This past school year I tried something completely new and different in our homeschool.
We tried an online math program!
We welcomed a new baby into our family in the summer of 2018 and I felt a bit overwhelmed.
Since math is not my favorite subject, I decided to try outsourcing for the school year.
We tried BJU Math Online.
Here’s my honest opinion and review.
We were not a fan.
Ouch! That hurts to say it aloud.
We love their online science and my kids enjoy watching the videos and doing the work. They have learned and retained so much science information from these courses.
But the math. Nope. It was not a hit at our house.
I’ll share why:
The videos assign pages and problems from the workbooks. But they are usually not in order. My kids were skipping around all over those books and it drove all of us completely crazy!
I am glad they didn’t have to do every problem on every page because there were SO MANY PROBLEMS in those workbooks. However, I really wish they had been organized with fewer problems on a page so that kids could complete the entire page. Then the second page could be extra problems for kids who need further review.
I still had to do the grading for the kids in the lower levels (grade 4 and below). And grading was a huge pain since they were skipping all over the books. I had to open each page on the answer key and find the problems that my kids completed in order to grade them. And it took absolutely forever! I may have even cried (multiple times). Logging in to the system and pulling up each lesson and opening the file with the answer key took forever. It was so cumbersome.
Math 5 was self-grading so my son could type answers into the computer system. However, if they were formatted incorrectly (such as 1 / 2 instead of 1/2 ), then the system counted the problem incorrect. This was so frustrating for my son as he would often forget how to format his answers for the computer to accept them as correct.
Oh, and the Pre-Algebra level is not self-grading. So, I got to grade that course. Actually, after about 2 months, I turned it over to my husband and he took over for me. Thank goodness he is excellent with math!
In some of the grade levels, the program contains multiple books. Not only were my kids only completing certain problem sets, they were flipping back and forth between workbooks and review books. It made us lose our ever-loving minds!
I found the program impossibly annoying to manage in a homeschool setting.
The lessons also took a long time. My kids quickly learned to watch the videos in 1.5 speed to save some time.
We have never been so thankful to be finished with our school year and able to move on to something more user-friendly.
Was there anything we liked about this program?
My 2nd grader loved Math 2 because it had cute stories and the teacher was wonderful.
The workbooks are colorful and my kids enjoyed having some color in their books.
The instruction was solid and made sense to my kids.
So, even though the program was so difficult to use and the grading was miserable for me, my kids did well in math and learned new concepts easily.
It left me wishing they would redo the books to make them less cumbersome and intimidating – easier to use in a homeschool with fewer problems per page and review pages in the same workbook instead of a separate book.
Overall, I found that I did NOT save time using this program – which was the point when I purchased it at the beginning of our school year.
Outsourcing math with this program was a failure for our family.
It’s actually faster and more efficient for me to teach math to each of my kids and then grade the lessons as we go.
I’m making different choices for our future homeschool years.
I’ll be going back to Right Start Math with my younger ones.
And my older ones will try Thinkwell for upper level math (6th grade and above).
If you’re thinking about trying BJU Math, be sure to watch some sample videos and page through the workbooks – and know that it will not be fully independent as you will need to do quite a bit of time-consuming grading.
I know it works for many families. However, it was not the best fit for our family since it did not meet our goals of saving time and streamlining math instruction to allow me time to spend with the younger kids.
Disclaimer: This review contains my honest opinion. I purchased this curriculum for use with my children. I was not compensated in any way for this review.
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