Other Choices: CoolMath, FunBrain, HippoCampus
Synopsis: No-frills site for algebra practice.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents needs to know that CHILIMATH is a safe site to visit for free online algebra assistance. There are no bells or whistles, but the straightforward, simple explanations can be helpful to students whether they're at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level. Kids can select their level, choose from a long list of algebra topics, and follow the guidance, instruction, and sample problems. Lessons require reading and following along step-by-step. There's ample information here, and kids can even send an email to the creator if they haven't found the homework help they need here. Responses are returned within three days.
- Families can talk about the benefits of using an online resource for supplemental schoolwork help. Is it easier and more useful to study algebra at your own pace? What are the disadvantages to not getting immediate feedback?
- Talk about how kids can put algebra to use in their own lives. What types of questions does algebra help solve for kids and for adults?
- Talk about other sites that help build math skills. What makes them interesting and how do they help kids perform better in school? Are there things that would make learning algebra online more interesting?
What's the story?
Kids will find ample algebra help that ranges in level from introductory to advanced. Clicking on a specific subject takes users to a page of instruction that carefully walks through lessons and offers multiple examples of how to apply the learning. The language is kid-friendly but doesn't sugarcoat or over-simplify the lessons. There's no fun and games here, just simple instruction. Kids may not be engaged or entertained enough to linger, but they can surely find the supplemental assistance they need to build up their math skills -- and perhaps their confidence as well.
Is it any good?
Kids don't always find mathematics to be entertaining, and CHILIMATH doesn't help bring it to life. The site is simply designed (with an occasional illustrated chili pepper mascot to spice it up). Information is delivered in a straightforward manner. And there's no immediate feedback or interaction. But, it does the job of providing what it sets out to do: provide free online algebra help. Kids may not be actively engaged or entirely entertained, but they will find assistance (and can even get emailed answers within three days if needed). During a weekend or a late night homework session, it's a good place for kids to go for help when a teacher isn't readily available or parents aren't equipped to help.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Kids find limited encouragement as they read through each of the lessons.
What to watch out for
Violence Not an issue
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: The sparse pages are peppered with ads from third parties that encourage clicking and frequently look like they're actually part of the Chilimath site. For instance, "science help" and "math practice" are offered, but clicking these can lead you to an outside site that requires paid membership. There are also various sponsored links (weight loss ads, online universities, etc.) visible at the top of many pages, and their ad content is not controlled or monitored.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue