Sometimes you just can't say no...
I was recently approached by the K5 Learning team to do a review of their program which includes math, reading and spelling. I really haven't done a review of something that I wasn't sure that I would love it. Fortunately or unfortunately sugar coating isn't something I have had much practice with. The customer service gal was so nice and sweet so I went for it.
My little Cam Ditty, 5, was attempting to teach himself to read. He isn't in Kindergarten yet and wanted to go to school, but with this new fangled garbage known as The Common Core (frankly it makes me want to type those words with my big toe because I don't want to touch it) Cam isn't going to public Kindergarten. Many of you do not know that I am a homeschooling mom too. My oldest homeschools at the High School level, she started in 8th grade and has been back and forth and she was a product of Everyday Math. You will know in about 5 minutes why that is important.
That being said, I actually loved the K5 Learning Program! Here is why:
Unclutter your desk, unclutter your mind. We have used some other online tutors and the colors were bright and the pages were so cluttered that it made it hard to learn, with K5 that is a non-issue. The program picks the lesson, the colors are traditional and the page is clear. The child gets to focus on the work without being concerned about everything else they need or want to do, to me that is genius. In keepin the page this way, it encourages diligence on the child's part and when walking away from the screen the child isn't overwhelmed wondering what the heck just happened.
Math Drills. This is huge. Remember how I said my daughter was a product of Everyday Math? Everyday Math does not drill math facts. It works in a spiral so you hear about it and come back to it, but the kids never actually know it as quickly as necessary, or possibly at all. My 8th grader did not know her multiplication tables, yet she passed math with flying colors up until the 8th grade. Had I not homeschooled her, I would have had no clue how insufficient the program was. Math drills are a must, and K5 has a fantastic way to achieve that, read below.
Not everyone can get a trophy. This is the fundamental basis of my whole parenting philosophy. Children need to know that everyone should not be praised for a sub-par job. K5 lets the child know in an encouraging way that the answer is simply not correct. K5 doesn't give a high five for a wrong answer, it expects the right one and therefore the child must think about the problem and answer accordingly. On the math drills it shows how many were right AND how many you completed quickly enough. Encouraging, but not a high-five for less than what was expected.
Life isn't always fun and games. This is the second rung on the parenting ladder. Life can be fun but before that you better be ready for some hard work. K5 prides itself on being a program solely based on education. It is known that when you log on you will learn something or practice what you already have learned. This is another way K5 really gets it right! Teaching kids that learning isn't always a fancy video game should be pretty high on our parental list of musts, in doing so our children not only learn that getting a job done is the reward but to also to find joy in what you already have. Cam found it HILARIOUS that his "teacher" used voices in reading the story, he was giggling and it kept him wanting to come back- he found joy in what he had.
How well do you spell? Incorrect spelling, regardless of intelligence, makes a person appear uneducated. Spell Check doesn't work when you don't know that you need it, or if you don't click on it. My children's public school, which is in the top 1%, cut their spelling program. I knew several kids that had already graduated from the district that had severely poor spelling. My kids still can't spell. My husband has reviewed resumes from recent graduates who had terrible spelling. It is really sickening seeing young adults go into the workforce without the fundamental skills to communicate correctly and efficiently. Imagine a doctor who can't spell, where will that get you? One word, dead. K5 has a spelling program, just like when we were kids. It never occured to me that we could be the last generation of spellers. Spelling is necessary! If your kid can't spell, it will impede his or her learning which will affect their ability to get a job forcing them to live at home longer than socially acceptable.
Read me. After the reading lesson is a set of questions. When I first heard the questions for my pre-K/Kindergartener I was worried that they were a little complex for his age. It seems like K5 planned for this and showed the picture from the story with the question. You don't need ridiculous, fuzzy questions or explanations and lessons on context clues! K5 puts them there, on screen without explanation, for a child to use when they are ready. This really shows the high expectations from K5 with the research and keen understanding of children behind the program that makes independent learning achievable.
Do you copy me? Worksheets. K5 has a bunch of worksheets, they are organized neatly and easy to find. I didn't print any but looked through them and there seemed to be plenty for all grades.
Cash, Check or Charge. K5 has a 14 day free trial. And by free I mean FREE. No credit card required, it doesn't get any freer than that, folks. After the trial it is $25 per month for the first child, $15 each additional it is a pretty good deal! Now if we could talk them into a family rate and have some high school level courses I would stand on the side of the road with a sign as a human advertisement. Not really, but you get the point!
Overall, I believe that K5 is essential to build a foundation for your child's learning- especially if the child attends a public school. I have said over and over The Common Core is like putting a kid without balance and fear in roller skates on an escalator. Without the skills and knowledge to know better, someone is bound to get hurt. K5 gives kids the skills and knowledge necessary to combat Common Core, and quite possibly be a step ahead of their peers by having their math facts memorized.
Next fall when Cam is homeschooling for Kindergarten, there is a 99% chance that K5 Learning will be part of our educational plan. I am seriously contemplating it for my second and fifth grader too, and will probably use it as a supplement if I can convince the hubs to let me homeschool all of them!
I did not get paid for this review, although I did receive a 6 week free trial, to review the site. The opinions are my own and not sugar coated. I do not normally do reviews and this is not a review blog, it is a humor blog. I do not find humor in uneducated or under-educated children, therefore the nature of this blog post is serious and I stand behind my opinions posted in the article as they are my own and what I consider to be the truth.