Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Quarter Mile Math

Picture 4 Product: The Quarter Mile Math Level 1,2, and 3 Bundle (Standard Version)
Company: Barnum Software
Price: $89.95 US

Through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I was given the opportunity to review The Quarter Mile Math software by Barnum Software. The computer program is designed to self-challenge your student as he races his dragster/riderless horse faster and faster towards the finish line by answering a series of math questions on his choice of topic. The goal is to answer more questions correctly and at shorter intervals to finish the race at faster and faster speeds (the students best five scores are saved and become the racing times for the other dragsters/horses the student competes with). With the level 1, 2, and 3 bundle there are no shortages of questions (70, 000+ to answer). With topic from keyboarding skills, operations with whole numbers and integers, all the way to prealgebra there is something for all students from Kindergarten right up through grade 9. This makes the program particularly suitable for families with multiple children at different grade levels.

Unfortunately, I was unable to review the deluxe version of this software that most crew members had the opportunity to review. The deluxe version requires an internet connection which I not longer have on my PC and unfortunately, the software (both the standard and the deluxe version) does not run on newer Mac operating systems. The deluxe version allows parents and teachers to easily track their student's progress through each topic that was lacking in the standard version. According to The Quarter Mile Math website the deluxe version has a single screen that shows....

* All topics in which the student has practiced.
* Their chronological progress in each topic.
* The number of races completed daily in each topic plus grand totals.
* The number of correct answer completed daily in each topic plus grand totals.

To get the same information on the standard version one has to select each topic and subject individually to see if their student has worked on that material (unless of course you are writing down what your student is which case you'd still have to check each subject individually to see your student's progress). I found this to be time consuming and a bit of a chore and would recommend the Deluxe version for their membership fee (from $2.95 per month to $34.95 for 2 years) for this reason. To see what other Crew Members have to say about The Quarter Mile Math here.

While I think that this program could be beneficial to students that enjoy mental math and flashcards, I do have to admit that it did not work very well for my family. Liam had no desire to try and beat his best racing times. He told me the games were "too easy" and that they always asked the same questions. He just did not get into it. I believe that because he is a avid gamer he didn't find simple graphics of The Quarter Mile Math enough to hold his attention. My son also prefers games (including educational games) with a storyline (trying to find clues to solve a mystery for example) and word-problems, as opposed to just answering simple math questions so this game format didn't appeal to him. In addition, our math program also relies heavily on manipulatives, taking the time to understand math concepts and playing lots of interactive games together. There's never a rush to try to answer questions as quickly as possible. Personally I am not a fan of drilling math facts into my students and Liam didn't seem to appreciate it either. I do think that many, many children do like racing type games and would be excited to try to beat their scores (I really appreciate the self-challenge factor of the software) but at the time it is not a program that I will be using on a regular basis with my son.

I do invite you to visit the sites of other crew members to get other opinions on this product because many families really did enjoy it.

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