My family had the opportunity to do a Beestar Math and Reading Review these last few weeks. The Beestar website offers supplementary, curriculum-based, online exercises in math, English language arts, vocabulary, science, social studies, and GT (gifted & talented), for kids in grades 1-8. The exercises emphasize knowledge application and skill proficiency.
Because this is a supplementary program (2 exercises/about 20 minutes per week), you are still going to have to teach the above subjects to your children – Beestar isn’t a stand-alone program. But it does provide an opportunity for practice and allows your children to improve on subject knowledge. You can see samples of exercises here. And guess what? The Beestar math program is absolutely FREE! There is a small cost for the other subjects – $20-$30 per semester/per course – a very reasonable price in my opinion.
Beestar Math and Reading Review – So, how does it work?
- First, parents set up for an account for their child – kids don’t just log on and start doing an exercise. When you sign up, you have to pick a school your child goes to, I just chose a random school – homeschooling isn’t listed as an option.
- Beestar semesters are Fall, Spring, and Summer. Beestar follows the public school calendar and curricula for the Fall and Spring semesters, while the Summer semester prepares students for the next grade level. Even though Beestar is geared toward public school school students, it’s a good fit for homeschoolers as well.
- The exercises are posted on the student’s home page on Sunday and due at midnight of the next Saturday (CST). The student can work on the exercises any time during the week. Most exercises follow the standard test format with multiple-choice problems. The exercises start with basic content and as time goes by, the exercises get a little more difficult. Each exercise usually has 10 problems/questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Students should finish an exercise as quickly as they can in one run, uninterrupted. That’s because the exercises are timed – speed is an important factor in skill mastery.
- After the student finishes an exercise, the work is graded instantly – this includes score, time taken to finish, and a review of the answers. Each question is worth 2 points, so the total score for an exercise is 20 points.
- If a child doesn’t finish his/her exercises by Friday, Beestar sends the parent a friendly reminder.
- At the end of every week a report is sent to the parents. It includes the student’s exercise details and statistics. Parents can see the areas needing improvement, and can help their child as necessary.
- At the end of the week, weekly honor rolls are released for all grades and subjects. Students who answer 80% of questions correctly in a week earn an honor roll ribbon. These students’ placements are determined by the total amount of time they use in the exercises. Students can vividly see their achievement and share their success with parents.
- Beestar has a National Competition. The Beestar National Competition (BNC) is designed to bring students nation wide together to solve interesting problems and compete with one another. The problems in BNC are designed to both consolidate fundamental knowledge and inspire students’ desire to explore. By exposing them to more interesting and mind-stretching topics, the competition problems challenge students to wonder and to research. For more info about the BNC, click here.
We really stress math in our home, so I signed my daughter up for the free math program/Summer semester. She’s a fourth grader, and doing grade level work. She started right in, at week 6 (we signed up a bit late).
Beestar Math and Reading Review – Here’s what happened when we reviewed the program:
You can see that she had a little difficulty with exercise 1.
After the test, when she clicked on Review Details, the program showed each question and whether she got it right (green) or incorrect (orange).
It’s a little difficult to read the explanation in the screenshot as to why this was an incorrect answer, so I’ll type it out for you – There are a total of 100 little squares on each of the 2 grids. There are a total of 102 little squares shaded. This means 1 full grid would be shaded with 2 little squares left over. Each little square left over equals .01. Therefore, 1.02 of the grids are shaded.
Anyway, after seeing the results on this exercise, I have to admit, I was wondering if starting at week 6 was a mistake. Was my daughter going to miss three or more questions in exercise 2?
Whew! My daughter did much better on the second exercise!
She then went back and did previous tests – some were not available though.
She also completed a week 7 exercise. She did well but missed this question. Can you get it right?
Jim bought lunch on Monday and Wednesday for $5 each day. He bought a new CD for $15 on Thursday. On Friday he spent $5 to go to the movies. On Saturday he counted the money he had left and found he had $10. How much money did Leo have at the beginning of the week?
So, how can you best solve for this answer? You can’t. The correct answer is –The information given is not enough to solve the problem. That’s because The question asks about Leo – not Jim.
Interesting…..I did notice that some of my daughter’s incorrect answers were due to not reading the problem carefully enough…I guess we need to work on that!
We also need to work on math definitions – specifically, the commutative, associative and distributive properties. She understands the math behind each, she just doesn’t know the terminology. That’s an easy fix.
Reviewing the statistics and honor rolls at the end of each week gave us information about my daughter’s skill proficiency and reading/thinking speed. I learned where she is in comparison to her Beestar peers from all over the country. It’s fun to see friends and neighbors show up on the same honor roll list.
It’s clear, we learned a lot in just a few exercises! We can’t wait for the Fall semester to begin! AND we’re going to try the Beestar National Competition in the Fall too. The four-day contests have two rounds, Dash Round focusing on the fundamentals, and Spark Round for interesting and challenging problems. I expect my daughter will explore topics beyond conventional scope and develop advanced skills.
Beestar Math and Reading Review – Conclusion.
We’ll continue in the Fall as there are quite a few things that we like about the program. These include:
- It’s a good supplemental program – you can never have too many options/resources.
- It’s interactive content. Homeschoolers really appreciate this. In fact, we pretty much expect it.
- The exercises are interesting and are designed to pique a student’s interests – maybe to the point of googling something after the exercise is complete. So, not only does the program help with a particular subject, Beestar helps promote learners being proactive.
- Beestar work is completed quickly – short time spans, instant results.
- The weekly outline/program topics page provides a great overview for the parent – especially if you have multiple kids.
- The student homepage is set up very nicely – your student can access weekly exercises and review exercise results and statistics, honor roll ribbons and score bar charts, and preview future exercise topics.
- The Parent Home Page lets you check on each of your students – see times spent on exercises, review the exercises, and review stats and see the honor roll/bar chart data.
- As mentioned, Beestar provides motivational recognitions every week. Accuracy medals and speed trophies – everyone likes being recognized…and it’s something to strive for.
- Also mentioned previously – the Beestar National Competition (BNC) is open to all students – and held during the Fall and Spring semesters.
- Free printable math worksheets – Want to practice more after Beestar’s weekly exercises? The website offers FREE printable math worksheets! Provided as a complimentary addition, the printable worksheets complement Beestar’s online programs.
- I appreciate the recommended math books by grade level. A great way to make math fun!
- There’s a Gifted and Talented (GT) program.
- The site offers referral credit towards fee-based programs – when you have 2 or more successful referrals, you can sign up for one fee-based program.
Do you have kids in high school? Beestar High School provides online preparation for the SAT and ACT – hs.Beestar.org. You might want to check it out.
We are very glad we had the opportunity to work on the Beestar Math and Reading Review. You can learn more about Beestar here: www.Beestar.org
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Beestar Math and Reading Review
- Beestar Math and Reading Review