We recently had an opportunity to review a new Math supplement and found ourselves questioning whether it couldn’t really be a full math curriculum. When this opportunity first arose, I really was convinced that there are small variations, but most math programs are the same. I now stand corrected. We reviewed the LearnBop for Families product with the Family Plan options that allows for 2-4 students. This is a brand new math program to the homeschool market from LearnBop. We received the 12 month subscription to this program that allows a full range of use with all the content from grades 3-12.
LearnBop for Families is an online math program that offers learning through video based instruction along with problems for concept mastery. The structure of the program allows for movement between grade levels, which is an awesome feature for students migrating in from other curriculum or those seeking to just utilize the program for skill reinforcement before returning to a primary curriculum. I got to thinking how great this feature would be if I felt like my child was struggling with fractions, but right on target with his other math concepts. We could go back as far as we needed to and work forward on just the modules dealing with fractions. Now how cool is that!
After the initial account setup, which takes literally minutes, the student is ready to just jump in and get started. Our son would log into his account and be met with a screen that looked fairly consistent from day to day.
As you can see from the image, there are generally two to three video segments that teach the lesson content in increasing degrees of complexity. The fact that the material is layered in this approach with three short videos as opposed to a longer single video is a real plus. I found my son more inclined to going back to re-watch any videos he was fuzzy on. My guess is that he would be less likely to pause and rewind in the middle of a longer video or to rewatch the whole thing if he was struggling with grasping the material.
After watching the videos, the next step would be to solve the Bops. There are a series of questions that the student needs to complete successfully in order to move on to the next stop in the Learning Roadmap.
Now, get ready! Here is the next cool feature.
The software is so incredibly intuitive. As our son completed each Bop (question), the computer determined if his response was correct or not. If it was correct, it would show his progress in reaching the mastery level for that section of the current unit he was working on. If he had not answered the problem correctly, the program would automatically have him work the problem in a step by step format with each step on its own screen. It was very intentional in pacing the student to complete each small step before moving on. Because this is built into the logic of the software, there was a huge implication for the mom-son relationship. No debating over going back over problems that were missed! If he missed a problem, the very next thing he had to do was to work that specific problem in step by step fashion until it was completed successfully. There was no way around this feature, which this mom loved. It was also a real motivator for our son who quickly realized that getting through a “lesson” would take considerably longer if he had to do too many problems step by step. I found his dedication in doing his best the first time was greatly increased and we had no disputes on what was required next.
After each problem was successfully completed, the student would be shown a graph of where they were at in mastering the topic being studied. This was shown in a graph format with the program defaulting to a 90% accuracy for mastery. The percent that the student achieved was a combination of the number of problems completed as well as accuracy. As you see in the adjacent graph, our son had not yet achieved the mastery level. He had successfully answered the questions thus far, but simply did not do enough problems in the sequence for the program to exhibit concept mastery. Generally, he would need to answer at least 5 questions to master the topic if his accuracy was high.
He was required work in the program for about 30 to 45 minutes each day. There were times that this meant that a lesson had not been completely finished. Guess what? That was absolutely not a problem as the program remembered just where our son left off. When he logged back in the next day, it automatically came back up to where he was. What’s more is that if I decided that we needed to change course and focus on a different skill or maybe move back or forward a grade level, it was very easy to do this in the parent dashboard.
The parent dashboard was also a great find in this program. I could log into my account and quickly see my son’s recent activity in the program. It clearly showed time spent, lessons completed, and his mastery of each lesson.
In most of my reviews I try to give a balanced view of the things that worked for us and the areas that could use some improvement from our perspective. I have to say that I am struggling. There just are not any obvious areas that I feel would work better if they were presented differently. The biggest question that remains for me is in still trying to define this program as either a math supplement for concept reinforcement or as a complete math curriculum. It would honestly be a tough call.
As always, I encourage you to check out the reviews from others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew. There were families using all different grade levels of the program so I am sure there is a review for whatever grade level your child would most likely place into in using LearnBop for Families.