Friday, September 11, 2015

{Review} Stinky Kid Math

Over the past few months we've been re-evaluating how math is taught in our homeschool. Amber was no longer thriving with our previous system and we decided to try alternate learning methods, including online math programs.  We were given the chance to review the unique math website, Stinky Kid Math. Specifically, we were given a 6 month subscription to the whole Stinky Kid Math website.

Stinky Kid Math is a website which uses video lessons, reinforcement worksheets, books, and math games to teach the mathematical concepts. Stinky Kid Math is designed to be more of a mathematics help than a full curriculum, although you could structure it to function as a full math curriculum with some creativity.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Stinky Kid Math - A unique online algebra & geometry website!

The Stinky Kid Math website is somewhat limited in the topics it covers and is geared toward middle school and high school age students. It covers Foundational Algebra (pre-algebra / algebra 1), Complex Algebra (algebra 1 & algebra 2), and Geometry.  The user can choose to watch the video lessons in order by selecting from the sequential lessons list and then go forward. The lessons can also be selected by drilling down through the menu system by topic. This menu access method is especially useful if the student needs help with only select math concepts.

Once down to the lowest level of a topic, all videos corresponding to the concept are available along with all additional materials. Some topics have more supplemental material than others. Particularly interesting is the book option that provides a written explanation of the concepts for those who need more information than provided in the video lessons.

When viewing a lesson, all related worksheets, books and games are again linked on the right side of the screen. This design saved us so much clicking when looking for the additional resources related to a single topic.

Let's talk about the videos themselves for a minute. These are not your run of the mill math videos. First, they are set in unexpected and sometimes goofy locations.  A live instructor goes over the topic using a dry erase or chalk board using clear explanations. The lessons are definitely not boring and can be quite entertaining, however, the mathematical content is not diminished. The video lessons run, in our experience, anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes per topic. Just long enough to teach the concept, but not so long as to bore the student and lose their focus.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Stinky Kid Math - A unique online algebra & geometry website!

How did we use Stinky Kid Math?
We decided to use it as a supplement to reinforce and explain some of the more confusing topics in late Algebra 1 and early Algebra 2. After ensuring Amber understood the interface, I asked if there were any math topics she would like to review. She immediately had a couple of concerns from recent lessons where she was not entirely confident of her understanding. She searched through the topic list and found what she needed.

I let Amber take control of which lessons she wanted to watch and how much work she wanted to do for those lessons. After watching the first few videos, I did ask for feedback. Amber said these made more sense than any online math program that she has tried, and definitely put her on the right track to more confidence with the concepts.

After viewing the lessons Amber willingly went to the correlating worksheet link and was able to work some practice problems, which she commented were very well designed and appropriate. This is high praise, indeed. The worksheets are viewable directly through the browser with a PDF plugin, however the worksheets can also be downloaded and printed for easier use - which is exactly what Amber did. The worksheet answer key is also viewable / downloadable from the same screen as the original worksheet. The answer keys are displayed in a font to make them look handwritten and show all the procedures needed to solve the problems.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Stinky Kid Math - A unique online algebra & geometry website!

Amber also spent some time playing a couple of the math games. They are not specific to individual lessons, instead based on broad concepts. One is a simple integer game that reinforces arithmetic. Another is a fraction / decimal conversion game similar to Bejeweled. There are also a couple of geometry based games. For Amber, the games were a nice addition, but not what has kept her coming back to this website. She truly enjoys the video lessons and find the practice problems to be extremely helpful.

If you are looking for an engaging way to help with troublesome or weak Algebra and Geometry concepts, then Stinky Kid Math is the website for your student!

Stinky Kid Math

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Stinky Kid Math Review

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