Great Parents Academy (also known as GPA LEARN) is a new math program that is completely online. They have a wonderful full curriculum program for kids in grades Kindergarten through Fifth. I was so excited to get placed on this review because Bug just finished his old computer based math curriculum at the end of the year, and I really wanted to try something new with him. I got him signed up to try the fifth grade level of GPALOVEMATH.
How GPA Works
Great Parents Academy is web based, meaning you need an internet connection to use the program. It is story based, and stars super heroes who are out to save the world from a bad guy. Each lesson is a challenge meant to stop “Dr. Division” from wreaking havoc somewhere in the world. The program narrates the story, and talks your child through the concepts. It also includes a text box with the same information, so visual children will be able to read the lesson instead of listening to it.
When you open the program, your child will see multiple paths they can choose from, and from there, they complete their math lesson for the day. This program includes worked examples, narrated lessons with vocabulary, practice problems, and quizzes. At the fifth grade level, your child will need a pencil and paper to work the problems before they select their answer (unless they are really, really good!).
When your child finishes their lesson for the day, you’ll be sent an email letting you know what lesson they chose to complete, how they did, and if they need to try it again. I love this feature because I see right away when Bug is struggling, and I can intervene right there to walk him through the concepts and fix the problem before it gets out of control. If he does well, I get the email right away, and I can congratulate him on a job well done. Even if I am doing somewhere else (or if I am not home while he is working) I can track his progress!
Our Experience with GPALOVEMATH
Bug has loved this program, and is thriving with it. I really wish they had more levels, because he’ll outgrow it after this year. The “Dr. Division” story line has kept him interested, and he loves that he can choose from three different pathways to have a little more control over what he is learning at any given time. For example, he struggled with decimal lessons, so when he was frustrated, he was able to switch to the Order of Operations for a while, before coming back to try Decimals again when he had a chance to cool off and let the lesson sink in.
One thing I absolutely love about this program is that it is rewards based. As a parent, I can sign into the admin account, and schedule rewards for the kids based on the amount of work they do in the program. I was able to pick from a list of rewards and even add my own, so as Bug works, he can be rewarded with things like a later bedtime, building a blanket fort, baking cookies, or even a new kindle book. These rewards can be as simple as you like, but they are a wonderful motivation for the kids.
The first week Bug worked on the program, he was a little hesitant to jump in (as he always is… I mean, who loves math anyways?) but after he earned that first reward, he came running to me with the biggest grin on his face. He was so proud to show me that he earned a cookie baking treat with me, and I was so happy to drop what I was doing to go reward him for his hard work. It’s been an awesome treat to see him go from dreading math time, to asking to do his work. It’s totally worth the little bit of extra effort to fulfill the rewards I picked for him to see him working so hard.
The one problem we have had with this program is that it is narrated with a robotic voice, and it just speaks way too quickly for the kids to understand. I had started with both boys using this product, but very quickly had to let Mr. Man off the hook because he could not keep up and ended every lesson in tears. He doesn’t read well enough to follow along with the entire script, and the fast voice was just way too overwhelming for him. Bug does much better with the program because he can read, and the information needed is written on the screen as well as spoken aloud. The voice annoys him because he can’t keep up, but he is able to make do. I actually contacted GPA for Bug (who is working on the 5th grade level) to see if there was any way to adjust the speed, and the good news is, they said they are working on replacing the robot voice. When they do, I think this program is going to be one of the most popular computer based math programs on the market, but that voice really does have to go!
Overall, I think this is a stellar program, and I am going to be anxiously waiting for an announcement when they have changed the voice. When they do, Mr. Man will be the first kid to sign up to use it! In the meantime, Bug is going to keep using the program and finish out his year with it.