Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UnLock Math - UnLock Algebra I (Review)

Can I be honest?  My 9th grader struggled with Algebra I this year.  Please don't revoke my good homeschool mom membership, grins. The good news, is we were given an opportunity to review UnLock Algebra I from UnLock Math as we began wrapping up the academic year.

UnLock Math is an online math program that currently offers UnLock Pre-Algebra, UnLock Algebra I, UnLock Algebra II, and UnLock Geometry.  UnLock Pre-Calculus will be offered later this year and UnLock Calculus will be following in 2018.  Account set up is quick and easy to understand.   There is a printable pacing guide (useful in scheduling) as well as progress reports and an online grade book to help the parent see exactly what the student has done, and how well they've completed the work.

UnLock Algebra I has a 19 lesson Pre-Algebra review followed by 12 units of Algebra.   Each unit has several lessons and each lesson contains a video, Warm Up, Practice Problems, Stay Sharps, Challenge Questions and Quizzes.  There are also Unit Tests and a Midterm Exam and Final Exam.

For a student who didn't like, or excel in Algebra, finding out that she was doing MORE of it, and probably working on it all summer was not a huge thrill for her.   I totally understood that, however I felt like she really needed stronger skills and understanding before moving on.    Day 1 she started with a bit of an attitude (just keeping it real).   After completing a couple of the Pre-Algebra review lessons, she was actually liking the program.  (HUGE SCORE)

At the end of the first week, I asked Olivia her overall opinion.   She said she really enjoys the videos, and likes that the instructor teaches in a way that is fun but not silly.  She also liked that the instructor uses words that she can understand and explains and shows hows how to do problems as she goes.

Several weeks into the review, and Olivia is actually enjoying doing Algebra. She's doing several days worth of work each day, which literally means she's working a couple of hours a day on Algebra.   Remember, this is being used as a remedial/strengthening skills class, so I don't necessarily recommend that pace for a student new to higher math.

One thing that we've both been frustrated by is that there have been several occasions where she knows the answer, but doesn't know how to enter it the way they want it. For example, there was nowhere in the instructions that explained to her how to make an exponent show up little and where it's supposed to go, so she got those wrong.  Nor did she know that for showing something is to be multiplied she is supposed to use an * between the two numbers...again, she had the right answer but got those wrong.    However, a quick email and they fixed her score.

Another HUGE plus for this program is their customer service.   We have had a few small glitches, and I've emailed the company (directly through our UnLock Math account web page), and not only have they responded in record time, they've taken the time to CALL me when the issue has been something on their end.  That's almost unheard of!  I also contacted them about  the not knowing how to enter the answers, and within minutes they sent back full instructions, and have since added those to the site.

To read more Crew member reviews of this and other UnLock Math products, click here.

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