Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dreambox Learning

Many thanks go out to Margaret for pointing us toward Dreambox for supplemental math :) When she mentioned it, months ago, and suggested it would be a great fit for Parker I remember thinking it would be another game that might grab Parker's attention initially but then wouldn't keep him hooked long enough to make it worthwhile.

That type of experience worries me because Parker is so quick to recognize and react to scenarios that are lacking substance. His reactions are still sometimes explosive and lead to big, long meltdowns but, more recently, he has been tending towards apathy and then is resistant to trying new things that seem similar. This isn't really any different than how most of us react to disappointment in many situations, what matters here is that I am relying on interactive tech to deliver some curriculum at home. Over the last couple of years we have tried and passed up a number of popular learning games which have, through program glitches or lack of content or both, left him and us frustrated. So Parker then ends up wanting to play mindless games on the computer which is like TV with mouse training.

When Parker was younger, we saw that he quickly and ably could acquire new skills playing the many well-crafted learning games that are produced for young learners. Most notable in this category, for us, was the amazing collection of games created by Humongous. Playing Freddie Fish helped Parker connect to a world outside of his head and taught him how to collect his thoughts and recombine them in an organized, logical way. It was the start to our very long road of helping him obtain skills that fall under the "executive functioning" label. (EF skills are the key to all learning and retention of learning and are the major low point on Parker's, otherwise, impressive evaluation profile. Probably 85% or greater of Parker's differences from typical learners can be explained in the context of EF.)

Well, coming back to this post's title... enter Dreambox. I have not found many reasonably priced online or software based programs that really fit with Parker until now. This program is proving to be everything I could have hoped for him to experience. It thoroughly covers early math and assesses constantly to determine where he excels and where the gaps in his learning are. This is especially gratifying for me, as Parker is proving to be a very able mathematician and I've been trying to figure out what he's missed over the years in gen ed that have given him such trouble this year (turns out, it's probably not Parker that's been getting this wrong...). For Parker, Dreambox is perfect because it teaches through storytelling and games that are related to a greater story which conclude in adorable and surprisingly lengthy videos and printable certificates. Again, similar to other programs but, Dreambox just does it with style and the stories are sweet without being sappy and they manage to deliver comprehensive math curriculum fluidly. Did I mention, too, that they have a FREE 14 day trial? The only, and I mean only, drawback here is that their program ends with 3rd grade standards. Parker is almost done and I will probably be just as sad when we come to that point. To see him so happy in his success, which he doesn't even realize is so impressive, reinforces everything we're tying to do here.
ps You'll notice it says Kinnon is playing... he's not. He's playing WarCraft...

1 comment:

  1. hey, lady, we totally want to try it but need to teach you how to make a link in your blog!!! XOXO