Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review: Kaplan Online Tutoring, Follow-up

When the boys first started using Kaplan Online Tutoring, we knew that Colin was a little behind in math and Nate may have been a bit behind in reading according to their grade levels.  The assessments that the boys took provided me with similar information so I was eager to see the results after the boys worked with the program.

Colin got through the assessments and worked mostly on math over the last couple months.  I think a combination of the extra practice from Kaplan and some dedicated assistance from a teacher's aide has brought him up to grade level in math.  Before starting he had a goal of going beyond his current grade level, but he left that goal behind.

Nate finally got through the assessments (he was stuck for a bit on the language arts one) and had a hard time sitting down and working through any of the activities.  He started with good intentions and worked on the assignments, but after a few weeks he was partly frustrated, and partly not interested in devoting any more time in his day to schoolwork.  Even though the program is designed to look fun with animations, Nate lost interest.  He is a child who needs to spend time outdoors every day, and a couple short recesses wasn't enough for him.  He didn't want to spend any more time learning, or sitting in front of a computer, so we struggled trying to get  him to do much with Kaplan after the initial couple weeks.

Last year, when we were still homeschooling, the boys used an online curriculum.  Because of that experience, they were pretty familiar with how to work with the program and get the assignments completed.  Unfortunately, the assignments bored them a bit after the first couple weeks, and it wasn't something that they looked forward to completing.

I think the assessments the program provides are excellent.  They were thorough enough to clearly determine the academic strengths and weaknesses of each child. I also appreciated the reports that I could review to see what specific items they were working on, and what they had mastered since their last visit.  I wish I could see a report that showed the amount of time they worked on various assignments.

When I asked them last week for feedback, Nate said he did not care for the program at all because it was just too much and he had to read too much.  Colin said he was frustrated with the amount of practice that he had to go through, but he was happy to see his math grade rise as he worked through the program, and appreciated the opportunity for extra help.

This year has been an adjustment as we moved from homeschooling to public school.  It has shifted and cut our free time dramatically and that has been harder than I anticipated (even though I knew it was going to happen.) I think, for our family, adding on another academic piece may have been too much so soon after the change.  Because of that, I wouldn't want other parents to make a choice based on the fact that my kids weren't completely enthusiastic about Kaplan Online Tutoring.

If your child needs extra academic help, I think the online program is definitely something to consider.  It is a time commitment, like anything else that is important! One definite advantage to the online program, though, is that you can fit in the time whenever it comes available -- whether that is out somewhere where there is wi-fi, or an early Saturday afternoon at home.

If you want to try it out for yourself, Kaplan is offering a special deal for my readers, through Mom Central.  Through this LINK, you can receive one month free (a $29 value)!  A month will give you and your child plenty of time to determine if the program is right for them, and give you a good idea of the possible progress.  When you click through the link, choose BUY PROGRAM NOW and use the code FB1MO to receive one month of online tutoring at no cost! (You can also check out the details here.)

*Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a Test Drive Program by Mom Central on behalf of Kaplan and received the products necessary to  facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me  for taking the time to participate.*

1 comment:

  1. Online tutoring is indeed a great option for those busy families who are looking for extra help for their children in school. The key is not only to shop around for tutors who are affordable, can speak native English, and are knowledgeable about their subjects, but have actual teaching experience. With this extensive classroom experience, a good tutor can understand right away the best approach to take when working with their students at a variety of levels.
    My online classroom, "Math Class with Terry V" offers a customized, targeted learning session for free, just to find out what is needed in the way of support and to consult with parents. Check it out for a first free session. Learning directed by an experienced math teacher online!


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