Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A TOS Review: LearningPalette.com

I’m always up to review new and interesting products that might provide my son a leg up in his educational endeavors. 

I realize I just made reviewing fractions sound like a quest for a doctorate in Egyptology. 

But honestly, sometimes (for those of us who have kiddos with learning challenges) the mastery of a particular  concept might be as elusive as a revered degree from Oxford. 

Some of you might have heard of Learning Wrap Ups. I happen to have one of the nifty gadgets in my homeschool math bucket right now. Marion Stuart, the original creator of Learning Wrap Ups.was a 4th grade teacher who desired for her students to learn their multiplication tables quickly. 

Learning Wrap Ups. took off and today there is a full array of products. A new product, the Learning Palette, is a website that takes those nifty learning tools online. I recently had a chance to review LearningPalette.com. 


What I Received 

I received a full online subscription to LearningPalette.com. This is a fully online educational program with 35 math titles and 20 reading titles.  It correlates to the Common Core for Math and Reading.

You can purchase a year’s subscription for $59.99 for up to 5 users. That is a reasonable price if you have lots of little people who can use it. For one student it is only $25 a year. For those of us who have "onlies" this is a pretty good deal.

LearningPalette.com is offering a 20% discount for homeschooling families through May 31, 2015. Use the coupon code Homeschool when checking out. 

LearningPalette.com is recommended for grades K-5.

How We Used It

I have talked about (in length) Josiah’s learning challenges. One of those challenges is dyscalculia. There can be a variety of challenges with dyscalculia, but in Josiah’s case he has had difficulty memorizing math facts. 

We have found that he retains better when he can practice recalling those math facts in fun and unthreatening environments. This means we play lots of games that challenge him to use what he is learning. We also use a lot of math in everyday, practical ways. He needs context.

Learning Palette turned out to be a good tool for Josiah. He also used some of the Reading game cards, but I will share a little more about those in a minute.

We primarily used Learning Palette for review purposes.
Learning Palette doesn’t teach, it simply provides opportunity for practice.

I want to share how the Math cards work first. The Learning Palette is interactive. The student can move virtual parts and pieces onto the learning wheel. 

Josiah was provided with his own log-in information. Actually, I believe he chose his own log-in information. Which means he got to chose the name of one of his favorite video game characters. Go figure. There is also a parent log-in available.

You can see that the Math section (highlighted in blue) has a Basic level and 5 levels after that.  Josiah is 12 and going into 7th grade. He is not doing 7th grade math work as a result of his dyscalculia. I appreciate that he was allowed to work in Levels that didn't specify grade level.

After clicking on Level 4 the following subjects came up. I chose to click on Numeration Step 1 - Whole Numbers. I don't have a picture for the next step, but there are approximately 15 cards available with each subject. 

This is Card 1. You can see that Josiah has to find the value of the underlined digit. The "problem" has a colored piece in front of it. Josiah has to move the colored piece in front of the correct answer.

Just a bit of advice for those of you who have kiddos who get overwhelmed and tend to be all over the page. I had to work with Josiah about treating the Learning Palette like a clock and move around it clockwise. Otherwise, he was all over it...nilly willy. 

You can also see that in the upper left hand corner is a "check answers" option. Instead of waiting until he was finished with the card, I encouraged him to check his answers frequently. As a result, he could correct any mistakes as he was making them. You can see that there is wrong answer by a little red x.
We did not use the Reading Palette cards as often.They work in the same way as the Math cards.

There were some confusion with the Reading Cards. For example, sometimes I had to interpret answers or questions. Josiah is dyslexic, but he didn't have any issue with the reading itself. He not quite reading at grade level, but he is close. Most of the cards were well below his skill level, but it was good practice.

The card below is asking a Josiah to chose words to complete a sentence. One question involved peaches and where we kept them. I don't know about you, but it's been a while since anyone in my neighborhood kept their canned peaces in the cellar.

This sort of thing wasn't a deal breaker for appreciation of The Learning Palette, but just be aware. 
There are a few things you need to consider. You can use the Learning Palette games either on the computer or IPad (or even Kindle). I had Josiah use the computer.  He is comfortable using the mouse and my laptop so he didn’t have any issues. I can see that the Littles in your life might need help with this skill.

We have had a lot of exposure to online educational games. I like the variety out there and what I appreciated about Learning Palette was that it doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles. Mostly because it’s quiet. There isn’t any catchy background music (can you turn that thing down?). You know what I mean. If you need a little mouse or bear to explain a concept to your child…forget about it. You will have to play the mouse and the bear.
I was in and out when Josiah was using his cards so he could ask me to clarify something he didn’t understand. I appreciated that he was required to think a little. Learning Palette is a bit like a puzzle. I felt like it helped him work on some of those spatial things he sometimes has an issue with (as most dyslexics do). Another point in Learning Palette’s favor was that there wasn’t a large amount of reading involved. Even the reading cards themselves were not cluttered.
I mentioned above the little issue we had with interpreting some of the cards. However, I don’t think this is an isolated issue. I have seen many reading worksheets do the same thing.

Overall, Josiah enjoyed using LearningPalette.com. Just another little aside. Homeschoolers are not the only ones who will benefit by using LearningPalette.com. I can see this being a valuable tool for any child.

You can read more reviews of this product and other Learning Wrap Up products by clicking the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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