Friday, August 28, 2009
The Quarter Mile Math Review
One thing that constantly amazes me about being on the TOS Crew is that I get to use products I never have heard about, or maybe would never have tried, but they end up a staple in our homeschooling. The Quarter Mile Math is one of those products.
I had vaguely heard of The Quarter Mile Math before, but to be honest, I NEVER would have tried it on my own. We love our math curriculum, and it has a very different scope and sequence from most other math curriculums, so typically other math products, no matter how great, just don't meet my kids where they are at, so they end up not being useful at all. I also have to admit that hearing the Quarter Mile Math is used in Sylvan Learning Centers would NOT typically be a selling point for me since we do not use the "recreate school at home" approach in our homeschooling.
With all that said, let me tell you why we've fallen head over heels in love with The Quarter Mile Math.
The Quarter Mile Math is math software that offers a fun and fast paced review of math/keyboarding skills from kindergarten through pre-algebra. Over the entire product line, 323 math topics are covered with over 70,000 math problems. The premise is that your child is racing a quarter mile (hence the name) in a race car OR with a horse galloping in a field. Initially, they race against "Fast Eddie", who it turns out is really not so fast at all. (But the kids don't know that-they are guaranteed to win against Fast Eddie, but in all their playing, my kids have yet to figure that out). As they race more and more times, their 5 Fast Eddie competitors are replaced by your children's previous race speeds, so that they compete against their own best times to get faster at solving the math problems at hand. My kids LOVE to do this. They beg to playThe Quarter Mile Math!
The Quarter Mile Math comes in two versions: Standard and Deluxe. The Standard Version is available on CD's in three different levels or in bundles of different combinations of those levels. The Standard Version is a one time purchase, and while you can install it on multiple computers in your home so that your children can "race against" each other by racing the same topics and comparing scores, only one child can use the software at a time. The Standard Version is $39.95 for Level One (K-3), Level Two (4-6), or Level Three (7-9), and then, as I mentioned, you can buy bundles of the different level combinations for a discounted price. No internet connection is needed with the Standard Version, and your children's scores are stored on your computer.
The Deluxe Version is download-able, and is "pay-as-you-go". $2.95 a month covers access for the entire family to ALL the levels available. They have also just added a yearly price of $19.95 per family or a 2 year price of $34.95 per family. The Deluxe Version allows multiple children in each household to play at the same time and really race against each other. Even parents can race against kids-or an out of state relative...it opens the fun factor WAY up. Also, with the Deluxe Version upgrades are free. Internet connection is required, but the students themselves are never online or even aware of the internet connection. Through this connection, your student(s) progress is tracked in much more detail than the Standard Version allows for.
Honestly, I can't think of a con for this product, at least not one we've encountered. I do think claiming that it is an entire "core curriculum" is perhaps a bit misleading given that most students would need some instruction in HOW to work the problems before this format would really help them. You couldn't, in my opinion, count on ONLY using The Quarter Mile Math for your only math instruction. But for review of any and all math topics in an easy to use format that allows your student to review different topics as they learn them in their regular math curriculum, Quarter Mile Math can't be beat.
The pros are numerous. Because you/your student chooses what topic each race will cover, you can ensure that your child only encounters concepts that they are familiar with, so there is no frustration involved. And no matter HOW long it takes you child to solve the problem, their horse or car is always the leading vehicle, so they aren't discouraged by feeling like they are getting beaten by the game. And it's great, in my opinion, that there is an option to race a car or a horse-clearly appealing to both genders and the potential for diverse interests within those genders. The company that puts out The Quarter Mile Math, Barnum Software, is very conscientious and knew that some people don't approve of horse racing, so that is why the horse is riderless and is running through an open field. Wow! I never would have even thought of that.
The bottom line is that while I never would have thought we needed or would want to use The Quarter Mile Math, it is the ONE product my kids beg to use everyday. Crazy? Yes! Worth every penny because they actually WANT to review math facts? Absolutely! And while you have to look at what works best for your family, I'd recommend the Deluxe Version for its enhanced student progress reports and the multi-player benefits.
Go check out The Quarter Mile Math today. Demos are available on their website as are detailed lists of the topics covered. There's even a special area on their website for homeschoolers with tips and a homeschoolers forum to glean information from other homeschoolers about how they use The Quarter Mile Math in their daily lessons. And as a special bonus for TOS Crew blog readers, you get a discount no one else gets! Enter the code "7X7M7" and you will save $5 off any product- Standard OR Deluxe. Hurry though, this code is only good until September 30th.
To order The Quarter Mile Math, or check out their website, go HERE. If you want to see what other TOS Crew members had to say, go HERE.
In the interest of full disclosure, while no TOS Crew member receives payment for our reviews, we were given the product to try for FREE, and we are allowed to keep it.