I don’t know about you, but 80% of my homeschooling struggles revolve around math. What program should I use with each child? Are our struggles because of the curriculum I have or something else? Are they really understanding the content? Do they really have their math facts memorized? What do we do next? Am I smart enough to teach advanced math?
(Imagine me waking up out of a dead sleep to stress over these things. It’s totally happened… especially when I was trying to teach long division.)
Earlier this year, one of my friends sent me a link to LIVE Online Math and asked me if I had heard of the program. She knew I had been relying heavily on online programs recently due to taking on extra obligations at work, and I really needed something that would help keep the kids on track and ease some of the stress and worry on my plate during the school year.
Bug, my oldest, is right in the in-between of math. He’s completed elementary math with little issue, but I was not convinced he was ready for pre-algebra, and all the advanced math that would follow. LIVE Online Math offered both video courses, and live teacher-led math courses, starting with a pre-pre-algebra class.
The class I signed Bug up for meets three times a week for an hour each. It’s a solid middle school level math course, intended to prepare a child for pre-algebra… how perfect is that?
What is the class like?
These classes meet on a video platform. When your child logs in they are able to see the instructor, and a blackboard space, as well as a chat box. During class, they can ask and answer questions in the chat box, verbally or on the whiteboard. The instructor can have the kids work in “breakout rooms” which are basically small groups. You can see the classroom set up here on the LIVE Online Math website to get a better feel for how it works.
Between classes, kids work on their textbook homework, which is listed online, and on the Infinite Math program online. Infinite Math has practice problems for the kids to review concepts online.
I had planned on having Bug miss class this past week while we traveled, and ultimately, we did everything we could to make sure he could attend the live lecture. Math class is just something that your child shouldn’t miss whenever possible. Lectures are recorded so kids can make them up in case of illness or travel, but it’s not ideal. You want them to be able to ask questions and participate in order to have a clear understanding of the concepts.
**What impressed me most about LIVE Online Math**
I love how the instructor, John, interacts with the students in class. He’s basically exactly like my middle school math teacher- he jokes when appropriate, and is firm and strict when he needs to be. I feel like it takes a special kind of person to enjoy teaching middle school math, and John absolutely does a beautiful job with his students. Bug clearly has a respect for his instructor, and has a desire to do well in his class. He doesn’t want to let his teacher down, and he works hard to be sure he’s completed his homework so he can participate in class. I love seeing him motivated and encouraged. John has a kind but no-nonsense approach, and it clearly works with my middle school boy.
I have been so impressed with his management of the classroom, and how he communicates often with me as a parent. We’ve struggled a little this school year (more on that later) and every step along the way, John has emailed and called me and made sure I was aware when grades were slipping or when I needed to keep a closer eye on things. If I were the teacher, I would probably be annoyed at me (just being honest here) because we have experienced a bit of a learning curve into middle school math, but John has been patient, supportive and clear with his expectations.
**What did we struggle with?**
I feel like our struggles will help you have a better idea of what kind of student would do well in LIVE Online Math and what you should look out for if you sign your child up. Bug is almost 11 and is in that fun middle age where he doesn’t always believe me when I tell him what he needs to do or how he needs to do it. This class has (understandably so) required him to be responsible, organized and on top of his studies. He has not always lived up to the requirements. We had a week of class where he was doing other things online rather than paying attention to the lectures. He’s wasted time during homework time and has turned in sub-par work. He’s chosen to not do his best on tests. He has learned that there are consequences for falling behind and I have learned that there are consequences for not always supervising as closely as I should have.
I feel like this class in particular has been training for us as a family- slacking off isn’t an option, and success is dependent on effort. While Bug needs to learn to be a responsible student, I also needed to learn (and am still learning) that I have to be 100% hands on for him at this point. I’ve spoken to John about our struggles in class, and he assures me that not all kids have as steep of a learning curve as Bug had, and as kids get older and more mature their parents can be more and more hands off. I plan on having Bug continue in this program for a while, and hope that we too get to the sweet spot where I can micromanage a bit less.
**What else do you need to know?**
Your child can join LIVE Online Math in the new year if there is space available in the classes- you’ll just need to work closely with John to be sure that you are choosing the correct level and that your child can thrive in the class mid-year. You can join the video based courses at any time, and they are a wonderful option for families who can not commit to attendance on a regular basis.
Courses are available from Pre-Pre-Algebra through Geometry and Algebra II. I would recommend these classes for just about anyone who has a child who would thrive with a live math class, and is responsible enough to complete their homework on time and attend regularly.
**Save with the code d511a2 for any LIVE Online Math Video Course purchase through Dec. 31, 2016: **