Within the email, they attached handy links to the full website content in both areas. The chart was super helpful in comparing where they placed and seeing what I could expect them to be doing in the lessons that would be coming up. All pretty nifty.
The only assessment I felt did not really accurately reflect ability was Merrick's math. He is in kindergarten, so I sat with him to complete the assessment questions. Some of the questions were things I knew there was no way he knew or understood, but because it is multiple choice, he could mindlessly click the correct answer. And he did. Often. I was very surprised, actually. With that in mind, I ended up only having him work on the phonics lessons in the Reading section.
Each lesson consists of a video tutorial, practice sessions, and a quiz with optional worksheets to print. The lessons are not indepth, as K5 Learning isn't a full curriculum, but for practicing or a refresher, the instruction is quite good. After each section of the lesson, a crossing guard appears with a traffic light. Click the green light to continue on to the next segment or lesson, or click the red light to finish the session. It was all very hands off for me. The boys can just log in, using their personal account information, select the area they are working in, and the program starts where they left off. There are "games" to play between lesson sections. Sometimes, it really is game-like, but other times, the game is more practice. The games at Merrick's level are more play based and are great for helping with mouse and keyboard practice.
The printable worksheets are handy. An answer sheet is included with the worksheets. The reading comprehension worksheets that are available are a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction topics. There are also vocabulary, synonyms & antonyms, grammar, cursive writing, and spelling worksheets available. As you move through the lessons a list of related worksheets appears and you can choose the ones you'd like to print for extra pencil and paper practice.
The worksheets provided at any grade will correlate with the lessons being taught, so you may or may not see content in one LA level that you might want to cover with your children. If that's the case, there is also the option to assign *any lesson you want* from any grade. I chose to not assign topics, but to just let the punks move through the progressive lessons that the program found for them. I saw that 95% of the lessons available were included in this rotation of topics, so pretty much everything is covered.
K5 Math covers numbers and operations, measurement, and geometry for grades K-5. We didn't use this section much. I had Mal start with math and he did well enough, but he felt frustrated with the way the lessons are broken into sections. He wanted to be done when he was done, not have another practice/reinforcement game. The lessons open in a new window and this is what the beginning of a math lesson looks like. Just a quick overview of what they are about to learn.
The topics in K5 Reading are phonemes (K-1), phonics (K-4), vocabulary (K-5), sight words (K-3), and reading comprehension (K-5). Each section breaks down even more by grade related topics. Even so, I was very surprised by some of the words used in early 1st grade phonics that Merrick worked on. For instance, in the short i lesson, the word igloo seemed pretty typical, but imagination felt very out of place in a lesson for a beginning reader. There are a few atypical sounds and spellings in it. Xavier worked in this area a lot. A couple of times each week. I had to laugh because he and Mal are not assigned to the same levels, but he would listen in on Mal's lesson while he worked and then be disappointed that he didn't have reading comp on the same topic.
The K5 Spelling and vocabulary program were kind of fun. Spelling was (sort of) like a hangman game. You spell a word (either by hearing it or reading a definition) into a box. You can get a couple of letter clues to help you fill in the blanks. You might even be able to see a picture that represents the word. The K5 Learning program has words already in the system, or a parent can add in words. The new words you add are tested first, followed by words the student has missed, and then by words that are preselected. Missed words are repeated regularly until mastered.
|The student dashboard now reflects the added spelling content.|
We had a little trouble with some of the reading comprehension lessons. While one voice was giving instructions, another voice was simultaneously telling the punks how to proceed. With two voices talking at once, it was very difficult for them to process, so I had them ignore the screen until it was complete and then I verified that they understood how to proceed. Usually, it was pretty clear, like "read this section and answer the questions," so I didn't need to explain much.
From the parent dashboard, I can see how the boys have been progressing on their lessons. The summary tells me how many lessons are completed and what they scored on each one. I can also manage their passwords and assign work from my dashboard.
Monthly and annual subscriptions are available for up to four students per account. K5 Math, K5 Reading, and K5 Spelling are included in a subscription. Check out the free trial and access the free math and reading worksheets. You can also purchase reading and math workbooks from K5 Learning.
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