Math is not our favorite subject. There, I've said it. Bentz Test Laboratory has been exploring an online program that is helping improve our attitude, it's called Algebra For Breakfast.
This is an online supplemental program features two levels, one for grades 3/4 and one for grades 5/6. I have testers in EVERY single grade! They have all been working through the lessons together. We recieved a 6 month subscription
The author, Bob Hazen is also the teacher for the online videos. The program uses online teaching (yeah - I don't have to) as well as printable worksheets for the lessons. Manipulatives, like blocks and dice are a vital part of the methodology of this program. We were able to easily use manipulatives we already owned, but sets are available.
The program is fairly easy to use. Once logged in you can select the lessons your student wishes to work on. I had testers in both levels, so it was nice that they could all log on under the same user name and password.
Each level contains 50 lessons, some of the content is similar, but the levels are distinct. Lessons are unlocked gradually over a period of time.
The lessons are short videos of Bob Hazen teaching to a class. My testers did not really enjoy the videos, they found the other students distracting (one of the benefits of homeschooling). In addition, there are videos directed to the parent as well.
My younger testers really preferred the games and manipulatives. He offers suggestions for games to help improve skills that use blocks, dice and even number cards you can make to play various versions of "war". Most of the information presented was completely new for them, so I'm sure it will pay off later as well. One of the things they really enjoyed was the iTunes album of The Original Skip Count Kid’s Skip Count Songs (by James McGhee) recommended. They listened to it over and over.
I like that the program uses all our learning styles.
My older testers, the 5th and 6th graders had no problem jumping in and getting going. They found the lessons short and worked quickly through the lessons.
Overall, they enjoyed doing the worksheets, I was impressed by how much they knew! They also liked the games best. Playing war with the number cards is a great way to cement negative and positive integers. The dice had all of them improving math facts at the same time.
Overall, we thought this was a nice supplemental program that made Algebra not-so-scary. It would be a perfect way to sneak in some math over the summer.