Looking for a math program for your kids? You might want to try GPALOVEMATH by GPALEARN (Great Parents Academy).
GPALOVEMATH is an online program for kids in grades K-5. It can also be used as review work for students who need to refresh their skills. It can be accessed 24/7 and it is so convenient to use it when it fits in your schedule. It retails for $12.99 a month. You can purchase a subscription for the whole year too, and they are currently running a sale on the one year subscription so be sure to check the web site for more information.
Each grade level has over 10,000 practice problems. Each grade level also contains over 150 lessons to help your children master math in a fun interactive way. Every time the kids work on a lesson, an email with a progress report is sent to the parent. The parent also has a dashboard within the program to review progress and establish or change goals and rewards.
There are three basic parts to each lesson: Instruction, Practice, and Quiz. Each lesson is progressive and the child cannot proceed to the next lesson unless they completed the previous lesson and have unlocked the next one. They watch an animated coach teach the lesson, then they practice the skill they learned and the coach will help them with the answers they missed during practice, and they can ask the coach for help reading the problem if needed. Then the kids take a quiz and use the skill they learned. They are not graded on the practice problems, but are graded on the quiz. They can retake the quiz if needed.
How to use the parent dashboard (there are student videos also available):
Parent LEARN from GPA LEARN on Vimeo.
Each grade level is also assigned their own animated coach. The coach takes your kids through each lesson and the corresponding practice problems with a fun story-line theme that is continued throughout the grade level. If your child switches grade levels they will have a different coach.
An option I really like within the program is that if the student places the mouse cursor over the words of the practice problems or directions, the coach will read the written material to the kids too. Kids can choose to read their practice problems themselves, or they can read along while the coach reads the problem. I have several kids who are independent learners and don’t need this feature, but I also have a child who has some reading challenges and this feature is great for him. It is also great for my younger children who are not yet strong readers. I am very thankful GPALOVEMATH has included this read along option.
Another great feature of GPALOVEMATH is the opportunity to earn motivational rewards for a certain amount of lessons completed. The parent decides the amount of lessons to be completed and what rewards are possibilities to be earned. The rewards are chosen randomly by the program after the parent sets up the list and the frequency. So for example, my younger kids earn a reward for every seven lessons completed, and my older kids earn a reward for every 15 lessons completed. Rewards can be anything from special family outings, a meal chosen by the student, a game, inviting a friend over, a gift card to shop or out to eat, etc. The point is the motivations are personal rewards chosen by the parent that their student is interested in achieving and creates a positive experience.
How we used this program:
We received a one year subscription for our family to use and we added this program into our daily homeschool routine. I used this program everyday with all of my kids. Each child spends about 20 minutes a day working on it.
4th and 5th Grade Level
Even though my oldest two boys are beyond this program already (6th and 8th grades), I had them use the 5th grade level for review. They both really liked it and found it both challenging and fun. I think this program provided a good review and practice of their math and problem solving skills.
Here is a short video showing the 5th grade coaches, Dino and Nina, and you can see why learning math with these Super Hero coaches would appeal kids, especially boys who have a hard time sitting still for schoolwork.
5th Grade Learning Coaches from GPA LEARN on Vimeo.
Another one of my sons started in 4th grade level, but after a dozen lessons, we moved him to the 5th grade level. It was a personal choice because the 4th grade has several spiritual aspects mixed in with the learning theme.
The 4th grade coach is a wizard and seeks out the advice of an older wizard. This touched a deep spiritual issue for our family. Our kids have not been exposed to sorcery themes in any form: books, games, school work, etc. Our faith instructs us to avoid all forms of sorcery, and my son and I both felt uncomfortable listening to the owl and the story-line of the wizard as his coach.
Within the 4th grade theme is the use of crystal balls, magic potions, an Owl Wizard Counsel, portals, etc. Like wizards and witches, they actually search the forest floor for ingredients for mystical potions, in this case to give them enhanced mental skills.
My son was very discouraged about listening to a wizard, using a crystal ball to help solve math problems, and hunting for ingredients for magic potions.
A few lessons called him also a wizard and a fledgling (inferring a young owl bird, or young apprentice). He shared his heart with me. He was ready to stop using the program.
Our Christian faith teaches us to avoid all things that have the appearance of sorcery:
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,”
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.”
I was coming to the same conclusions about the 4th grade materials and researching what options we had, or if we need to discontinue. I found out we could change his grade level easily at anytime. I am proud of him for his conviction, for his faith in action, and his spiritual awareness to recognize that even though this is a cute animation and fun way to learn math, it leads children into a familiarity with sorcery, and touches on a spiritual teaching that goes against our Christian faith.
I explained we had the option of changing to a different grade level with a different coach right from his dashboard screen. The wizard theme is only in grade 4. Kids are able to work on lessons in any of the K-5 levels. So I gave him the option of going down to 3rd grade for review, or going up to 5th grade. Seeing that we are almost through with his 4th grade school year, he wanted to move up and try out the next grade level. He was quite excited to start 5th grade math.
He loves the 5th grade level! 5th grade has a completely different story-line theme as I mentioned before, and he gets to be part of the Super Hero team and solve problems to help save the town from the bad guy, Dr. Division. This fits his skills and interest level to a “T”. I am really glad we had options and could work out a better learning scenario for him.
1st Grade Level
My daughter is working in the 1st grade level. Her coach is an Australian Penguin. Of course she would prefer if her coach could have been a beautiful princess, but she definitely enjoys learning with PI the Penguin. Early in her lessons, PI taught her to use the STAR method to solve math problems.
S = Study the problem.
T = Think about what you have learned.
A = Apply what you have learned to solve the problem.
R = Review your answers and check to see if they make sense.
She is looking forward to progressing her 1st grade math skills and getting the “girl” coach when she gets into the 2nd grade level.
There is a girl coach named Adirehs in the second grade, and there is both a boy and a girl coach (Nina) in the 5th grade. Her preference is definitely to have the girl coaches, and anything pink or purple.
Another son is working in the Kindergarten level. He loves it because he gets to help be a detective, go on a mission, and find clues as he solves math problems. In addition to early math problems, he is also learning vocabulary (all the levels learn some vocabulary, but presented differently for each theme). The lessons begin with a new vocabulary word for him to learn and is used throughout the lesson.
He loves the engaging animations and feels like he is accomplishing a big goal by helping to “solve the case” as the assistant detective.
Each time my kids log in and work on a lesson everyday. Whether they complete the lesson or not, I get an email with an update. I know exactly how much of the lesson they did and if they watched or skipped the video or did practice problems too. One of my older boys will skip the practice problems and go straight to the quiz. With the constant updates regarding their progress, I know where they are truly struggling or if it is just a case of not practicing. Then we can discuss it and go back and try again.
I do like this program. Kids can work on math in a fun interactive way. It keeps the parents informed and involved as needed. I would recommend this online learning program for grades K-3 and grade 5. I cannot in good conscience recommend grade 4 for children because their hearts and minds are impressionable and there is a cross over with spiritual issues of sorcery mentioned above. However the other grade levels do not have these issues and I highly recommend them.
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Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about GPALOVEMATH.