Wednesday, June 21, 2017

UnLock Math - A TOS Homeschool Review

Review Crew
My son still needs to complete Geometry, so I was pleased when I saw UnLock Math was coming up as a Vendor.
They have a course that was a perfect fit for us called UnLock Geometry.
UnLock Geometry is presented as a complete course, which was a fabulous fit for us. Over the course of one school year (which is 180 school days), doing approximately one lesson per day, the student will complete the course by the end of the year.

My son was willing, and even interested, so we volunteered. When the program information arrived, I set up our account and got my son going. My son logged in and began working on the program.

The first night, my son came into the living room at dinner time and said, "I'm not going to lie... This is pretty cool!"  Another night, again at dinner, he said, "Right now I am learning about the Pythagorean Theorem!" Things seemed to be going smoothly.

I myself was busy with many things, so I was glad it seemed my son was doing well with this program. He has also been taking a summer dual enrollment college course, so I knew he was busy as well.

Then the Saturday came when my son took the ACT test. He came home, upset, feeling he had not done well (and blaming me and my shortcomings in teaching him!). After talking things through, what we learned is that my son needs more accountability than I have been giving him, and that even with UnLock Geometry he had not kept up his regular lessons as I had thought he was doing. In his defense, he was right. It is easy enough for the parent to check the student's account to confirm his regular progress, and I had not been doing it. 

My son had given up on UnLock Geometry. So, to fulfill our commitment to the vendor I knew I had to jump in and act as the student. It's easier to write a review when I am really familiar with the product, anyway, so I did my best.

First I found there is a four-page "UnLock Math Quickstart Guide" to help you know how to use the program. There is a similar pdf download teaching how to access and use the Gradebook, UnLock Math Gradebook Guide.

Next I moved into the UnLock Geometry program where my son left off, and here's what I found. When you open a lesson you see a lesson path like this:
So, each UnLock Geometry lesson starts with "Warm-Up" which reinforces materials previously covered. Step 2 is a Lesson Video, followed by Practice Problems. The student also completes "Stay Sharp" and "Challenge Yourself", and they are done. "Reference Notes" is the material presented in the lesson and is a pdf with can be saved and printed.

Each unit is set up with a series of relevant lessons with periodic quizzes, and culminating with a unit test. Here is an example:


So I began working my way through the material, and I like what I see. The video teacher presents the material well in a way that is easy to understand. I recommend this program to you!

This Geometry program is UnLock Math's brand new product. So now that you know I love it, I do need to let you know a few issues I had with the program. The folks from UnLock Math should also be reading my review, and I expect they will work to remedy these issues.

The first item I will mention is within the videos. The color being used on the videos is not dark enough (on the numbers on the white board) and it was hard to see the math. Here is a screen shot:

Yes, I find that difficult to see.

Another issue I had was where the program marked a correct answer wrong because it wanted me to abbreviate a certain way. The question was something like, "14,000 pounds = how many tons?" I answered 7 tons, and it wanted me to say "7 tns".

I don't know how well you can see this, but in the above screenshot you can also see how they explain the process to get to the correct answer. These explanations are always there and they are excellent!

So, from the teacher's page, here is the student's progress page I should have been tracking to keep my son accountable:
From the parent pages you can see what problems your student had trouble with and can follow up.

There are so many layers to UnLock Geometry that it is difficult for me to share everything. I imagine there are things I have missed that might be of interest to you. Fortunately for you, other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed UnLock Geometry and other programs by UnLock Math. You can read other reviews by clicking on the button below.

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

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