My kids enjoy playing games on the computer. When given a six month subscription to the online program from K5 Learning, I was thrilled. More educational games on the computer for up to four kids? Yes please!
The Placement Test
After signing up for a parent account, and student accounts for my Kindergartner, First Grader, and Second Grader, I spent some time learning more about the program.
Placement tests were recommended for reading and math, so I unlocked the assessments for each of the kids and had them cycle through.
Since my kids aren’t used to doing a lot of testing, I had them each do one test a day. Each only took thirty minutes or so, but I didn’t want burnout to affect the scores.
I was surprised, but pleased, to get an email with results from each instantly. The results were also available in my parent dashboard.
Let’s Talk Placement Tests
As a teacher, I understand that placement tests are designed to get too hard. But, if you’re a brand new homeschooling parent, it might surprise you to see your kindergartner being asked to read a long passage and answer questions.
It is not age appropriate, and no, your child is not behind if they can’t answer the question! Ask them to take a best guess and move on.
I realized that I hadn’t taken the time to explain this to my kids, and one ended up in tears during the math portion when questions about angles and division started appearing.
We talked about how the test was supposed to get too hard so it could see what was known and what wasn’t, and just to pick an answer.
In my opinion, the results of the placement test were very accurate. It broke down reading into the five major strands:
- Phonemic Awareness
- Sight Words
- Reading Comprehension
Math results were provided over three strands:
- Numbers and Operations
Problem areas matched the areas I knew about, and the placement into lessons seemed appropriate.
The strands above represent the instruction areas for this online learning program.
The Fun Part
Taking a test isn’t very fun (though game based breaks were built-in), so let’s spend some time talking about the fun part of the online program from K5 Learning.
Once logged in, the student dashboard is easy to navigate. They can pick between Reading/Math, or Spelling. There’s also a button to get worksheets to reinforce learning.
Oh, and the riddle. All the kids love reading the riddle and trying to figure it out!
After selecting Reading/Math (I just had my kids focusing on those two areas), this screen appears:
It’s super easy to navigate, and there aren’t any extra “options” where kids could end up on a lost rabbit trail.
The games provide clear spoken directions, and then students are able to use the mouse to play. I didn’t like that there was a “Stop” option at the bottom during the directions, because my kids all seemed to want to click on it. Then it closed the lesson. I know having a way to stop is important, but I just wish it wasn’t so red and noticeable for little ones!
Once the lesson is complete, a traffic light appears. Students have the option to continue (the green light) or stop (the red light). It was easy for the kids to self-select if they wanted to keep going or move on.
They usually decided to stop, though Sydney (grade K) really enjoyed them and would play a couple of at a time.
Since I really emphasize invented spelling during the early years to build reading and writing confidence, I didn’t have my kids complete any of the Spelling/Vocabulary lessons.
I spent some time exploring them though.
The dashboard here is a little less small child friendly, as there’s a drop down menu to change the number of words. An important aspect, but one you’ll want to teach your children how to use (or just set up the lesson for them!)
Here’s a screen shot of the Vocabulary Tutor. I didn’t like that there weren’t any directions given. A young child wouldn’t intuitively know what to do here (in my opinion).
The Spelling Tutor says a word, and children then type it into the box to spell. The words were age/grade appropriate (seemed to be sight words, though I’m not sure which list was used). But, the definition was taken straight from the dictionary and not restated in kid friendly terms.
A sample sentence was provided, with the spelling word in asterisks ***.
I’m sure this method would work well for some kids, but it wouldn’t have for my crew.
My Overall Impression
I liked the Reading/Math portion much more than the Spelling. Reading and math were game based and the kids enjoyed playing. It was nice to have an educational option (targeted to their abilities) they could use during their computer time.
The lessons were short, and ended before interested vanished. They covered important strands of reading and math.
I like how much control I had in the parent dashboard. I could have them skip lessons and adjust the difficulty level. This would be important if the placement test hadn’t worked out as well.
Keep in mind that K5 Learning is not meant to be your child’s full curriculum. It is a supplement. And as a supplement, it does a good job addressing problem areas.
Ready to sign up? You can get a 14 Day Free Trial (with no credit card required!!!) here. (aff. link)
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