Many of you know that in addition to being a teacher, I am also a mother to 3 young sons – ages 8, 4 and 1. During the past school year, they started going to school in French & Arabic, and while we did some English “homework”, we really didn’t spend a lot of time working on enhancing our English skills.
This summer, I decided we needed to spend some time focusing on some of those English skills, so I signed up for a free trial of K5 Learning. Now, I was lucky enough to get a free 6 week trial, because I have this wonderful blog to use as a venue to share my experiences, but anyone can sign up for a 2 week free trial and see exactly what this program is all about. During that first 2 weeks, you can also request an assessment for each child, to find out where they are starting from. For me, this was the main reason to sign up with K5. Since my children don’t go to school in English at all, I was really “guess – timating” where they were really at. This assessment gave me information to help guide what I worked with them on.
What’s even better, is that the program K5 uses used that information gathered in the pre-assessment to get them started at exactly their level. It also differentiates for them.
For example, my 4 year old taught himself to read solely off of sight words, and so while we’ve worked on letter sounds, it was clear from his assessment that we needed to back up and build his base in phonics and phonemic awareness. Now, when my son gets on for his reading lessons, he is working on beginning sound, ending sound, middle sounds, rhyming words, and all those phonics base skills he needs to develop. My 8 year old showed a stronger picture overall, but had areas of weakness, especially in the measurement section of the math, When he gets on to his lessons, I often find him working on elapsed time, distance, and other measurement activities. There are also spelling and math fact practice sections, but we haven’t spent as much time on these concepts.
So, what do the lessons consist of? They are small, cartoony examples, which often ask students to click around, as they follow along with the explanation on the screen. Then, after each little mini-lesson, there is a very interactive game. My sons love the games, because they come with characters they like, and let them pretend they are helping a robot or playing with an alien – stuff like that. I do love that the games are much more structured than the ones we play at various other “free” websites, and I really love that the game connects to the lesson and the lesson attaches to whatever skill my sons need to work on.
I have been requiring my sons to do K5 for 30 minutes every day, and then I’ve been working with them on workbook type activities, and other things I’ve prepared for them. However, they often ask to stay on “just a little longer”, and so probably spend about 40 – 45 minutes a day on K5. Once school starts, and they have homework in French and Arabic again, we will probably use K5 exclusively and just go to the supplemental materials when one of the kids hits a particularly rough patch – like Kal did this week in his subtraction with regrouping lesson. Now, my free subscription actually runs out on July 1st, but I plan to renew my subscription before then and pay for my kids to continue with this great program where the English AND Math lessons tailored to their needs.
This is a great site for homeschooling parents, or even non-homeschooling parents, who simply want a supplemental resource. I know I’ve spent almost as much on some supplemental workbooks as I will spend on a month of K5’s activities. Right now, K5 doesn’t offer this program to schools, but it’s a great thing to recommend to parents who are looking for something extra! If you take K5 up on the 2 Week Free Trial, feel free to let them know that Heidi Raki sent you.
K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.