How UnLock Math Works:
When your child logs into UnLock Math, they see a dashboard with a list of everything they will be doing. They click on the lesson they want to complete, and the program starts.
Each lesson contains a warm up, the video, and plenty of practice. References notes can be printed off and used as a resource to remember what was learned- and your child can use them to look back if they need to in following lessons.
The question screens look like this. The questions are shown one at a time in the top corner of the page. It’s pretty plain and simple- without any distractions. Your child will need paper and a pencil to work their problems as they sit at the computer as the program moves on and gets more challenging.
Bug is great at math, but he doesn’t particularly like math. Finding programs that he will do without getting totally cranky is always a challenge. I am happy to report that UnLock Math has been a tear-free experience for us. Because it is summer time, and we have been using this program as an introduction to pre-algebra (which he will be taking this fall with a live teacher) I have been having him set a timer and he is supposed to use the program for 30 minutes a day. This gives him time to do a couple tasks and watch the video, but it is a much slower pace than he would need to be doing if he was taking math full-time. (If you plan on using UnLock Math as your curriculum next year, you should plan on 45 min to an hour of math a day.) I LOVE that this program comes with a pacing guide, so you can see how much work your child needs to complete each day (and easily plug it into your planner). It comes down to 156 days of work, which is 40 weeks if you do it 4 days a week, and 32 if you do it 5 days a week.
At the end of the lesson, he can print off the work he did for me to place in his portfolio and so we can look over problems he missed together. The program is completely independent, so there isn’t much for me to do unless there is a problem he got wrong that needs reviewed. When he submits assignments, the score is given immediately, but they aren’t “worked” so he won’t get that step by step solution to see where he went wrong. Luckily, it’s easy for me to look at the video lesson so I can help him out if I need to.
The only thing I would like to see this program change is their reporting features. To be fair, this is my sticking point about most online programs, but when my child is working on the computer, I often lose my ability to follow along and know right away when there is an issue. Sure, I could log into the program to see how he did, but most of the time when Bug is working on UnLock Math, I am at work, and I would pay good money to have the program email me when he logs off for the day with information on how long he worked, what he completed, and how he scored.
The program does track all this information in the grade book, which is extensive and easy to use. You can log in to view and print progress reports from the dashboard, and see right where your child is at.
“I like that there is a real teacher on the video and I can see her talking. She seems really nice, and it’s better than a computer teaching me. They also give you warm-ups and practices so there is a lot to work on before the quiz. Sometimes it can take a long time, but sometimes it’s not so bad because I learn it fast. I wish it made it easier to see where I left off on what I should do next. It needs a star or something next to what I am supposed to do. I think sometimes I get it out of order. But I do like it!”