Wednesday, June 22, 2016
TOS Review ~ LearnBop
We received a subscription to LearnBop for Families from LearnBop recently. We received the family plan for two to four students. This is an online math program that has been in the public schools for years and now is being offered to families. It meets all Common Core standards and teaches math concepts from third through twelfth grade. You can purchase access to it by the month or by the year.
I tend to shy away from anything that advertises that it is Common Core, especially math. I find that the way Common Core math is being taught is very confusing to most children and adults. Even if you get the answer correct, it is often marked as wrong, because the process in which you got the answer is wrong (according to Common Core). I found this to be true several times with LearnBop.
I started out with my daughter (12) using this program. She received a score of 95% accuracy on end-of-year national testing this year for sixth grade. She is strong in math and generally gets A's on all assignments, using three well-known homeschool curriculums. I placed her in seventh grade and set her free to explore the program. She began struggling within minutes. My husband stepped in to help her and suggested that the grade be adjusted. I lowered the program to sixth grade and she kept calling me, saying she had put in the right answer but it was saying she was wrong. I sat with her and we kept at it, although many of the answers were stated to be wrong because she wasn't "thinking" the way they wanted her to. The final product was correct, but not the way to get to the final product. I lowered it to fifth grade to try to ease up the pressure, since this was only a review item and not meant to be a stressful thing in our homeschool. By now she was embarrassed, frustrated and near tears. I started paying her in chocolate to just try a few more bops (what they call problems). She did have a little bit more success with the fifth grade, as long as we used the hints and concentrated on really understanding what the program wanted in any particular question. There often seems to be multiple correct answers.
My daughter had had enough, so I took over the program. I lowered the program to fourth grade and spent about six hours learning the program. Once I learned Common Core math, I was able to start getting the questions correct. Here is an example of one of the problems. Hint~ the correct answer is not A, which every member of my family and two neighbors thought it should be. The answer is C. You multiply 3 x 10 to get 30 and 3 x 4 to get 12 and then you add 30 plus 12 to get 42.
Since I had my son tested professionally this year by a psychologist who specializes in testing and helping place kids on the correct career path for them, I asked him if it was a disadvantage that my kids were not learning Common Core math like the public school kids. He snorted and said that the colleges do not teach it, and many kids are going through remedial math classes in college to get back on track. With all that said, I am sticking with teaching math the way it has been taught for hundreds of years. LearnBop gets a thumbs down from me.
If you are looking for a program that meets Common Core standards, this is a very easy program to use. I found it to be encouraging and it lets the student know their improvement after each problem. When it says that the answer is incorrect, it leads the student in an encouraging way with step-by-step guidance if she or he is confused. The program includes multiple videos for each unit that teach the concept in several different ways. I think the videos are clear for the lower levels. However, I think that they are too conversational in that the teacher "wonders" aloud how best to figure out a problem instead of clearly and confidently explaining how to solve it. Sometimes the online teacher even corrects herself, which is confusing. I will add that it is easy to track your child's progress with this program.
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