My cousin, Jannelle (who, incidentally, is Gavin’s mom), introduced me to ALEKS early this month. She said that it’s a highly recommended math program for homeschoolers. Mica already started with Saxon Algebra this fall (and she wasn’t having any problems), but I still had her try out ALEKS to see which one she likes better. She chose ALEKS.

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is an online math program which uses artificial intelligence to assess and instruct students. Assessments are presented in a color-coded pie chart, as shown below.

(This is Mica’s current pie chart for Algebra 1 after 2 weeks of using ALEKS.)

The size of the slices represents the importance of each topic in the program. The darker colored part of a slice indicates how close the student is to mastering that part of the program – and this is what Mica is thrilled about because she can clearly see her progress. She gets motivated to fill up those pie slices. As for me, I like that it’s one less subject I have to worry about. I can check Mica’s progress and attendance reports anytime online or just wait for them to be emailed to me every week. The downside is that it’s $19.95 a month or $179.95 for 1 year – which isn’t really bad.

This is her setup every morning during math time. She still uses pen and paper to do her computations, and then she just types in her answer on the netbook. She’s allowed to use a calculator in certain problems. I don’t have to worry about her using the calculator occasionally since ALEKS also drills her in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to ensure her mastery of the math tables.