Friday, October 23, 2020

Thinkwell Homeschool REVIEW

 Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 


Where do I start?  Math.  It's complicated.  I'm pretty good at math, but my high schooler, not so much. I'm sure it has a lot to do with his dyslexia and of course just plain not wanting to do it.  When I had the chance to get some help from a live teacher I jumped on the opportunity.  I am so glad I chose to give Thinkwell's Instructor-led Geometry from Thinkwell Homeschool a try!!  Wow.  I did have some trouble creating my account but they helped me get on track pretty quickly and easily.  Once we were set up I could see how wonderful the organization of the program was.  I received not only one but two full semesters of access to this course.  It is an NCAA approved online math program and will need a device to access the lessons and an internet connection.

There are set dates for each semester but you are able to work at your own pace to keep up or catch up with the lessons.  I don't recommend that you get behind though because it moves at a pretty good clip.  We are currently struggling with being behind right now because thanks to this wonderful program I found out that my son's Algebra skills were severely lacking!!  I won't go into the long story but when he took Algebra 1 two years ago he did very well.  I'm not sure how he pulled it off because he seems to have forgotten even just the very basic algebra skills.  We are working on that now so he can get on with the actual Geometry lessons.  He has completed lessons, but we are going back and starting over so he has a strong foundation.

Sample of calendar

Sample lesson plan

Algebra?  What do you mean Algebra?  I didn't remember that you need basic algebra for geometry so the first two weeks in this course are just that, a review in algebra to prepare you for what lies ahead.  If you have a student who aced Algebra 1 or just doesn't need the review you can have them take the practice test and then the Algebra Review Test and move on to week 3 right from the start.

What do I like about this program?  It is so well organized and moves you along at a nice pace.  Everything is taught in what I feel is bite-sized pieces.  We receive a weekly email that contains two printouts (pdf files), the Weekly To-Do List and the Weekly Warm-Up problem(s).  The Weekly To-Do List is gold to me!  It takes you step by step for the week on what to do.  You complete the tasks one by one and check them off as done! I also get emails twice weekly reminding me of the online office hours.

Is your student struggling, needing help on a problem, or just has a general question?  Then be sure they attend office hours twice weekly with Julie (live teacher) and Sarah (live teaching assistant).  Office hours are held twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays for us) for one hour.  They are wonderful and are able to take your student(s) step by step through a problem using their online whiteboard.  They interact with the kids and play math games too!  They use Zoom as their meeting platform and it has been such a help to my student. Julie's vivacious personality and her calm spirit have really connected with my oppositional and struggling high schooler.  I was ready to quit but she has a good rapport with my son and I think we are going to be able to get through this once I get him caught back up.  We would not have been behind if he had followed his instructions to complete all his worksheets.  I should have watched him more closely and noticed that all the work was not getting completed.

That being said, if you have a struggling student or one who is good at working around the curriculum (circumventing the system), you may need to be more involved to be sure they are completing what they need to be doing and staying on task.  If you have a good strong independent learner then they will thrive in this program.

Help videos with Julie

Julie helps you every step of the way

The general flow starts with printing out your weekly to-do list and warm-up exercise.  The lessons consist of live and recorded sessions with the Geometry Instructor, Julie Welch.  The weekly online recorded lessons are conducted by Professor Edward Burger who takes you through the lesson notes and provides examples of the weekly topics covered in the homework.  Sarah Flood is the teaching assistant who helps Julie with the weekly office hour sessions.  Samantha is the moderator whom I have had contact with due to the problems my student was having.  They contacted me personally to notify me of his struggles and have worked with me extensively to get him back on track.  There are anywhere from one to three video lessons per week depending on the topic(s) covered and whether there are quizzes or tests involved.  You have unlimited attempts on the interactive practice, quizzes, and practice tests.  It allows your student to be very prepared for the test. You can view your student's grades from the dashboard link in the course account. There are also parent reports that keep you updated on your student's progress (I have not been getting these due to my son's issues in the program, but I am working with them on fixing this).

A typical week might look like this:
  • Print out the to-do list and warm-up problem(s)
  • Attempt to do the warm-up on your own
  • Watch the weekly orientation video of Julie summarizing the weekly lesson and walking you through completing the warm-up,
  • Print out the lesson notes
  • Watch the online lesson with Prof Burger and follow along with your printed notes marking your own notes with questions if you have any for the upcoming office hours sessions.
  • Complete the online interactive practice
  • Print out and complete the worksheet practice
  • Complete any extra interactive practice (not in all lessons)
The answer keys to the worksheets are at the bottom of the lesson page, available to you and your student at all times.  They even work out the problem for you so you can check for your errors if there are any.

Sample Answer Keys

There is a lot to this online math program and it is pretty pricey, but I think you really get what you pay for.  I personally give Thinkwell's Instructor-led Geometry a thumbs up.  The jury is still out as to whether it is the program for us due to my son's deficiencies, but I am very hopeful and I think once we get back on track he will succeed with flying colors and be proud of what he has accomplished.  I can's say enough good about the instructor Julie who has really helped my son not shut down in his frustration.  That means a LOT to me!! I give a personal shout out to Julie Welch and her wonderful exuberance that helps your child to not feel hopeless.  Thank you Thinkwell!!

You can connect with Thinkwell Homeschool on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and YOUTUBE.  Also, be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members that include Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 by clicking on the graphic link below.

Thinkwell Instructor-Led Algebra 1 / Algebra 2 / Geometry {Thinkwell Homeschool Reviews}

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