Online Math Tutor: Step-by-Step Math Help
LearnBop for Families ~ Math for Homeschoolers Grades 3-12
~Richard J. Trudeau, Dots and Lines
Let’s see how LearnBop fares supporting “the world’s best game.” One thing is certain –we can’t play it in the bathtub, and it ain’t free either. (Though we got it free for this review.)
What We Received
LearnBop provided us with a free 12-month subscription to LearnBop for Families. Classrooms across the country have already been using “LearnBop for Schools,” apparently with much success. Now, LearnBop for Families, offers the same personalized help to homeschoolers. A subscription costs $14.95 a month or $199 a year. In return for the free subscription, I’m posting my thorough and honest review of this program.
What to Expect with LearnBop
LearnBop for Families is an online math tutoring or math support site. “Adaptive Roadmaps” aim to pinpoint exactly what the child needs to learn or reinforce. LearnBop boasts a robust framework, yet intuitive enough to be easy to use. Its sleek look and feel entices you to jump right in.
To start you select the child’s “Learning Roadmap.” You have several options:
- Roadmaps by Grade (grades 3-8)
- 1-8 Roadmaps by Subject (specific themes such as Ratios & Proportions, Expressions & Equations, etc.)
- High School Roadmaps (Algebra and Geometry)
You may change the Learning Roadmap at any time. Handy if the child’s just refreshing certain concepts. Each roadmap comprises several units. For example, Grade 6 consists of 11 units (see screenshot below.) Each unit includes several concepts and “Bops”. Excellent video demonstrations deliver concept explanations before the child solves Bops. Bops are problems or exercises that come one at a time. If the child succeeds solving a Bop, he moves on to the next one. If he fails, he gets a step-by-step explanation. This permits the child to zero in the areas requiring further practice.
The child must score 90% or greater to conclude a concept. So, here’s where the adaptive plan kicks in. If the child succeeds with each Bop, the 5 required Bops will throw him well over the 90% mark. If he fails, then more Bops (1, or 2, or 3 besides the original 5) will continue to appear until he reaches the mark.
How We Used LearnBop
Super Hero has been using LearnBop about three times per week. He likes LearnBop. He says so himself. I like LearnBop, too. Clear, concise videos show text and diagrams or other images with voiceover instruction. The text seems minimized in favor of more visual graphics. I’m glad this is the case, otherwise, lots of text would be such a turn off for Super Hero. The videos prove effective, they succeed in driving the point home. Each concept proffers 2 to 4 videos, about 4 to 5 minutes each. I appreciate these are short. A short video is one of the first things in Super Hero’s list –his unwritten, unspoken list, that is.
Then there are the Bops. From what I’ve seen so far, Bops mostly present real life problems and exercises, making math practical and alive for Super Hero. We went to DSW Shoes the other day. As usual, I marched straight to the back where all the bargains awaited me! 😉 Super Hero, who had been studying percents, followed behind. I immediately saw the chance for a little practice asking him to “help” me get the pricing right. He started calculating all sorts of discounts: 30%, 40%, 50% off varied original prices. Next time he logged into LearnBop, he faced problems almost identical to DSW’s. He nailed all Bops, ecstatic that he could solve “real-life” stuff.
I appreciate the Bops provide him with step-by-step guidance if he fails one. The system breaks down a problem into sensible steps that he can easily tackle. Since in such case he needs the extra support, more Bops appear until Super Hero masters the topic at hand. I also value the types of problems presented. Far from the garden variety multiple choice, these are strong questions that elicit thinking. These two aspects have got to be LearnBop’s greatest strengths.
To Quibble Or Not To Quibble
Super Hero, however, feels a bit frustrated with the lingering Bops. He’s all for getting it done quick as flash. Why solve 7, 8, or 9 Bops when only 5 are required? Alas, isn’t everything in the eye of the beholder? I’m rather pleased with the popping Bops. He’d rather the Bops not keep popping! Not that many more, please!
He mentioned a couple more quibbles besides the feisty Bops. One: He once had to google how many liters there are in a gallon. It appeared no where visible in the Bop, yet he needed it to solve the problem. “You would think they’d tell you that info!” –he complained. He did clarify they mentioned it in the video, –”but still how was I to recall the exact numbers?” Two: He once clicked on “restart question” thinking he’d get to start afresh without losing points, or triggering the step-by-step guidance. He has a thing about working it all out with no help. The system “lost me more points than I would have!” –he grumbled.
Though these protests seem inconsequential to me, they are not so to Super Hero. He felt cheated somehow. He seems to have an undeclared competition going on with the step-by-step help. The less he sets it off, the more he wins. Funny! In an odd way, I kind of like this striving that LearnBop provokes in him. But shhh! Don’t tell that to Super Hero, OK?
I’m including a collage with a few “Growth Mindset” quotes. These appear each time Super Hero loads his dashboard. I love ’em! Not only for the positive, inspirational message, but for their gracious design as well. Such wholesome tidbits. They make a difference, often right when you need it!
Our Opinion of LearnBop
I quite like LearnBop and so does Super Hero. Yes, he has those minor criticisms, but overall he finds LearnBop not only enjoyable, but a program he’s willing to continue using.
In a Nutshell
In Super Hero's Own Words
I like it! I like it when I get to do 5 Bops. Sometimes doing more Bops gets kinda long.
I’m pleasantly surprised by LearnBop. For as much as I love online programs, I’ve been old school for working out math problems at this level. I’ve asked Super Hero to solve problems by hand to understand and reinforce. (Though, I must admit, he’d rather do it all in his head.) LearnBop may have changed my sentiment. I suppose that’s a good thing. I feel I have a better appreciation for what an intelligent math program can do for cementing knowledge. I’m now much more willing to use technology for math support, besides the tried and true paper and pencil.
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I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse 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. All opinions are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.