Math is a sore spot in our homeschool. In fact, many of the years that we’ve done math have been fraught with drama, tears, and cries of “I can’t do it! This is too hard for me!” Sometimes, I’ve even given up on math practice for long periods of time just because the stress in my relationship with my children caused by math was truly causing damage to my parental relationship with them. I needed new approach.
So, I was thrilled when I received the opportunity to review GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN. I received access to a full year’s worth of math for my children. We primarily used the first grade and third grade math, so I’ll be specifically referencing those levels throughout this review. However, their math program gives you access to all levels K-5th for an entire year for each child you purchase a subscription for, so Rose has also done a little bit of kindergarten math for review as well.
GPALOVEMATH is completely web based. This means that you’ll need a computer with a good, strong internet connection to stream the videos and activities. They recommend that you run the program on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers, using Google Chrome (recommended), Apple Safari 6 & 7, Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, and Mozilla Firefox. We used both Apple Safari (on a MacBook) and Google Chrome (on a windows computer) to stream this math program, and both worked great!
Features of GPALOVEMATH
When you first register your account, you will set up a parent account and create separate log-ins for each of your children. You can create their profiles with pictures and other information about them as well as set up initial rewards.
Students log into their accounts and have four tabs on their homepage to choose from. These four tabs are:
- Overview: Here students can see how many lessons they’ve attempted, and how many they’ve completed the quizzes at each level. The levels are rockstar, master and apprentice. Each level, of course, shows a different level of mastery at quiz time. They can also see if they’ve met their goals for usage for the week and the number of awards they have in their backpack.
- Learn: This is where the learning occurs, and the lesson modules are located. When a student is on this screen, they have access to three learning paths to choose from. As they do a lesson, they unlock lessons on the learning path they are on and from time to time, unlocking a specific lesson on one path unlocks the lessons on the other paths as well. For example, for first grade, so far the paths have had the meaning of:
- Blue = measurement, clock skills, shapes, etc
- Purple = Counting, number ideas, skip counting
- Green = Concepts of addition (and I’m sure later subtraction)
- Engage: In this area, parents are able to leave messages for their children, and children are able to interact with each other. We have not actually used this feature, but I think it would be cool if you were using it along with some of your other friends at school or co-op.
- Motivate: In this section, rewards can be purchased based on the number of points your children have earned. For example, my daughter worked really hard to accumulate enough points to purchase a certificate to spend four hours at the swimming pool one day this summer. Points can be cashed in for later bedtimes, different chores, special time spent with a parent, choosing dinner, and in some instances, gift cards for stores.
On the parent page, you have a similar format to the children’s pages, however, you can manage all of your students at once, go into rewards and pick out the randomly occurring rewards that students receive after completing so many lessons, and test drive any of your students’ lessons. You can also send messages to your student.
One of my favorite features is the parent email feature. As your child completes each lesson, you receive an email telling you what lesson your child has completed, how long it took them to complete the lesson and the score that they made on the quiz. You’re also offered the chance to test drive the lesson so that you can discuss it with your child.
Parents also receive a weekly digest which sums up the information on the daily emails and allows you to see if what lessons your children have done and how they’ve scored on their lessons.
How We Used This Product
We used this product on an almost daily basis as our main math lesson. Since we have two laptops, I would just sit the children down on the couch and give each of them a laptop. Often, I would watch and talk to one of the them about the lesson as they worked through it. Other times, I would allow them to work independently and I would go and work with my preschoolers while my older two children worked through a math lesson.
The children, so far, have only had difficulty with one lesson, and when Firecracker was having difficult with that lesson, I simply got on another computer and test drove the lesson to see what the concepts were and how I could best help him to understand them.
I set each child up a goal of three lessons per week, and most weeks the children did 3-5 lessons. Occasionally, Rose would do two lessons on days when she was having too much fun to stop after one lesson or on days where she was really close to earning a reward she wanted.
What We Think About This Product
We love it.
The first thing I love is the short length of the lessons. Most lessons, including lecture, practice and quiz are averaging my children 20-25 minutes. I was kind of thrilled because we’ve never had such easy and short daily math sessions. Although GPA LEARN markets their product as a math supplement, I see no reason why you can’t use it as a complete math program. There are 150 lessons at each grade level, giving you a full year of math in bite-size segments.
We love the fun colors and math tutors. It doesn’t have a “boring” math feel that you might associate with math. Instead, it’s colorful, fun and appealing to my children. One of Rose’s favorite parts of the math lesson is when her math tutor gives the “four clues” for the special mystery guest that they have with each lesson. I’ve also seen Firecracker’s mouth turn up in a little grin or smirk upon seeing his robot tutor do a funky dance to music at the end of his lesson. It’s a fun way to learn math.
We also love the rewards. The children have loved earning a certificate to ask us to do a chore that we would have them do or to pick what we have for dinner. They would still do the math without the rewards, but they are fun. Rose, especially has liked saving up points and using them to purchase rewards in the reward section.
The most fun thing of all is that Firecracker, who has never enjoyed math asked me if, when he finishes the math he’s using now, he can do the next level. How could I say no? If a measure of a program’s success is that your children enjoy using it and want to continue using it, then GPALOVEMATH gets my highest recommendation.