Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Factsfirst by Saxon Math

Product: FactsFirst
Company: Saxon Math
Price: $49.99US per family/year (up to 4 students)

As I have mentioned a few times already, I've had the pleasure of reviewing numerous math drill online programs this year as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. Next up for review is developed by Skills Tutor and distributed by the well known company Saxon Math. Factsfirst strives to do just that, teach proficiency in math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) first by repetition of basic math facts. Progression in levels is based on both on accuracy and speed.

First up, your student creates an avatar that they will use throughout their learning adventure.

This character is used to answer a variety of questions as quick as possible. At the end of each set of questions there is an overview on how the child did and a recommendation to either continue on the same level or to progress to the next depending on how well they did. In Factsfirst speed is as important as accuracy when it comes to advancing levels.

Every so often, the child will get a 5 minute bonus time to play an arcade style game that also drills math facts.

For the adults/teachers there is a a chart that helps you see what facts your child has mastered, which can come in handy and also helps you know which questions to ask if you are the type to throw out random math questions around the kitchen table (I am and the kids love it).

While this math programs looks nice (good graphics, custom avatars) and has a lot of the little extra "frills" like arcade games and such, it did not really appeal to my children. As mentioned in previous posts, my son is not quick when it comes to keyboarding skills and because speed is so important in this program he'd never ever get any facts "excellent" on his chart (no matter how long he worked on a topic level his results were always "not sure") and he'd be told to repeat the same set of questions over and over despite having "mastered" them years ago. It was frustration and there was a lot of tears. I have since learned that you can change the time setting on the program (it is set at 2 seconds per question) but by that point the damage was done and Liam wanted nothing to do with this program.

For $49.99US for family (up to 4 students) per year, I think that that this is a worthwhile program to invest in for the price (especially if you have more than one child). I think that most children would be motivated by the games between levels and making your own avatar is fun as well. The tracking is nice for the parents/teacher, if you take the time initially to find the average amount of time it takes your child to find and type the answer and adjusting that setting, otherwise in my opinion, this feature isn't accurate. There's a difference between taking a long time to come up with the answer and just taking a long time to type in that answer in my opinion, so be sure to check in the the time limit option. In terms of price this program seems to be one of the better deals that I have found so if money is an issue this may be the program that works well for your family.Unfortunately, my son has been scared away from this product so it is not one that we would, personally, purchase at the current time.

To try a trial version of this program please visit FactsFirst website. To find out what other TOS reviews have to say please click here.

***Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

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