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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that iPracticeMath is a completely free math-practice site for grades 1 through 9. Younger kids might need support to move through practice sessions while older kids will need reminders not to worry about constantly being right. Large or homeschooling families, as well as teachers who work with lots of ages, will appreciate the one-stop-shop range of concepts. If kids want to track progress and view certificates, they need to register with the site, but it isn't required. Unfortunately, kids will have to falsely report their age to create an account. Adults can register up to 25 students for free but don't have the ability to oversee accounts or progress with a dashboard.
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What's it about?
Kids can work through 70 or so practice sets per grade or through math topics including algebra, time, measurement, comparing, statistics, rounding, consumer math, and a bit of calculus. Kids get endless attempts to earn 10 correct answers (and stars), but each incorrect attempt puts them back a star (unless they're already at zero). The Learn section offers definitions and explanations with multiple examples peppered with relevant terms to remember, as well as important algorithms to know. Certificates of participation are issued after each practice set, and kids can view their own statistics or select reports to see rankings for all users. About 200 worksheet topics are available and can be completed online or printed out.
Is it any good?
IPRACTICEMATH looks good on the surface and is basically well organized, but a few issues keep it from its full potential. On the plus side, the site gives kids multiple entry points, a consistent layout, and simple yet effective feedback. Explanations and definitions are relatively thorough, giving kids lots of examples and word problems with real-world applications. The consumer math section prepares kids to make purchases as advanced as home loans. Comparing themselves to other users, kids can earn gold, silver, and bronze icons for top rankings based on the number of practice questions they complete, not the percent of questions they get correct. The site's overarching message: Practice often, and don't worry about being perfect.
On the downside, the whole site could use a fine-tooth comb and closer attention to detail. There are typos, bugs (100 percent correct completion of the third and probably final worksheet in a set asks users to retry, and then returns them to the same worksheet), and occasional formatting issues, plus incorrect English and inconsistent capitalization throughout. Younger kids will struggle a bit with the lack of step-by-step progression and likely will feel a bit lost after practice sessions. Plus, teachers hoping to supplement their curriculums will find that concepts aren't mapped to Common Core standards directly; despite claims of coverage, there's no geometry, graphing, or probability included. iPracticeMath could be a great tool to help kids learn math, but the errors and missing elements hold it back from being an essential site for brushing up on math skills.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why daily practice helps cement facts and concepts in a way that a once-a-week approach does not. Are there ways that you can improve your chances of retaining concepts that might seem difficult?
Explore how math impacts everyday experiences: If you eat two eggs out of a dozen, how many will you have left? Can you still make an omelet?
- Subjects: Math: addition, algebra, arithmetic, calculus, counting, division, equations, fractions, functions, measurement, multiplication, numbers, statistics, subtraction
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, memorization
Self-Direction: academic development, achieving goals, effort, identifying strengths and weaknesses, initiative, self-assessment, work to achieve goals
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Numbers and Letters
- Pricing structure: Free
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