Thursday, January 16, 2014

K5 Learning (A Review)

This post contains affiliate links.

You may recall not too long ago I mentioned that we were going to be trying out a new program, called K5 Learning.   Jude (first grade with language) and Damien (PK) worked on it for six weeks.  Jude also attempted to use the assessment test.

I liked that it is internet based.  This is great for us because Jude and Damien both like working on the computer.  I like that it didn't require a lot of extra items to pack with us.  They were able to work on it anywhere -- definitely a plus when we spend a lot of time in waiting rooms.

Jude's experience

The assessment looks to see how much of the entire program the student knows.  This is a good thing.  However, there is no way to "opt out" when you get beyond the student's scope of knowledge. The only way to stop and score the test is to finish the test.  This means if you have a first grader, he's going to be doing a lot of questions he doesn't know the answer to.  Unfortunately, this encouraged Jude to just in the habit of "click an answer so we can get to the end."  At the same time, if he just clicked and randomly got the answer correct, I think it assumed he knew the material and could move on.

The math and language arts tests are independent of each other.   While his math skills are generally on par with his peers, I was a little surprised to see it placed him at a second grade level for many things.  (When he took the test, he was just around three months into first grade.) However, through extensive developmental testing, we know Jude's expressive language skills are at the developmental equivalent of a 3-year-old level.  The assessment testing also placed him at a second grade level.  I could chalk this also up to "Well, maybe second grade skills are different than I remember from the other kids," or "Well, his cognitive language has always been good, so vocabulary and comprehension could very well be at that level..." but the test included phonics ability.  His phonological skills are horrific (and why he's in speech therapy), and severely limit his skills with phonics;  the only "sight words" in his repertoire are his own name and commercial logos.  So color me skeptical already, because I'm not feeling confidence in the assessment.

You can request that the student be moved up or down if you feel the assessment is incorrect.  I decided to leave him at the level so I could gauge "how hard" second grade was, at least for the six weeks of our review period. It was really hard for him.  If we were to continue on, I would definitely ask him to be moved down, at least for phonics and sight words.

One thing I like is that the program emphasizes mastery. It won't let you move on until it believes you've got a solid foundation.  The problem is that it doesn't seem to vary the questions.  Finally, Jude was getting things right and moving on because he had seen the same problem and had memorized the answer.  I don't feel like he learned anything new; he just learned the answer pattern.  Often the program timed out and answered the question for him; there were times where he'd just stall out and wait so that the next time he would already know the answer.  I would have preferred that there be a variety of questions for the program to choose from when re-presenting the concept, rather than just repeating itself.

Working with Damien

After seeing how the placement test worked, I did not have Damien complete the assessment. 
I opted instead to use the "choose your own topic" option.  I thought this was a better way to use the program, because then I could choose from different levels.  He worked mostly on Kindergarten level math and phonics, but did go up into first grade for reading comprehension.  This image is from a first grade comprehension lesson - it involved reading a story about frogs and then placing the images of a frog's life cycle in order.  Because he's my kid, I'd like to think he's a genius...but at the same time, it makes me wonder how tough is the program for an "average" kid if a three-year-old could work up into first grade.

Online Reading & Math Program for K-5K5 Learning is a subscription service.  The company offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required);  I would highly recommend trying it before subscribing to see how it works for your child. After the initial trial, you will have to go into your account and reactivate it by giving your credit card information; the program is billed at $25/month for the first student and $15 for additional students.  You can also purchase an annual subscription ($199/year for the first student, $129 per additional student) if you prefer.
(Note: if you click the links in this post or the image to the left, Adventures with Jude will receive a small commission, so if you want to try K5 Learning, please do use the links.)

The program is aligned to national standards.  Between Jude's assessment and Damien's experiences, this is a program where I would be more inclined to work on individual concepts that I thought my child needed support with, rather than at a "grade level program," especially if your child's chronological and academic ages don't quite match.   Because it does teach a concept rather than just asking practice questions, I think for an older child I would use it as a math and language arts spine to be built upon, but I agree that it is an "enrichment" program, not a full homeschooling curriculum.


Want to keep up with all of our curriculum reviews?
Subscribe below to get Adventures with Jude delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

©2012- 2015 Adventures with Jude. All- rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover