We decided to use our son “The Artist” as our
Guinea Pig test subject. In addition to being the highest functioning of our 4 special needs kids, he was recently assessed and found to be lacking in math skills. We wanted to see if we could help him catch up, so we chose to review grade 3. Given the options of a CD or online curriculum, we decided on the CD due to various internet challenges we’ve had recently. The Premium Edition that we are using is available at A+ Interactive MATH, and the price is $124.99.
The CD was easy to install and setup in Windows. The CD is not Mac-compatible, but the company reports good results using Parallels to let your Mac run in a Windows environment. The company’s FAQ’s does mention this use is not supported. You do need an internet connection to activate the software, and we recommend you set up a Parent Profile . . . while you can use the program without this profile, you’ll lose some neat security and student tracking features we’ll go over later.
The program comes with a recommended lesson plan, which you can fill in on the computer and print a copy. I found it easier for me to do both . . . use a blank copy of the lesson plan for the day to day, then enter it into the computer later.
The Lesson Plan recommends taking 2 weeks to go through most chapters. We started out at the recommended pace, but our son wasn’t really being challenged at this point. We decided to step up the pace a little. Starting with Chapter 2, we upped the pace to one chapter per week. We just started Chapter 4 (Multiplication) this week, and he seems to be showing signs of reaching his level . . . we’ll be slowing things down to the recommended two-weeks-per-chapter pace fairly soon.
Please be assured, you do not have to do this fine tuning for your child/children. There is a free placement test available at the web site, so you can evaluate your kids and determine where to start. A+ Interactive MATH is available in Grades 1-6, Pre-Algebra and Algebra.
Each Chapter is separated into sub units. Each sub unit has a Curriculum, an Interactive Lesson and Q&A (which lets you print a Certificate of Achievement) and a Worksheet, and there is a Chapter Exam once your student completes each Chapter. Coming soon in the 3rd and 4th Grade curriculum (and already available in the 1st and 2nd Grade CD’s) are Cumulative Reviews which not only include the most recently worked chapter, but one or two of the previous chapters.
The process we’ve worked out is starting the day with a quick review of the Curriculum. Depending on your child, you may just let them read it on-screen and see if they have any questions before starting on the Q&A. Once he’s printed the Q&A Certificate, he starts the Worksheet, a 10-question reinforcement of the lesson. We then grade the Worksheet before moving to the next sub unit.
The Premium Version we’re using also allows you to track these results by entering the Q&A, Worksheet and Exam results in a Student Tracking area (if you’ve set up a Parent Profile). This not only helps you determine what your child needs, but I imagine would be incredibly useful if you home school in a state that has mandatory reporting.
For this type of math, and taking into account the student involved, we set a pass/fail level of 80%. On the one Worksheet he scored 60%, we pumped the brakes to see what happened. We reviewed the worksheet with “The Artist”, and determined the problem was not the lack of understanding of the subject matter. It was back in Chapter 1, and he was basically blowing through the problems and not checking his work because he wasn’t feeling challenged.
We did allow him to re-do the worksheet, just to make sure he understood the subject matter (he got 100% on the 2nd try). But, in order to help him in his future focus challenges, he was told the original 60% is what was entered into the Student Tracking. This might seem harsh to some, but he hasn’t failed a single Worksheet since we instituted this policy! This is also what made us decide to quicken the pace of the Lesson Plan.
More on the Parent Profile . . . when you’re signed in as the parent, you have access to the Solutions Guides for the Worksheets and Chapter Exams. Plus, you have the option of setting up some security so the student does not have access to these Solution Guides and Tracking. We do not allow our son access to the Solutions Guides or Tracking. However, if your child works better with minimal assistance and can be trusted not to peek, you do have the option to give them access so they can self-manage their progress.
A+ TutorSoft Interactive MATH is available in either CD or online curriculum. While A+ TutorSoft does provide ability for parents to very easily check and track student work, the CD version does not automatically track the student assignment grades. However, the online edition DOES track all assignments completed online in addition to providing option for the parents to print the assignments and have them grade/track using the tools we provide.
The CD version is designed that way so that parents can be more involved in their student’s homeschool MATH journey and can check/track their work using the tools, which include the parent’s solutions manuals and electronic grade book among others. Parents are NOT expected to have the mastery of MATH in order to grade student’s work. A+ TutorSoft provides all of the tools that make it really easy for any parent to check the student’s work and enter them into our program to track and view various reports.
Overall, this program gives “The Artist” the structure he needs for learning math, and allows the Parent/Teacher to set the pace of the course. We intend to continue on with A+ Interactive MATH in the future.
A+ Tutorsoft is currently offering an AWESOME special promotion to you, my wonderful readers . . . through the end of March, you will receive 50% off your order with the coupon code SPOFFER50!
Sail on over and read what other crew members thought of this and other grades, as well as the online version of the curriculum!