Friday, February 25, 2011

TOS Review: Math Rider

As I've mentioned a few times now, my 11-year-old son struggles with memorizing his math facts.  Despite using a variety of programs, he's still having trouble with anything beyond addition.  Luckily, we've had the chance to try out quite a few different programs, thanks to The Crew.  This one - Math Rider - seems to be the best one for him.

The video gives you a pretty good overview of how the program works, but here's my quick rundown.  Math Rider is set up to resemble a magical quest.  The child is given a story line (both written and spoken, so the child does not have to be proficient at reading to play) and sent on an adventure.

Each part of the quest requires the child to complete a series of math operations to achieve the goal.  Whether it's to find the magic flower, or returning a gem, they're practicing and perfecting their math facts along the way.  Each operation is separate, and you can choose which operation your child needs to work on.  I simply started all three of my kids who are using the program on addition, because they all need to work on ALL their math facts.

Math Rider is purchased as a one-time instant download for $37.  You can have up to 10 different users for that one low price!  Even the largest homeschool family (okay, 99% of the largest families) can have ALL their kids use the program and only have to pay once.  $37 is less than you'd pay for one session with a private math tutor.  

The program offers fairly basic information for the parent/teacher to keep track of each child's progress.  The demo screen above shows the statistics for "Kim".  All the green areas are division facts that she has mastered.  Yellow are "needs a little work", orange is "needs some work" and red is "needs lots of work".  The gray areas show facts that haven't been introduced or worked on yet.

Overall, I REALLY like Math Rider.  So do my kids.  I don't have to coax them to do it; in fact, they've taken the initiative to each do their Math Rider first thing in the morning, before I'm even downstairs ready to start our day.  I like the constant practice.  My kids' only complaint was that the "hard" level of the quest is really fast, which challenges their typing skills.  A small investment in a numeric keypad for the kids' laptop computer might help that.  Oh, and my 14-year-old (who isn't using the program) said that the stories were kind of "cheesy", which my 7- and 5-year-old both vehemently denied.  But honestly, it's a math program - I wouldn't expect it to rival Lord of the Rings with its story telling.

My only wish is that the information provided for the parent be more detailed.  I can see what the child is working on and how they're doing, but I'd love to see a daily snapshot.  How long the child was on each day, or how many math facts they did total, how many they got correct and how many they missed.  Just a little more detail than what is currently provided would be nice.

The important thing is that my oldest is finally getting a handle on his math facts, and I don't have to force him to do something he hates to get it done.  For that alone, I LOVE Math Rider.

Want to see what other crew members think about Math Rider?  Check out what they have to say here.

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

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