Why SAM Learning Has Got Me Excited About Homeschooling my Teens

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Have any of you felt confident teaching elementary age but are concerned you can not do justice to your children’s secondary education?  Are any of you frustrated with the sheer lack of UK curricula out there suitable for the home schooling family?  Do any of you have children who are reaching GCSE age, and are wondering what is out there to help them obtain the very best grades they can?  I know I have felt all those things, which is why I am pleased to introduce SAM Learning.  SAM Learning is a UK based company which has been proven to substantially increase GCSE Grades.  But that is not all!  With over 75000 activities in 27 subjects ranging from Key Stage 2 up to Key Stage 4 (GCSE level), they have you covered from Mid-Primary school upwards.  And they not only include a wide selection of GCSE subjects, they also cover IGCSEs as well, which as a home schooler, is a huge blessing.

Disclaimer : Our older children were given access to SAM Learning for a year in exchange for an honest review.  All the opinions here are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.  For the purposes of this review I will be focusing on the GCSE/IGCSE sections as it is these my children have been using.

What is SAM Learning?

SAM learning is a digital supplementary learning program, which includes activities in the following areas and at the following levels:

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Extra subjects include the following at GCSE level:

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This website is incredibly well designed and easy to navigate.  Clicking on the required subject brings up the choices of GCSE or IGCSE work:

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And clicking on either brings up a choice of examination boards.  We really appreciated this as most revision sites only offer a generic subject meant to cover the work of all the boards.  By choosing the specific board whose exam the child is taking ensures the activities completed are focusing only on the work the exam board requires:

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We tend to use Edexcel, as we are most familiar with their layout.  Once you click on the exam board you are taken to another screen, which again is very well organised into the sections in the syllabus:

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Thomas has just finished Section One of his IGCSE Chemistry (Principles of Chemistry) in his regular school work.  He found it very helpful to go through the modules in that section:

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Each module has a wide variety of activities, as well as tests to go with them.  As Thomas worked his way through each activity he is given a percentage mark which tells him how he has done.  When he does a test, this mark is then converted to the likely grade it would have brought him:

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Each activity is colourful, eye catching and thorough:

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Just one activity is spread over ten pages of graphics and includes lots of different ways of checking knowledge and understanding.  From fill in the gap type activities to choosing which diagram most accurately explains particular phenomena, the student’s attention is kept throughout.  The tests are created to stretch the student further, but even they contain fabulous and interesting graphics:

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The folks at SAM Learning obviously know children very well as there are multiple competitive features to encourage the student to put in time and effort.  The first fun feature is the leader board.  On this leader board are up to ten similar aged students who are pitched against each other:

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There are also medals to earn and certificates to download, which are achieved based on hours put in rather than score attainment:

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The girls have also been using the GCSE/IGCSE area, doing activities from a variety of areas.  L13 has completed all the Art activities and has thoroughly enjoyed doing so, whilst Charlotte has been focusing her efforts in the English Language area.  I hadn’t been expecting them to spend much time on SAM Learning until September when they both begin their IGCSE English Language, but they have enjoyed it so much they volunteer to use it and often spend up to an hour going through their chosen activities.

What We Think of SAM Learning

We love it.  Pure and simple.  I was approached to do this review and I almost said no, but for Thomas looking at it and saying we had to have it!  It is recommended that students use it twice a week for ten minutes at a time, and even this small investment in time will increase grades by at least two points.  Our children have used it for at least an hour each week, sometimes more, and I can honestly say they have greatly benefited from it.  It has been particularly useful for Thomas who has used it specifically for his IGCSE Chemistry.  It has been so helpful to test his understanding after he completes each module in his work book.  He will also be able to go back and redo the activities to improve his score and for revision purposes.

I actually can’t think of anything negative to say about this company.  The people who run it are very pleasant to communicate with; the website incredibly simple to navigate and in the past five weeks we have had access to it we have not come across one incorrectly given answer, which in my experience of digital education is saying something 🙂  I can see all three older children using SAM Learning frequently over the next twelve months.

If you wish to purchase a one year licence pop over to their parents’ page.  It costs £49 for a Home User single licence annual subscription.

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8 comments

  1. Wow, I’d heard of SAM but didn’t know what it was. Sounds fantastic… thank you for sharing, Claire! BTW I’ve been saving up all your recent posts to enjoy together when I have a moment. (Surely I WILL have a moment at some point…!)

    1. Hello Almost Unschoolers , I am delighted to tell you that Sam Learning has a Math with Science product in the USA for grades 4-10.We could not use the name ‘SAM ‘in the USA so we are branded as ‘Penda Learning’ For the last seven years we have only sold to mainstream schools in the USA. We feel that the Homeschool movement in the USA should have the benefits as described by ‘angelicscalliwag’
      Today is the first day of our launch of our Homeschool product in the USA. You are my first Homeschool parent contact in the USA.
      You can see more information on our web site http://www.pendalearning.com/product-info/homeschool
      I am sending you by a separate email full details of our product where you can try test materials and see videos of what other teachers say about us.
      I will be asking you if you would be prepared to do a review of Penda learning for your blog –a smaller scale version of what angelicscalliwags did for Sam learning in the UK.
      I would welcome your feedback and comments .
      Pupils find Penda Learning fun and there is a proven record of improving grades.
      regards,
      Malcolm Jaffa

  2. I’m sure this kind of supplemental learning can be used in any country which is nice to know. I will check out their main page. Just wondering whether you know if there are any perks for learning disabilities such as a voice reading the text on the page or is it all strictly read it yourself?

    1. Hi Barbara! I think it is read yourself. I can’t see any options for a voice reading it to you 😦
      I will answer your email soon, I promise. All the reviews I am doing have required so much time from me. I am looking forward to things calming down a bit….

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