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Monday, January 31, 2011

Times Alive! Review

I have a product I'm excited to share with you!  To understand why I'm excited, you might need to know a little about homeschooling in our family.  See, I have a 13 year old extremely reluctant student who is on the autism spectrum and WAY behind in all subjects.  WAY BEHIND.  We just have recent begun two digit multiplication, and while he knew some of his multiplication tables by heart, others he was not so strong on, and I'd catch him skip counting his way (very slowly) to the answer.  So this reluctant learner of mine...this child who never wants to "do school" or anything educational...he willingly sat himself at the computer and watched THIS WHOLE PROGRAM in one sitting.  No, that's not the way it's intended, but still, he did the whole thing, and I did not have to beg, plead, or threaten one bit!  And since then, he's actually re-watched it too!

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So by now you're thinking, that's great, but what IS it?  Times Alive! is a computer program that teaches kids their times tables the "fun way".  So what is the "fun way"?  The fun way involves turning each math equation into an imaginative story that gives students clues to the number facts and giving meaning to the numbers.  The stories are unique and memorable.  Research has proven that Times Alive! is effective in raising comprehension of facts by up to 95%.  Each child starts by taking a Nuts and Bolts pre-test assessment to figure out what they know, and what they need to work on.  This allows parents to see what areas each child is weak in and also allows students to skip sections they already know.  As each group of math facts is learned, tests are given to check retention, and parents can access a "progress report" to see exactly how their student is doing.  Students get verbal and visual feedback as they progress through the program.

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The pros: I like that each fact is taught not only with an animated story, but also has a song to go with it.  I have noticed an improvement in my son's multiplication skills, and when he gets stuck, I just remind him of the story and he can recall the answer.  And I like that I am not involved actively in this process.  We use a very parent-intensive math, and it is such a blessing to have something that teaches them their multiplication facts (or reinforces the ones they already know) and frees me up to work with another child.  And I most especially like the fact that they LOVE it.  Not one of my three children who is old enough for multiplication complains a bit about getting on Times Alive!  I don't think there is any other product for any subject that I can say that about! 

The cons:  Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I do wish the price was a bit lower.  The downloadable version of the software is $44.95.  And while I think multiplication is a critical, foundational math skill, for many homeschoolers that's a big chunk of change on one skill in one subject.

The bottom line:  City Creek Press, the company behind Times Alive!, has some great samples on their You Tube Channel, and you should definitely check it out.  For us, Times Alive! bridged the gap between knowledge and mastery in a short period of time, and in a very painless and pleasant way, and that is priceless.  It helps too that I have four children, so I will have multiple users.  In fact, my 5 year old has picked up some of the information just by being around while the other kids listen.  Take a listen for yourself:


To check out Times Alive! either in its downloadable version, or the original book, or to see other math the "fun way" products by City Creek Press, go HERE.  To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE

Legal Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free download of Times Alive! for my family to use.  This software was the only compensation I received for my review.
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1 comment:

Writer said...

My son, B, really enjoys Times Alive! It is because he has learned multiplication that he is now able to do division. I thought the songs were very catchy and easy to remember.
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