Wednesday, February 1, 2012

K5 Learning Review!

K5 Learning

About 2 months ago I was approached by K5 to review their online program.  I'll be the first to admit that I really don't care for online learning as the majority of it is senseless fluff geared to babysit children.  So, I ignored the first email.

Then the second email came.  I had some spare time to kill, so, I looked up the website, signed up my two eligible children  (ages 8 and 10) and had them try the assessment/placement.  I still was not expecting much.

When the assessment came back, it came with a personal note.  Hmmmm, great knowledgeable Customer Service!  That's not something I see a lot of in the online education world.  K5 noted on my daughter's assessment that they thought one of the components was off (vocabulary) in relationship to the other scores.  Upon further inspection, he was correct.  My daughter's attention wasn't fully on this part of the assessment and she had been marking answers randomly.  Now MY attention was caught and so I agreed to review this product with my children.  

What is K5?

K5 Learning is an online reading and math enrichment program for kids in kindergarten to grade 5. Designed principally for after school study and summer study, K5 is also used by homeschoolers, preschoolers and gifted kids. K5 helps your children build good study habits and excel in school.  Watch our Intro Video.

Lessons are selected automatically 

In K5 Reading and K5 Math, lessons are selected automatically based on each child's grade level, past lessons and assessments (if done).  This ensures that kids progress in a logical manner and don't just do "fun" lessons or repeat lessons they have already mastered.  Parents can also make assignments for their kids.

Lesson Levels

Lessons are divided into
  • 5 reading skill areas (phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary, and reading comprehension), and
  • 3 math skill areas (numbers & operations, geometry and measurement). 
Initially, kids are placed at their nominal grade level in each skill area.  If students complete an assessment, their placements are automatically adjusted to their assessed levels.
Our K5 Reading - Lesson Guide and K5 Math - Lesson Guide provide an overview of the material covered in each skill area at each grade level.

Our experience:

I was quite impressed with this program overall.  Inspite of a few minor issues, this is honestly by far THE BEST online enrichment tool I have used so far in our 9 years of homeschooling.  This program is interactive, fast-paced, informative and best of all sticks in my children's memory!

Starting with Spelling:

Click here to see K5  Learning Spelling

This was my favorite part of K5!

You can choose the number of questions that is given to your child AND choose between using K5's grade appropriate list or input your own.

First, the word is read.  The student has the option to hear it again, read the definition or hear it in a sentence (Many times this sentence is a quote from a famous person!)  Next, the student types the word.  If it's correct, the program advances you to the next word.  If it's missed,  the student gets a second chance.  K5 gives you a "fill in the blank" word with the correct letters that the student has already typed.  The student then fills in the remaining blanks and practices the world.  At the end of the pre-set number of questions, the missed words are revisited.

This is one of the areas that K-5 differs from other spelling programs.

Instead of playing silly games that don't aid in retention and continuing to re-test words already mastered (without emphasizing missed words), K5 remembers the missed words and continues to quiz them UNTIL they are mastered.

For example:  in a batch of 15 words, say your child misses 5.  During the next session, your child will revisit those same 5 words PLUS be tested on 10 NEW words.

Once 50 words have been answered correctly, a special "La Linea" movie can be viewed as a reward.

My only problem with this part of the program is some of the pronunciations are odd.  "Boat" sounds like "boot", "Deny" sounds very strange, and "cattle" sounds like a rushed "kettle".


Read a clue about the 'secret' word.  Need help guessing?  Hit the clue button to help fill in the letters to the word.  This section was too much like Spelling for us, so we skipped it.


Click here to see K5 Learning Math Facts

Choose addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  The student then will have a typing test on the number pad to get accustomed to using it.

My daughter is currently learning her multiplication facts.  I really like that K5 breaks math facts down into smaller digestible chunks.  Instead of learning all the multiplication 2's in one fell swoop, they are broken down into several 'sessions':  "Multiplying by 2's Pretest", "1x2 and 2x2", "3x2 and 4x2", "5x2 and 6x2", "7x2 and 8x2", "9x2 and 10x2", "11x2 and 12x2".

At the beginning of each' session' is a short teaching which uses real life word problems.  After going over these problems, the students is timed.  And following that, the student is timed with both new and previously completed facts.  The student or parent can choose the order of facts to be learned as well.

I love the progress reports shown at the end of each 'session'.  It shows all math facts and shades them according to:  Excellent (correct and fast), Good (sometimes wrong or slow) or Needs Work (mostly wrong) and Not Sure Yet.


My fifth grader started with Geometry:  2D shapes, reflections, transformation, rotation, translation and tessellation.

All explanations were in a clear, easy to understand and interactive format.

Properties of multiplication section met with mixed results.  My son already has a good handle on multi-digit multiplication.  But, it's what K5 had next in it's lesson queue, so we went with it.  There was an odd way of explaining multiplication in expanded notation form.  It was confusing and frustrating.  The last section he completed in this section had the problems written out in expanded form with boxes for the answers.  It was very glitchy and the cursor skipped around as you tried to fill in the answers.

At this point, I entered the parents dashboard and easily moved to the section on fractions.  Within each topic section, a parent is easily able to choose which sessions they want their child to do and which they do not.  Here is what I choose for my son's fraction section:
Compare and Order.  Equivalent Fractions.  Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers.  Least Common Denominator.  Add and Subtract Fractions with Like Denominators.  Add and Subtract Fractions with Unlike Denominators.  Explore Multiplication Patterns with Fractions.  Converting Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions.  Multiplying Fractions.  Division of Fractions.  

For my third grader, it was all fun!  Place value up to 6 digits and expanded notation, rounding, ordering and comparing numbers, multi-digit addition to name a few.  She zipped through these sections without any problems!

Again - all explanations were in a clear, easy to understand and interactive format.


I was very impressed with the reading section for my 5th grader.  For a series on Samurai with it's conversational presentation, it was like you were amongst 3 other 'classmates' and a 'teacher'.  In the first part of this section, one of the characters reads the story.  There's a a 'discussion period' with the characters, the teacher and your child.  One character gives their opinion and your child can agree or disagree with it.  Then, your child must click on a supporting 'arguement' for the answer.  Next, your child reads a paragraph .  The teacher asks a question and the other characters give their opinion.  Your student then chooses to agree or disagree while choosing a supporting statement.  The student has a chance to change his/her answer after hearing character 'rebuttal'.

After 4 rounds of Reading Roundtable, your child types in their opinion of Samurai.

Next, K5 walks you through how to make an outline from the notes the characters took on the story.
Broken down into 7 categories, students match statements into these categories in order to make a report.

For my third grader, reading started off fairly easy.  For au/aw and ow/ou diphthongs, K5 uses matching, find the picture who makes the sound and fill in the blank type of interactive exercises with short games interspersed throughout the lesson.  Basic sight words, making predictions and reading comprehension  rounded out her reading experience.

While it was great for her to zip through many of these lessons gaining self-esteem, I will be changing some of these lessons to give her more of a challenge.

Check out some Sample Lessons for yourself. 

Don't forget to sign up for your free 14 day trial.  And please let them know you were referred by HOMESCHOOL CIRCUS!

Disclaimer:  I received a 6 week subscription free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very interesting, and I'm definitely intrigued. Sounds like something that would be really fun to try!