Still plugging away. Progress thus far:
Eldest needs a little extra help, doesn’t always understand the explanation on first reading. That’s par for the course; we’ve run into this problem in every math program. It takes lots of repetition and patient hands-on application for a concept to stick.
She’s not complaining, but plugging along. I need to hover, in her case, to make sure she’s reading the explanations right.
She reviewed topics practiced and learned yesterday, before going on to today’s work.
Middlest has already figured out a workaround–how to find the answer and plug it in without doing any actual math. This makes math time go by quickly and without effort, but if she gives in to the temptation to take the quick-and-easy route it very likely will catch up with her when I test her on the material. (I need to check to see if Aleks offers a test to check for understanding of material already covered.)
In other words, she’s figured out how to cheat the system and not get penalized. *sigh* At least, I don’t know if the program is recording her actions and recognizing the cheating for what it is. I’ll have to email the Aleks people and make sure they know there’s a hole they might need to consider plugging. We’ve had the same problem with other programs–the child is just too clever for her own good.
So I need to hover with this one, too, not because she doesn’t “get” it, but because of character issues.
Edited to add:
The people at Aleks have already anticipated this problem! Here is an excerpt from an email in answer to my query: (Did I mention great customer service?)
ALEKS does catch that your daughter is using the explanation and the back button to solve the presented problems. Because she is using this method, the “completed” problems are not credited as correct answers toward mastery of the attempted topic, and that topic will never be added to her pie chart as mastered.
Youngest is alternating between having a blast and whining. She doesn’t want to try, when something new pops up. (“I hate Algebra. It’s so hard.”) And then she starts to slowly work through the new concept, whatever it might be (today she chose to do proportions in the Algebra portion of her program), and when it clicks, all of a sudden it’s “fun” and she’s whizzing through the problems and looking for more.
She’s a hands-on kid, and really enjoys manipulating things even in the virtual world. For example, she adored drawing angles using a virtual pencil, ruler, and protractor.
The program has a built-in calculator that the student can click on at appropriate times. It’s not always available. It seems to be there to save the user from having to do tedious calculations, but it’s “taken away” at times so the student is forced to do some of their own calculating. (A clever student at our house, of course, might just bring up the Windows calculator. *sigh*) Anyhow, back to youngest: She loves using the Aleks calculator, and cheered her way through the lesson on proportions.
When I discovered the “Review” button today, she cheered to see that she could “play” with the problems she’d already mastered, the ones that no longer pop up on her “progress pie” because the program has noted her mastery.
She hated the speed drills (QuickTables) until I told her that the computer is keeping track of her time and she’s actually racing herself. Still, it’s tedious, typing one number after another as fast as you can go, first single digits and then double digits, again and again, with no end in sight. The program keeps prompting at the end of a series of numbers, “Let’s do it again!” …and the answer, at least here, becomes a groan after the first three or four sets. I think the QuickTables are eventually supposed to be a times tables drill, at the 5th grade level, but we haven’t gotten past the typing one- and two-digit numbers, one after the other.
I don’t need to watch over her shoulder, like with her sisters, though I occasionally stop and watch for a few moments and cheer her on.