K5 Learning Review
Monday, March 5, 2012
K5 Learning is an online program for Math and Reading Enrichment. Initially I thought K5 was Kindergarten level for 5 year olds, as I worked a summer in a preschool with a K3, K4, K5 class. However, the name is actually meaning K-5th grade level in learning. This is the target age, but actually, this program could also be beneficial to struggling students or students who are learning English or speak English as second language.
K5 Learning can easily be found at www.K5learning.com. Once you arrive you can have your child(ren) take a free assessment for placement in the program as well as view sample lessons and sign up for a free 14 day trial. You can also call customer service and ask whatever questions you might have about their program: (888) 281-2145.
The free trial is absolutely no obligation and doesn't require your credit card information to get set up.
I had all of my school-age children participate in this review. Some used the program more than others. While I did "require" each child to spend time working on this program every day, some did better than others. I contemplated micro-managing and enforcing their use, however, we are currently doing more than one type of math and we do a lot of reading. I felt if the program was going to be truly useful to me, it would have to help my children want to use it every day and be something they could intuitively use independently. This year is different than any other year. We are so busy and have had so many life changes, it is not possible for me to spend the amount of individual time with each child on school- as I have in the past. In fact, we have gone from a program that was almost entirely teacher intensive (4-6 hours of teaching ) to me reading out loud and reviewing/ checking progress for only 1 - 3 hours a day.
Instead of a 2 week trial, I was given 6 weeks. However, it honestly wasn't enough time for me to determine if this program would work well for our family or not. Some programs I know instantly I would not use and others we love. I am not crazy about my children spending all day on the computer. I feel it is not appropriate for young children. My husband- who works daily with computers for pay- does not want our children to learn primarily on the computer either. So, it isn't the typical thing for us.
We have a wide range of interests and skills. Our 7 yo daughter loves math, but has been resistant to reading until recently, our 8 yo son is an excellent reader, but seems unable to follow written or verbal directions from a computer or in person, our 10 yo son is a slow reader, has great comprehension and is pretty good at math. I would say our 7 and 8 yo are mostly active/ kinesthetic learners, but our 10 year old is more auditory. All 3 jumped right into the program, but were not crazy about the assessments.
I didn't realize our 7 yo was actually taking the 10 yos assessment, and that added unnecessary frustration for her. However, that was corrected with help from customer service. While, it wasn't on purpose, it was nice to know K5 Learning provides excellent and very speedy help when needed. I emailed the company for help to get a new assessment set up, but I could have called or checked out their forum for help as well. Everything progressed better after that little wrinkle, but the assessments seemed long. While they could have taken a break, it seemed better to just finish it at once.
The lessons were very short. It seems like they are even shorter if the child gets many things wrong. Maybe the lessons are always that way. Since children are placed based on the assessments, the work should not be too difficult or easy. However, if it is, you can get that adjusted.
I found it very easy to check up on the progress of each child via the Dashboard available for the parent. From the dashboard, it is possible to change the password, view reports, assign lessons, add spelling words or change spelling settings. We actually only used the Math and Reading lessons and not the spelling lessons on this program. We are pretty set on the spelling program we are using and I didn't wish to complicate things. However, I feel different approaches to math and reading are always welcome. My children all have different styles of learning math and some struggle a lot with that subject. So, I am always on the lookout for ways to make learning "stick".
My 14 yo son had no interest in using this program once he found out it was for up to 5th grade. I figured it wouldn't hurt him to review and might be a fun way for him to be reminded of areas he struggled with the first time around. However, he wanted nothing to do with it. He did do a couple lessons just to comply. He didn't dislike them, but he didn't do anymore either.
My 10 year old completed more Math than Reading, but he didn't get very far in the 6 weeks we had. He mastered almost all of the areas he tried, though and I believe he did his best and know he enjoyed the program.
My 8 yo jumped around and spent very little time on each subject. He did try the spelling also, but - as stated earlier- I didn't expect or even want my children to spend time on the spelling. It is possible it would have helped had I entered in the words they misspelled in their regular spelling program, but I just really didn't want to try this part of the program.
My 7 yo seemed to spend the most time on the K5 Learning site, but she didn't get through very many lessons. Her reports show she is working at grade level for lessons she did complete- except in one area.
All of the records were helpful for me. However, it still left me wondering if my children had really done enough on any particular subject. I know they enjoyed the games and wonder - based on the number of lessons and amount of time my children were supposedly "doing K5" if they found a way to play games instead of complete lessons.
The advantage to an online program is no grading on my part is necessary. The computer saves me time in other ways. It is handy to work with one child while another does a computer based program for a while. Plus, since we don't complete much work on the computer, I could K5 as an incentive to finishing other work. Naturally another advantage is no paperwork to keep track of and it is impossible for a stubborn child to claim they lost their K5 Learning.
While we used this program in our homeschool program, it is designed for use in traditional schools or as a supplement/ study aid also and is not a product specifically tailored to homeschool. I would suggest you try the program for free and see how well you like it for your family!
I came to the conclusion I can't justify the cost of this particular program, since we have so many other math and reading materials. The cost for the 1st child is $25 a month or $199 a year. The cost of adding additional child is $15 a month or $129 a year. I would love to try it out for 6 months or longer because I can't seem to come to a thunb up or down on this . K5 Learning does have a reward system for referrals and offers $25 for each referral. They also offer Fundraising opportunities.
If my younger children were better about staying on task and money were no object, it would be nice to use this program in our school.
As part of the TOS crew, I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review.