Math is one of those subjects for which we’ve never really settled on one specific curriculum that is “it” for us in the early grades. We have something that’s working great for the older kids but have tried out multiple different programs and methods in the younger years.
For the last month or so, Peanut (6) and I have been working through an online math program called A+ Interactive MATH. A+ Tutorsoft, Inc. offers both online and CD-ROM interactive courses for first through sixth grade, plus Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. Both versions come with recommended lesson plans, multimedia lessons including interactive quizzes, printable worksheets and exams, curriculum and solutions guide, and more. The online program additionally offers online grading and tracking.
We’re using the 1st grade online homeschool edition, which consists of 14 units with from 4-12 lessons for each unit. Units for 1st grade include:
- Counting Numbers
- Number Sense
- Comparing and Ordering Numbers
- Addition – Part 1
- Addition – Part 2
- Subtraction – Part 1
- Subtraction – Part 2
Each multimedia lesson is followed by a short interactive quiz covering the concepts taught in the lesson. The quiz gives the student immediate feedback and helps determine if they grasped the lesson well. If not, they’re encouraged to go back and watch the lesson again. Each lesson has a corresponding worksheet that can be printed out to complete, or can be completed online. At the end of each unit is an exam that works the same way: it can be either printed or completed online.
The layout is fairly simple to navigate. There are tabs across the top of the student’s (and teacher’s) “dashboard” for:
- Multimedia content
- Recommended lesson plans
- Printable versions of the worksheets and exams (this section also contains a printable reference sheet…for example, for first grade it contains a hundreds chart and other information that will be handy during the lessons)
- Ebooks (including a curriculum guide, which is essentially all the lessons in written/textbook form, and solutions guides)
- Online versions of the worksheets, exams, and placement tests
- Progress tracking
- A help section
Even though it’s fairly late in the school year, I went ahead and began Peanut (6) at the very start of the 1st grade program. Our usual routine is to work through the multimedia lesson and interactive quiz, and if time allows, follow up with the corresponding worksheet online. Some days when time is short, we only do the interactive portion and come back to the worksheet the next day. I’d say an entire lesson, both multimedia and worksheet, probably takes us 20 to 30 minutes.
The first unit, which we recently wrapped up, covers counting to 100, familiarity with number lines and the hundreds chart, and reverse and skip counting. Most of this has been review for Peanut, but it’s been great reinforcement, and presented some of the concepts from a new angle. Now, in the second unit, we’ve covered even and odd numbers, place value, and are learning about zero.
She loves getting to do her math on the computer like her older siblings, and really enjoys the lessons. In fact, most days she asks when we’re going to do math! The format is definitely not something that she’s able to navigate by herself, although I think an older student would easily get the hang of it. I start each multimedia lesson for her, and then when it finishes, go to the worksheets tab and find the corresponding worksheet for her. I usually just sit with her through the entire lesson to help her navigate.
|A screenshot from an interactive quiz|
|A correct answer on the interactive quiz!|
I’m really impressed with the content! I appreciate all that’s provided, and the option to do everything on the computer or print things out according to your preferences and needs. I like the way the concepts are presented and I think the visual, multimedia presentation really helps solidify them. Not to mention, the interactive quiz gives an immediate gauge of how well the material was grasped! The layout isn’t flashy with a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s clear and easy to navigate (although, as I mentioned, younger students will more than likely need some assistance).
One small annoyance for me has been that it doesn’t automatically take you back to where you left off in the multimedia lessons. You must remember which lesson you were on and click on the appropriate one in the menu. There’s nothing to distinguish which lessons have been completed and which haven’t. On the other hand, under the worksheets tab, only the worksheets not yet completed show in the main list. Several times, after a weekend or day off, I’ve found myself checking under the worksheet tab to refresh my memory on which multimedia lesson we left off with. This little quibble is definitely not a deal-breaker for us, though. I’m overall very pleased with the curriculum and plan to continue using it with Peanut!
If you’re in the market for a good, solid, interactive, computer-based math program, A+ Interactive MATH is worth a look! You can check out the full online homeschool edition FREE for a month to see what you think!
The CD versions of A+ Interactive MATH are available for $99.99 to $129.99 per grade level, while the online homeschool edition (which is what we’re using) costs $19.95/month, $49.99/quarter, or $124.99/year for one student and one parent.
AND…A+ Tutorsoft has generously offered a special promotion through the end of MARCH for 50% OFF!! Use coupon code SPOFFER50 to take advantage of this incredible deal!