Whether you’re continuing your schooling through the summer, in review mode, or taking a break, these free online math sites offer up math skill drills in game-like, edutainment fashion that your kids can do with minimal input from you (if you are taking that break).
These sites all have similar features that prove useful, namely:
they can be used on mobile devices as well as PC
they have content for elementary through high school levels, covering a comprehensive set of concepts for each grade
you can sign up as a teacher, and assign each of your kids their own “playlist” of exercises that automatically appear when they sign in
you can track progress, seeing how well your student is doing, how long they spend on problems, and whatever badges or incentives they’ve earned
you can generate and print reports if you want them for your homeschool portfolios
All of these have pay versions, giving access to more features, but the basic free packages offer a wide variety of content.
MangaHigh: I’ve used this program since it launched in 2010. The kids like it, and I have found it to be an easy way to assign games for specific math skills. The games are adaptive, meaning they adjust in difficulty according to a player’s performance. In some games, students can compete against other players. There's a teaching mode if you want your child to have more instruction on a particular concept, but I think the greatest strength for this one is its games. For a thorough overview of this site, read this article from EdTechReview.
TenMarks: This site also allows you to assign review tasks based on grade level, but is more instructional, with the games used as incentives. The format looks like interactive, multiple choice worksheets, with each question providing hints if the student gets stuck, and embedded video lessons to explain the concept. After successfully completing a given number of concepts, a student can unlock games and badges.
iPracticeMath: This one is the most workbook-like of the three, with step-by-step text tutorials, and fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions. Other than the novelty of doing work online, as opposed to a worksheet, there’s not much of a game-like atmosphere here, and the only incentives are printable certificates. But, if you want no-frills, this is the one, and it is comprehensive. Here’s one homeschool mom’s review of the site.
Signs of summer are all around us, and our family looks forward to winding down in some areas, and ramping up in others. Still, I find, with my own kids, that math is one of those things that, if not practiced all year, is easily forgotten. So, although I don’t school year-round, we do try to keep the math going, emphasizing a more game-like experience.
If you need some material for your own review endeavors, or maybe you’re planning for the fall, here are some resources that may help, including a list of links to free courses in high school math.
Math Playground: In addition to arcade style games, this site has some interesting additional features, such as:
Thinking Blocks: allows you to build models of story problems using blocks; includes addition and subtraction; multiplication and division, fractions, and ratios and proportions
Math Apprentice: This part of the site shows how math is used in the real world. A player takes the role as an intern in one of eight businesses where they use math to solve problems.
Math Playground also has math manipulatives (pattern blocks, balance scales, geoboards), math videos and worksheets, and many games for keeping math skills sharp.
www.math-drills.com/: Worksheets for 1st through 6th grades; also has Algebra and Geometry worksheets
Math Printables: print out things like calendars, clocks, fraction circles and strips, grid paper, dot cards, pattern blocks, place value charts, symmetry (complete the figure) tangram pieces, and more
Free Textbook: Actually, it’s a CK-12 Flexbook for reviewing Middle School Math Concepts.
Free Software: Download for interactive Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Calculus.
Free Videos: MathTV has videos by topic or textbook. Videos of the same problem are presented by different people so if one doesn’t take, maybe another one will.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth, tells the story of a young girl, who while trying to figure out where she fits in, makes a choice that will change her life. As a result of her choice, she figures out how to overcome obstacles and face her fears.
This story takes place in a dystopian Chicago, where society is divided into five factions. These factions are each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). At the age of sixteen, teenagers must choose one of these five factions to commit themselves to for the rest of their lives. As the main character, Beatrice (Tris), struggles to find who she truly is, she finds herself making a choice between the life she’s always had with her family, and a new and exciting life. She also discovers a secret about herself that she doesn’t yet fully understand.
Tris has always been part of Abnegation, the selfless faction, but she feels like she isn’t exactly good enough to fit into this community. She finds that it’s a challenge to be as self-sacrificing and unselfish as her family. When the time comes to make the choice between a new life and her family, however, she realizes that she doesn’t necessarily want to say goodbye to her family and the familiar life she’d leave behind. If she makes the choice to leave, she most likely will never see them again. When Tris takes the aptitude test in which the community gives her a faction recommendation, she discovers a dangerous secret—she’s Divergent— which means she doesn’t fit into any conventional category; but she doesn’t realize the full extent of danger this label can put her in. After choosing her faction, she faces a highly competitive initiation, and struggles to determine who her friends truly are and what being Divergent can actually mean for her. She also uncovers a plot that threatens to change society as she knows it, and how powerful her secret can actually be.
What I enjoy most about Divergent is the suspense. There is not one boring or dull moment in the whole book, and it kept me reading and almost experiencing the feelings and emotions of the main character myself. The only thing I didn’t particularly like about the book was the ending. I think it was a little rushed and that it could have been much better if it wasn’t for that. But overall, it was a great, well-written book, and I recommend it for fans of the Hunger Games.