As a homeschooler living in a non-testing for homeschoolers state, there isn't the pressure to have my boys at a certain level academically. BUT, as a mom who does want to make sure they are on track I have always wondered where they would fall. I haven't yet given them any grade testing, but had considered it for the future. Enter our review of K5 Learning's online program.
About K5 LearningK5 Learning is an online program for grades K-5th that offers free assessments of English and Math skills, as well as lessons and worksheets in English, Math, and Spelling. The program was designed to provide parents with the best of education software that is used in schools throughout the US. Many game based learning
websites have great entertainment value, but are lacking in content or helping to develop study skills. On the other side, some educational websites have the quality of activities, but are rather boring in their use--and don't have a good enough assessment, automatic lesson selection or student tracking for a continuous program. And as we know, worksheets and "normal" study materials tend to bore children to death when used alone. The K5 Learning program is a mixture of interactive online lessons and downloadable custom worksheets providing the right balance between online and offline learning, as well as a blend of different learning style strengths.
K5 Learning consists of three parts:
K5 Reading: With the ultimate goal of producing strong readers, the reading program includes phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
K5 Math: Determined to help build your child's confidence in math, the program includes numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.
K5 Spelling: allowing for parents to input their own spelling words, or to use the grade level appropriate pre-selected words, the spelling program builds more advanced spelling and vocabulary skills--taking it one word at a time.
In order to place your child in the appropriate lessons, K5 Learning provides a free assessment for English and Math skills--and then begins your child's lessons at a skill level appropriate start based on these results. This means the lessons are personalized to your child's skills, not just their grade level. There are over 3,000 tutorials and activities which meet national standards. The lessons are FULL LESSONS, not just a review of skills. This means your child will be learning new material! And because the lessons are interactive, the students are able to put their new learning immediately to work during the lesson itself, and in the activities that follow.
All three programs are included for 1 price AFTER THE 14 DAY FULL ACCESS FREE TRIAL! Once your trial is up, the pricing is as follows:
Monthly: First child $14.95, Additional children $9.95
Annually: First child $119, additional children $79
You do not have to be a member to still use the VAST collection of free worksheets! The worksheets are available in the following areas:
✦Math Worksheets Grades 1 to 6
✦Preschool and Kindergarten Worksheets
✦Reading Comprehension Worksheets Grades 1 to 5
✦Vocabulary Worksheets Grades 1 to 5
✦Grammar Worksheets Grades 1 to 3
✦Cursive Writing Worksheets
✦Free Math and Reading Flashcards
We were given a six month membership to be used with both of my sons.
Our Thoughts on K5 Learning
One of the main draws about this program right off the bat, were the free assessments in English and Math skills. I quickly set up an account during the 14 day Free Trial and got my boys to each take their assessment in English and Math. The tests were multiple choice. It was very eye opening and encouraging!
The boys were given scores right away, which were also sent via email to me. Here are the results:
For Baby Britches (1st grade, age 6 1/2)
|I had him listed as 1st grade--he tested out of 1st grade, so they placed him in early 2nd grade|
|Shows where he falls on the scale--the black rectangle is 1st grade range.|
You can see he tested easily out of 1st grade math...
You can see that Baby Britches tested WAYYYY out of the park for phonics--actually as high as he could go, and an overall testing out of 1st grade English.
What does this mean?
This means that Baby Britches would be starting in 2nd grade level math lessons, and would be starting in mid to late 2nd grade level English lessons. Because K5 will only place your child ONE GRADE past where they assess at--if advanced--it really won't tell you how high your child achieved ultimately--so who knows where he would have tested out for English if it had just placed him where he should be overall.
Little Britches (5th grade, age 11)
|This was Little Britches' English report|
Now that the assessments were done, the K5 lessons would begin where the assessments placed them. Not knowing what to expect, I had the boys log in (super easy to do once you set them up) and just--go!
It quickly became apparent that we needed to make some changes. Baby Britches was doing early 2nd grade math--yet it was WAYYYYYYYY too easy. He is my math guy, and is in the middle of a more advanced math curriculum--so I wasn't surprised. Little Britches needed an English adjustment for phonics--that one he scored Mid 2nd grade on the assessment! the lessons were wayyyyyyyyy too easy, which showed us he didn't really need to go back to 2nd grade phonics. LOL
Fortunately, it is possible to request an adjustment to their level.
We ended up moving Baby Britches into late 2nd grade math across the board which was a perfect fit, and we moved Little Britches into early 4th grade phonics which allowed him to catch up on some little things he needed to learn or practice more.
Another wonderful thing is that you can have them adjust the levels at any time--so if you discover you need to really move them back, or forwards again--it is possible to do so!
So what do the lessons look like?
