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Sunday, March 4, 2012

K5 Learning Review

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K5 Learning is an "online after-school study program" (and homeschool reinforcement program) for kids in kindergarten to grade 5.  The focus is on building "reading, math and study skills to last a lifetime".   There are over 3000 interactive tutorials and activities for your student to work on at their own pace, and thanks to assessment tests, they can work at their specific level, too. 

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When your child begins with K5, you can have them start at grade level, or take a free assessment to place them according to their skill. Above, you can see a sample report that shows the results from a student's assessment.  Your child is given a score based on their results, and that score determines where they fall in the grade level spectrum.  Mastered subjects are removed from instruction, and remedial support is given for areas that are not up to grade level.

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The lessons are fun and engaging, but not mindless games.  They focus on real skills, and seem to provide some "meaty" instruction.  The lessons are also broken up into very short segments.

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A math facts component allows for short drills of math facts in a fun environment, and there is a similar spelling component. Some people will find it reassuring that children cannot work below their level, or repeat things they have already mastered.

The pros: I like that there are no ads, no commercial messages, no external links and no chat.  It is a very safe environment, and I have not, as of yet, come across anything objectionable (content wise).  Parents can go in and enter specific lessons for their child to work on.  Lessons are short, and not overwhelming.  I loved the online reading assessment and the opportunity to see how my children were doing.  And I think they are one of the best systems of parental reporting I have ever encountered with an online program.  There is a lot of information available to you, the parent, about what your child has done.

The cons:  As much as I enjoyed the assessments, they left me with more questions than answers.  My son, for example, tested above grade level in reading, but a full grade level behind in phonics.  But he reads and Comprehends a full grade level above, and he speaks clearly and reads aloud well and correctly, so I'm at a loss as to why he tested low in phonics, and I can't seem to get more information.  And my oldest daughter, who is technically 6th grade, tested in grade level for math, although each of her individual scores was below grade level?  I just didn't understand it.  And she felt that the assessment didn't necessarily help her placement-her first math lesson was on reading time on the clock, which she felt was a bit beneath a 6th grader's level.  My other con comes from her as well....because the lessons are broken up into segments, it's really hard to know when you are finished with a lesson (if you don't, as a student, realize that each lesson ends with a quiz).  She worked through 3 "lessons" in 4 minutes, and thought she had actually done 3 lessons, when she had just done segments of lessons.  She was looking for a "you're done with that now" sort of indication. My youngest, who is the child I really intended to use the program, seemed to enjoy it, and she scored well in each lesson and has shown some improvement.

The bottom line:  Following this link gets you a free trial of K5.  No credit card info is required-free is really free.   That may be the best way to see if K5 is right for you.  The monthly fee is $25/month ($199/year) for your first child and $15/month ($129/year) for each additional child, so it is a financial commitment you want to be sure will benefit your child. 

To check out K5 for yourself, go HERE.  To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.

Legal Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a 6 week free subscription to K5 Learning so that I could evaluate it and offer my honest opinion.  That trial was the only compensation I received.
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