About LearnBop for Families
LearnBop is a company that offers an online math help program to both schools and families (such as homeschoolers). The LearnBop for Families subscription is what we've been using recently. It is an online, primarily self-directed, personalized, and adaptive math help program for grades 3-12, offering step-by-step instruction to facilitate learning. It appears to be entirely secular (a.k.a. not faith-based). A unique aspect of the program is that it's designed to seamlessly identify learning gaps or missing knowledge from prior or current grade levels through the "warm-ups" at the beginning of a lesson. It is recommended that a child use LearnBop regularly, at least one hour a week.
From what we’ve seen during our review of mostly 4th grade level material, LearnBop for Families uses a series of brief explanatory videos as a primary instruction tool, with optional extra videos for additional learning. This instruction is followed by practice questions, referred to as “bops”, allowing students to show that they understand the math concept and to gain extra practice. During the practice problems/questions, responses are entered through a variety of interactions: selecting from multiple choices, filling in a blank, dragging answers to the right spot, shading, graph plotting, etc. The interactive methods vary somewhat to keep a child more engaged and thinking.
If a student struggles with finding the proper response, the program offers a step-by-step walk-through to make the process very clear, encouraging the student to enter the right answer at each step along the way. After which they repeat the incorrect question (or one similar to it) to be sure they now understand how to do it. Once a student completes or masters a particular step/concept by answering several "bops" correctly, they are able to move on to another math topic. There is plenty of feedback on exactly how much progress they are making through each step of the course. There are also incentives to keep making progress. They have motivational quotes and phrases sprinkled throughout the pages and virtual badges (which I believe are called “learning achievements”) for various accomplishments while they learn. Even effort is rewarded with achievements, such as when they don't give up or watch several videos.
LearnBop is based on the State Standards and users can clearly see this on each lesson with the specific standard listed boldly at the top of the webpage. Parents are able to choose the level and type of “roadmap” – or learning path – that their child will follow as they progress through the program. They can choose to work through the lessons by grade level or by subject area (such as geometry or statistics and probability, for example). This can be adjusted by the parent, at any time, such as if focus is needed on a particular topic or the grade level needs to be changed. Parents can easily track their child’s progress and see exactly what they are working on through progress reports, percentages, and graphs. This progress information is quite comprehensive, showing which topics and standards have been covered and to what extent, the date they last worked on a lesson, and how much time was spent on it.
At the time of this blog post, the cost of LearnBop for Families starts at $14.95/month. (There is also a prepaid 12-month option for a better deal!) They offer a 30-day money back guarantee and you can cancel at anytime. It is also worth mentioning that they currently partner with the non-profit Go Project, which provides educational support to under-resourced children in need, by donating a subscription to LearnBop for each subscription purchased. (They refer to this as “buy one, give one”.)
We are using the Family Plan of LearnBop for Families, which allows up to four students. There is also a Single Student Plan.) Both Big Sis and Lil’ Sis, entering grades 1 and 4, used LearnBop during our review period these last several weeks. My youngest used it sporadically because the grade-level roadmaps start at 3rd grade, so she worked through basic subject area material instead, when she wanted to do so. My oldest used it regularly, usually about 4x/week. This program was not Big Sis’ favorite among the various options we’ve tried, but she still rated it above average. She did it without complaint, it did help her learn, and there were aspects she liked (read on to find out more). On the other hand, Lil' Sis really liked LearnBop more than most other programs she's done thus far. This difference of opinion illustrates how each child is different and no single program or curriculum is perfect for everyone. This, of course, is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling… that we can choose what is best for each individual according to their needs, wants, interests, and learning styles!
Both my children enjoyed seeing the progress they were making as shown by the percentage and “pie chart” on their dashboard, as well as on the line graphs that pop up after each practice questions ("bops"). They also appreciated that there were only 5-7 bops before they moved on to the next concept. Too much repetition of a topic that they understand makes my kids bored quickly and LearnBop seemed to move forward quickly enough for them.
The session for each new main topic begins with a “warm-up” in which my kids would answer several questions before instruction began. I thought this might be to place them at the correct level in the course material, but from what I understand, it is actually to identify any learning gaps that might need additional instruction. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it allows a child to skip ahead past material they know already, but it does identify missing knowledge that can then be presented to the child as remedial or review that they need in order to move on, to ensure they have a solid foundation to build upon.
Possible CONS (in our opinion)...
A LearnBop for Families subscription seems to be a good, competitive choice for an online math assistance program for homeschool families (and others too)! It is particularly well suited to those who would benefit from a step-by-step approach to working through problems, for new homeschoolers who would like to make sure they aren't missing standards or need to fill holes in their knowledge before moving on, for busy parents who want their child to work mostly independently, and for those kids who respond well to seeing their progress via charts and percentages (and/or parents who appreciate this as well).
If you'd like to see what other families think about LearnBop for Families, simply click on the banner below to find more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! This might be especially good for those of you with older children since there are reviews from families in other grades as well. You can also visit LearnBop at their website and on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about the company and what they have to offer.
I'm a homeschooling mom of two, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.