The Link - a homeschool newspaper

Core Learning has developed an excellent series of products to aid parents, tutors and teachers in the navigation of the teaching of Math to elementary school children. Core’s line is intended to serve as a supplemental tool in achieving mastery of the basic math functions and concepts, and from my time with it, will provide an excellent drill and study aid. The products available are very broad in the material covered, with two separate categories to consider: The Math Course Series (5 Courses) and the Calculation Skills Series (4 Volumes).

The Math Course Series provides a large package of material designed to provide in-depth assessment and personalized application regarding the functions of basic math: Fractions, Decimals & Percents, Geometric Shapes, Measurement and Data Management. At the beginning of each Unit of work, the parent is able to obtain a customized lesson plan from the program, via an assessment test, which provides the information necessary for focusing on the areas that need attention. Then, the student is able to sit down at the computer and work through the lesson plan at his/her own pace. Each Unit concludes with a competency test that the student must pass in order to move on to the next Unit. The test scoring is set at 80% pass, but the parent or tutor can alter that pass level. Records of all of the tests are stored in the computer and can be viewed at any time. Each course also includes a 50+-page Help Guide offering guidance to parents/tutors on resolving common problems that may be encountered.

The Calculations Skills Series is structured as follows: Vol. 1: Addition/Subtraction, Basic Level; Vol. 2: Multiplication/Division, Basic Level; Vol. 3: Addition/Subtraction, Advanced Level and Vol. 4: Multiplication/Division, Advanced Level. Each volume is intended to teach children the skills of mental calculation, rather than relying upon an external calculator by providing untimed practice sessions and timed drills to gradually guide the student in “thinking fast”. Making money change is also included in Vol. 1 – a great boon, since many of us still feel intimidated at having to make change without a computing cash register! This is a great way to ensure that your child will not have that problem. At the time of this writing, each Calculations CD-ROM was priced very reasonably,allowing a family great flexibility in purchasing only the disk(s) necessary.

For the family that loses sleep over the teaching of math, Core Learning’s Math Courses are great! They take 95% of the worry out of your math work and offer a private method of assessing your child’s progress. The end result is peace of mind in the Math Dept! I would recommend that you visit Core’s website as noted above, to see their Math Series, as well as their other great products in Language and Health.

Michael Leppert

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