Review: GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN

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My family recently had the opportunity to review GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN.  This is a web based math program for Kindergarten through Fifth grade children.  I was able to use this with my 3 oldest children including Joyanna who is just shy of 5 was placed in the kindergarten level, Ezra who is 7 I placed at the third grade level but he is my math wiz and could have easily gone for the 4th grade level, and Noah age 9 I also placed at the 3rd grade level.  My kiddos enjoy fun, game like learning experiences… who doesn’t?  I figured this would be a big hit and something great to be able to share with my readers.

Each grade consists of 150 lessons and 10,000 problems.  Phew!  10,000 problems!  That seems extreme!  It really isn’t but I’m glad my children didn’t have to know how much work they could possibly do! I’m feeling daunted just with the knowledge myself.  Really though that is fantastic.  One criticism I often have of some math programs (web based or workbooks) is that they don’t have enough practice and problems for the children to really solidify their skills.  That certainly isn’t the case with this program.  The format of the program is instruction, then the children practice what they  have learned, and they are eventually quizzed.  Most of it very video game like so my children hardly noticed.

The child is led through the program with animated characters.  Each level is given a “learning coach” or a character that serves as something like a teacher.  These coaches included Detective Digits, Abacus the robot, and others.  My children found these characters entertaining and fun.  Like most children they enjoy this sort of cartoon like interaction in their learning.  Unfortunately both of the characters my children used (Detective Digits and Abacus) had very robotic computerized voices and personally that drove me, as an adult, up the wall!  It seemed to me the didn’t record the voices of live actors for these characters, instead they used some sort of computer voice generator. Generally this didn’t bother my children tremendously but I think it made them less enthusiastic about the whole program than they might otherwise be.  While I sat with them and watched for most lessons during our review period I plan to solve own personal issue with these voices by handing them headphones in the future.

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Each day that your child logs on they can find 3 different lesson paths to follow.  As portions are completed new lessons are unlocked.

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Children earn points and badges for each lesson they complete depending on how well they score on the quiz.  They given fun titles such as Apprentice and Master.  Badges have fun titles such as Rock Star, Excellent, or Nice Job.  I really appreciate how positive the language is and how the program encourages children toward success.

Some of the fun elements added to spice things are fun mysteries to solve with clues given by the Learning Coach Character.  Some other elements that make the program easy for busy moms are “lifelines” or hints that help children solve the practice problems if they get stuck.  Plus, by clicking on the right text, problems can be read aloud.  This helped my kindergartener feel particularly successful.

The lessons themselves are very very detailed which has great pluses and minuses.  Every element for the objective the child to learn is incredibly drawn out.  It can slow things down a bit, especially when you have a child who picks up math easily.  It can feel a bit tedious for them.  For other children this is actually a blessing as they need the extra help and explanation.  I have one child who really benefited from the explanations and one who really could have moved ahead at a much faster rate.

Below you can see a few screen shots taken in the various modes.  If you look to the left you can see something of a dashboard that guides you through the program.

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This was a shot taken during the Instruction mode.

 

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This was taken during a practice mode… do you see the three lifelines on the left?

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This was during the quiz mode. You can see some of the badges they are working toward on the left.

We used this program 3 or 4 days a week during the review period.  All of my children were able to use the program pretty independently with just occasional help or guidance from me.  Sometimes they felt like they didn’t need to listen to the Instruction section and would try to rush through without really listening.  I like how the program will allow them to redo their work if mom decides they should.

This program has a system where parents can go in and setup real life rewards for hard work.  After so many lessons the child can earn a reward with the  parent.  The parent determines what the rewards are but there are many suggestions such as baking, parent doing a chore for a child, ice cream trips etc.  I set this up in the very beginning and set it to reward my children after 12 lessons.  I figured if we were using the program 3-4 times a week it would take AT LEAST 2 weeks if not more to earn the reward.  I set the interval up at such a distance because my family already has an incentive system for well done school work so I didn’t want to over do it.  Some how though the program told my children they earned a reward in the very first day.

Final Thoughts

Overall though we enjoyed the program.  Math skills were enhanced.  I saw forward progress in a lot of math objectives and for that I’m pretty pleased.  They kids liked the program well enough that they looked forward to using it most days.  I think this one is certainly worth a try, particularly if you have a reluctant math child who needs some great incentive and an interactive program for math.  There is a free trial so you can determine if this will really work for you before you buy it.

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