Monday, January 31, 2011

TOS Review: Times Alive

"Math Facts, Math Facts, MATH FACTS!" [stomp, stomp, stomp]  "I HATE MATH FACTS!!!"

Welcome to life in my house, where I was spoiled rotten by my first child, and now I'm paying for it with the other three.  Child number 1, now 14, has always "gotten" it.  Whether it is spelling, math, grammar or history...he just gets it.  Easily.  The first time.  Every time.  In fact, until child number 2 started school, I prided myself on choosing curriculum so well, because I had obviously picked the perfect curriculum for him.

You know what they say: Pride goes before the fall.  Enter child number 2...and child number 3...and child number 4.  With every single one of them, I've dug through the curriculum bins, combed through the catalogs, pulled all-nighters reading reviews, purchased books and CDs and subscriptions and online memberships - essentially tried everything to find a program or book or service that would help them learn the things they will have to know.  Not "should" know.  NEED to know.  Those basic things that are critical to function in the real world.

Things like Math Facts.  I now have a 5th grader (child number 2) who barely knows his addition/subtraction facts and is fighting me tooth and nail when I insist that knowing his multiplication and division facts is essential and non-negotiable.

That's why I was beyond thrilled when I found out that we'd have the chance to use City Creek Press's Times Alive software.

Times Alive is a completely unique approach to memorizing the multiplication facts.  Instead of endless drilling and frustrating repetition, times alive presents the facts using unique stories and fun music.  Each lesson is interactive, giving the student a short lesson followed by immediate practice.

Here's a quick preview:

Times Alive offers your choice of either a CD-ROM (for PC or Mac) for $48.95 or an instant download (also for PC or Mac) for $44.95.  You can use the program with multiple users, no extra fees.

City Creek Press says that Times Alive will:
  • Increase retention to 95% with our interactive method
  • Eliminate boring repetitive drills once and for all
  • Bring success to students with learning disabilities
Times Alive doesn't teach the function of multiplication, it's simply a tool to help children memorize the multiplication facts.  

Unfortunately, Times Alive didn't work for child number 2 any better than the CDs, the worksheets, the online programs...  For us, it's simply a "push came to shove" issue where we're going to have to go with something that he will have to do whether he wants to or not.  I think the Times Alive is a little...childish...for an almost-12-year-old, so I probably won't use it when I push him to memorize his multiplication facts.  However, I plan to continue using it with child number 3, my 7 year old, because it's the perfect tool for her to learn with, and she's a good age to appreciate it, even though she doesn't really understand the mechanics of multiplication yet.

Find out what other crew members think about Times Alive here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a complimentary download of Times Alive in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased review. No other compensation was received.

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