Mr. Intellectual chose to do Geometry. His results in the diagnostic test indicated that he could do either Honors Algebra I or Geometry. He is just finishing the Algebra I course with our normal curriculum, but he hasn’t done Geometry before, so he thought that sounded interesting. He’s really enjoying it, and says he is learning things already, even from just the first chapter, Fundamentals of Geometry. Here is a screenshot of the titles of the other chapters in this course:

Mr. Diligence has just finished his 8^{th} grade math, and his diagnostic test results indicated that he was ready for Algebra I, so that is what I chose for him. He is doing well with this course, too. Here is the table of contents for his course:

Each chapter is broken down into a number of subchapters, and a subchapter tends to be one day’s assignment. Here are the subchapters for the first chapter of Algebra 1:

Clicking on a subchapter title takes you to the actual lessons—here is the first one.

The student is to work his way down the page. First, they watch the video lectures, in order (and Mr. Diligence quickly discovered that, for the lecture to show that it had been watched, he had to go back to the original screen to load the next one, instead of just going from one to the next).

There are worksheets to go along with each lesson; what works best for my boys is to print the worksheet before starting the lesson, then do the exercises that go along with each lecture before going on to the next lecture.

After watching all the lectures, doing the worksheet and checking it with the answer key, they do the “Thinkwell Exercise.” This is an assessment with multiple-choice answers. There is an option to print the exercise so it is easy to work the problems on paper, and then choose the correct one on the screen. One of my boys likes to do that; the other does them mentally, most of the time! Each question is graded immediately. The correct answer is given, and whether you got it correct or wrong, an explanation is given as to how the correct answer can be found.

At the end of each subchapter there are two review worksheets, and then a quiz, which can be taken as many times as the student wants to, and each chapter has a test at the end. The test can only be taken once, but there is a practice test which can be taken as many times as you want to.

The lectures average 2-5 minutes long. The teacher discusses his topic thoroughly, and to the right of the screen are several text boxes illustrating what he is talking about. He also writes on a whiteboard to illustrate his points. His voice is quite nice to listen to—something I appreciate! The boys have found it a bit hard to hear, though, either because it is on the quiet side or because my old computer’s speakers aren’t the best anymore, so they use headphones. That seems to solve the problem (and cause less distraction for others in the room!).

I found it fairly easy to figure out how to use these courses. This sidebar is very useful in going from one page to another. The daily schedule can be found in the Resources tab; quizzes and tests are on the Assessments tab.

To see how my sons are doing, I found that I can log in to their account and click on “My Grades” at the top of the screen. It shows me at a glance how well they have done with the Thinkwell Exercises. I have encouraged them to do the exercises a few times if they are struggling with something.

I am quite favorably impressed with what I have seen so far of these courses! It looks like just what we have been needing. Mr. Diligence commented that he finally understands one of the concepts taught, which is something he had been doing in his 8^{th} grade math but didn’t understand. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to let them try a different teaching style. If you have children who are struggling with their math, it may be worthwhile to try out Thinkwell. They have quite a range of courses available—look at this list! They offer a 14-day free trial, and diagnostic tests. Either of these would be a good way to determine if this math course will work for your family.

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