TenMarks – A Review

Product: TenMarks Online Curriculum – Grade 4
Price: 10$US/month, 49$US/6 months, 89$US/year (per student)
Ages: grade 3-10

Unlike some people who homeschool, we actually look forward to math. My son can spend hours sitting around looking at numbers/questions and finding patterns in them. No a bad thing, however, I really like having something to show for his efforts (just in case the ministry of education should come a calling, we’re REALLY behind in sending it his homeschooling registration for the year) and he is constantly lost in the realm of numbers these days and rarely gets around to actually completing a worksheet in the program he begged for last year. We were given the opportunity to review numerous math programs as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew last year and while it was a lot at the time, I actually found myself longing for a new math program to review this year in order to shake things up a bit. When the opportunity presented itself to review Ten Marks I eagerly signed up thinking that a change in the routine would be good.

Before continuing to read this review, I invite you to please check out the video below….

Ten Marks an online math program that can be used as a complete curriculum or supplement for children in grades 3 – 10 (we reviewed the grade 4 content). I think that what makes this program work so well, at least for us, is how very user friendly it is. My son was able to use this program with very minimal input on my part and when there’s a young baby in the house that’s definitely a plus.

When your child logs in he will be brought to his homepage on which his worksheets for the week are displayed with their due date. The default is to have 4 worksheets with 10 questions each assigned each week but it is easy to change this default to more or less depending on how quickly you would like your child to complete the program. Your children can even fast track their worksheets themselves if they want to advance through the program faster once they’ve master the week’s worksheets. The next week’s worksheets will be generated for them and they’ll be able to get a head start on them! Your child will also be able to see how many worksheets he has left before he gets to his next reward and he’ll be able to see what percentage of the section he’s completed. The Ten Marks program is broken down into a variety of topics that are then broken down into a variety of concepts that are then taught through a variety of tracks. Each track is evaluated through a worksheet of ten questions.

For example Liam is working on number operations which was broken down into the larger concepts of place value and number sense, addition and subtraction of whole numbers, multiplication and division facts, and multiplication. He has now worked his way to the multiplication section which is further broken down into a series of tracks (multiply by one digit numbers, multiply by greater numbers, patterns and multiples of ten, multiply by 2 digit numbers, etc). Each of these tracks have 10 multiple choice questions that your child needs to master before they can move on to the next track. Your child can ask for hints (a maximum of three for question) and if they still need help each question has tutor that will explain the concept being tested in sufficient detail for your child to be able to solve the question. Once your child has completed the worksheet they will be marked and then given the chance to correct their mistakes. In addition to the the weekly practice worksheets your child will also be able to take tests on the material they have covered (this this they only get one chance to get the right answer, and they can even practice any off the other material that 10 marks offers (from ANY of the grades) so if your 7 year old want to take a stab at highschool algebra he could or if he needs to review material from an earlier grade he’ll be able to. What more could you ask for?

As the parent, you will be able to customize your child’s learning experience by selecting the number of worksheets you want your child to complete each week, omitting or combining tracks, and rearranging the material to fit whatever concepts you are currently studying in your homeschool. You’ll also be able to see your child’s progress and how many hints and videos he had to use in order to master the material. You’ll also get an overview of what your child has completed and what is coming up in the program.

Having this information has been a relief for me as I’ve been feeling a little antsy about our unschooling approach and having proof that my children are learning something. Having a program that my son loves (so I don’t have to ask him to do it) that also tracks his progress is an unschoolers dreams!

Another fun aspect of TenMarks is the rewards system, and yes, I usually am very hesitant about reward systems. However, the child isn’t rewarded for every right answer with crazy graphics and fireworks so they actually have to work for their rewards which are pretty tame video games (racing, spotting differences, etc).  It isn’t an overwhelming, you are SOOOOOOO wonderful type of reward. As a parent you can also schedule rewards for your child. This can be anything that would motivate your child. In our case, I scheduled a one on one “date” with Liam to happen once he completed 18 worksheets. With 6 worksheets scheduled a week, it meant that approximately every three weeks he would get some one on one time with the parent of his choice. Last weekend I got the first date I’ve had in  long time with my son sipping hot chocolate and visiting the library while my husband slaved at home baking pies and oatcakes! *lol* Next time he’s decided to take Daddy on a date!

While we are very pleased with this program and will likely continue it next year once our free subscription (for reviewing) has expired, I can see some issues that people might have with it. First, it was very clear that a child could easily cheat their way to a good score. Very early on in the program my son came to some terms that we hadn’t really discussed and instead of watching the tutorial videos (which, to be fair, I hadn’t really explained to him well) he was clicking the hints (some which are pretty obvious like “the answer isn’t a) or c) so that the child already has a 50% chance of getting it right and then with a second chance to correct their answer once the worksheet has been marked you can see the issue) and then guessing. It was pretty clear to me that my son wasn’t actually doing the work as some questions would have required pencil and paper yet, somehow he was still getting the “answers”. However, once I explained to him that the whole idea was to LEARN and that the program was meant to TEACH him with the tutorial videos he was eager to use the program in the proper manner (not all children would be). Another thing that I felt necessary to tell Liam was that if he was having a problem with a question to watch the tutorial video FIRST and NOT the hints (as I said earlier some of the hints make the answers WAY too obvious and that isn’t teaching the child anything). The Ten Marks video tells you to look a the hints first and then if you can’t get it to watch the tutorial. I think that is a REALLY bad idea.

There were also so slight issues with the tutorial videos themselves. While I found that the material was explained in an easy to grasp manner sometimes the writing was not very clear on the white board and that could lead to some confusion. While I was not bother by the accent whatsoever it is probably a good idea to mention that one of the tutors had a bit on an accent and it could make him difficult to understand for some children (we didn’t have that issue).

This program sells for 10$US/month (per child) with deals for a 6 month (49$) or 1 year (89$) subscription and I would not hesitate to purchase this for Liam next year (probably at the year subscription level). I really like the fact that we get an overview of what your child is doing with the program (give me a few more months to get totally comfortable with the whole unschooling thing and maybe I won’t worry so much) and that the tutorials are really quite complete. The amount of material covered in the program is really substantial and things are covered in a variety of ways so that your child can choose from a variety of different concepts when they are faced with a certain math problem out there in the real world. I, personally find myself talking in circles when trying to give math explanations (English and history and more my thing) so having tutor available that gets right down to it is great for us. If we had to hire a personal tutor then we’d be spending a lot more than 10 dollars a month. I could see this working well for a highschool student (if they were honest enough to use the programs as intended on not cheat). The only downfall that I can see is that this program could get quite expensive if you had several children in the family all working at different levels. If that is the case, then you may want to look at other options or try Ten Marks free trial out before committing to the program. All in all, we are very happy with this program and I can see us using it again in the future.

As the girl says, “IT WORKS!”

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

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