Each lesson consists can last from 11-60 minutes depending on what is being covered, the number of lessons, the number of assignments, and activities included. Some lessons will be shorter (grammar), some will be longer (reading comprehension). It is possible to see the full list of lessons within your child's grade level by visiting the lesson library which can be found while in your parent dashboard. This even allows you to view the actual lesson!
reading program. You can see the various lengths of time for each lesson group, as well as how many lessons are in each group. From here it is actually possible to sign SPECIFIC lessons for your child to complete if you want them to focus on certain areas, however these will all cycle through your child's assignments leaving it alone too. K5 mixes them up so you aren't only doing one thing every single day.
I never bothered with assigning lessons because I felt the program was varying the lessons great for each of the boys.
|Lessons are colorful, fun, interactive, and informative|
You and your child are able to view their progress through the K5 program. Your child will see their list of completed lesson groups with their mastery score and the date completed. Because each lesson group is a different length, and each grade will have a different difficulty level, no two children will be having the same number of completed assignments. Here are my boys progress reports as of today (June 7th):
Both have used the program the same amount of time. This just shows how the difficulty and length of each lesson can play into how much can be completed.
When Little Britches clicks on "details" he can see how his scores were for each of the lesson groups he completed. From this he (And I) can see where he struggled and where he excelled. This in turn allows me to reinforce the lessons using the COORDINATING worksheets that K5 provides to go with the subject matter being covered. These show up on your child's dashboard when they log in under "recommended worksheets". I LOVE having these because they take the guess work out. They match exactly what has been covered, so it's easy to work through them.
|working on a reading worksheet|
In some cases, my working on the worksheets with the boys has helped clear up any issues they ran into when first learning the lesson. I have "made it easier to understand" in some cases.
So let's wrap this up...
K5 Learning gets two thumbs up from me. Not only does it give each boy independent work at the grade level they should be at, but it does it in a way that keeps their attention and yes, actually TEACHES them. They do not complain when it's time to do K5 each day. We have a routine where they are allowed to either do 3 stoplights or complete a lesson group in each subject. This takes about 20-30 minutes for each of them.
As of right now, we aren't using the spelling feature that much. But now that summer has appeared, I am definitely going to be adding it for practice. I love how it works them through the proper spelling of a word (filling in the letters) and guides them through their mistakes until they can spell it correctly.
Common core...I am pretty sure that because K5 is aligned with national standards that means it is common core. However, I am not seeing the aspects of common core that bother me--except to over explain some concepts. LOL. We had to straighten Little Britches out for one of those scenarios--once I explained something he got it. "They talk too much" was his comment. I believe the math is taught logically and allows your child to use a variety of methods to arrive at their answers.
Some lessons were repeated, rendering them incredibly easy and a "waste of time"--especially since a few the boys had already completed with 100% mastery. Also, in the 5th grade math, Little Britches has experienced situations where he has to complete a math problem within a set amount of seconds. For my boy, this causes him serious issues because he needs extra time to figure out some things, and if he didn't get it in time, he would get it "wrong" even if he really did know the answer, and just didn't type it fast enough. It would be nice if all the math problems allowed you to click "done" when they were solved instead of rushing your child to an answer.
If your child doesn't achieve mastery--the lesson is not repeated. Little Britches received a 40% in one lesson group--but instead of repeating it, it simply moved on. Thankfully I can check the progress report, and then find worksheets to coordinate so I could do some extended learning.
BUT--K5 is really supposed to be a SUPPLEMENTAL program for reading and math. Not a curriculum. But I honestly believe that it is deep enough that used WITH the worksheets it COULD be considered a curriculum.
Finally, in regards to the assessments, it would be nice if your child could just receive an overall placement--regardless of what grade you have them listed as. I would LOVE to know high my Baby Britches would have gotten in overall math and reading if it hadn't of limited to placing him just one grade higher. I think if this was made available, there wouldn't be as much placement requests from parents for work being too easy.
Final thought: I absolutely recommend K5 Learning to all my homeschooling friends, as well as public school parents. It is a GREAT way to discover how your K-5th child is doing in English and Math, and give them some extra practice. I urge you to at least let your children take the FREE assessments to you can see the results--and do the 14 day FREE TRIAL!
At the end of our 6 month trial, I very well might extend our subscription because it is working so well for our family.
Oh and just if you want to know, we have been using a PC and a Chrome browser for our online usage and have never had any troubles with it! K5 is designed to work primarily on PC, Mac, and Chromebooks using flash video technology--which limits them from being used on mobile devices and tablets.
Want to Know More?
Over the last several weeks, we have been reviewing the K5 Learning online program. You have heard all about how we have used it--but why not see how others in our team did?