Monday, December 7, 2009

ONLINE Learning~MY Experiences AND Take on It!

A FaceBook buddy is asking about online gaming which leads me to think about our experiences in online learning systems! I have to confess that I have been tempted and succumbed on more than one occasion to purchase online computer based curricula.  AM I HAPPY about this? At this point I have found the ones I've tried to be BUST!

All things considered, I need to explain. 

The first thing we tried was Switched On Schoolhouse by the makers of Alpha and Omega.  It's an online complete curricula for whole grades, and we tried the 3rd grade with our daughter.  It was too isolating for a child that age; meaning that a child does not need to sit computer screen or TV screened for that matter ALL day long~and she was away from my guidance, love and support in learning! I do not recommend this for complete curricula for a young child and read on....

Then I did use Teaching Textbooks Math 7, and PreAlgebra with her as well as her brother.  Different kids, right? ABSOLUTELY! He has thrived on this system.  She disliked TT because she said it was too in depth, hence we tried ALEKS math online.  OK..need to explain what these two are and how they are different.  Teaching Textbooks has a work book and if Math 7 is web based and will self grade.  PreAlgebra is not web based, but has CDs and I graded.  THIS WAS GOOD because I was much more hands on, verses the temptation to let it all get away from me and find I have done with ALEKS that there were learning issues. . .ALEKS is completely web based~no text.  We tried to mitigate this with having our daughter write the problems in a notebook which just slowed her down.  But trying to come up with away to use more than just the key board, mouse and computer screen was challenging! THEN the PIE~which is the only evaluation record that correlates the Items Mastered list and Items (my child) is ready to learn list.  Ha! After 9 mos of working and over 100 plus hours of working~she only mastered around 59% of the program. HOW this occurred was that there are evaluations that are periodically given by the system and you can gain or decrease in your learning she failed.  Ha!

The real sap sucker on this is that we then went BACK to TEACHING TEXTBOOKS and pretested to see if you was ready for Alg I~NOT! So after 1/2 a year in PreAlg  and 9 mos (yes, she worked this summer) in ALEKS , AND she is not ready for her high school math~NOW we are heading back into TT to see what we can do...

BUT it's not just math I tried computerized learning~

I went with Advantage Learning's Writing program which is web based.  The program does not except for an evaluation actually teach the way to write.  FRUSTRATING and a B U S T!

THEN~there is foreign language...take TELL ME MORE which has been the BEST thing in our computerized learning arsenal.  Both children find these to be user friendly AND they are learning the material! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Daughter is learning Japanese and son is learning Spanish!

Overall, I not going to encourage a child to do more than one course or some supplaments on the computer for school.  OUR CHILDREN NEED US~not a computer!!  There's some guilt here on my part, but now I know~and I should have~that nothing replaces a good teacher! NOTHING! Using small doses is not bad, just be AWARE that learning is actually taking place...

ON another bright note, we do use online books like the public domain ones, and when they were younger, the phonics gamed,  I would never suggest this phonics program to stand independent of your care in schooling your young child, but if they like "games" these are FREE and worthy of the educational benefits it they offer!

Blessings, and NOW YA KNOW~from me, anyway...what's your experience?

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