Saturday, August 2, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Mathletics

Gess has special needs and math is where she struggles the most. Her brain just doesn't work mathematically so it is really tough to teach. Because it is so hard she really dislikes doing it. Therefore, finding ways to make math more enjoyable for her is my goal in life. Mathletics from 3P Learning works to make math fun and exciting so I was glad when I was given the chance to review a one year subscription.

While Gess doesn't like math, she does like athletics and the competitiveness that comes with it. That is what Mathletics has tried to instill into their program. As well as practicing math online, you can challenge people from around the world and win points for your team!  You can also simply practice and work your own bronze, silver, and gold certificates. While Gess can't keep up on the team challenges, she loves earning points on her own!

When you log on you get to see the scoreboard. This will tell you what players and teams have the highest scores, and it even features a Mathlete of the week.

While this is fun for really competitive kids, don't worry if your child is unable to keep up. There is still lots of fun motivating ways to keep them doing their math. When you log into the program you get to your activity screen. There are a ton of options to choose from.

In the middle of the screen are the basic math activities based upon their placement grade. The bars on the right show up after they take the test and reflect that score. They do need to do all the lessons to take the test, so it will allow them to move on if they are ready. Gess is still working through the top two subjects.

If you have a specific area you want your child to work on you can set up assignments. This is really cool because it doesn't allow a child to do anything else until those assignments are done. They still score points and get rewards for doing assignments, it just makes sure those are done first. Here is the start up screen with assignments. Notice how everything else is grayed out.

The Activities are fun, interactive games based upon the math principle. Visually it is appealing and Gess had no trouble at all reading or doing any of the activities. With her vision problems, that is a huge plus for us!

For every activity the child completes they earn points as well as a percentage grade. This is where it became a great motivator for Gess. She absolutely hates getting any problems wrong but unfortunately that happens quite a bit. However, at the end of the lesson, if you missed any problems at all you are given the option to try again or go on.  Gess always chose to try again. She did it over and over again until she got a perfect score!

You can see on this one how she improved her score by the bar that went up from 90 to 100. Gess used to try to quit out as soon as she missed even one problem, but I explained to her that her points on based on the amount of problems she gets right. So, if she completes the activity and only gets a 70% score, she still earned 70 points. Then when hits the try again button she has the chance to earn points for those 7 problems again as well as the ones she got wrong. Since it takes 1000 points to earn a bronze certificate you want every point you can get!! She has now up to almost 4 bronze certificates. Once she earns 5 she will get a silver! If you go to the award cafe you can see your certificates hanging up on the wall!

They also not only show you what problems you missed and let you do them again but they actually teach you how to do it correctly. When you click on a problem marked wrong they work the problem out step by step on the screen. This was also animated and visually appealing. I love that!

Now these are just the main activities but there is so much more to this program than that!  As I mentioned before there is the Live Mathletics where you can race live people from around the globe or the computer to test your math skills. This was something we didn't use because Gess does not do well with timers or races. It frustrates her.

Then there is Problem Solving which I thought was really neat! These are an excellent, interactive way to solve word problems!  What they do is put the word problem on the screen and then give you the items you need to work the problem out on the board. While Gess still needed my help on these, I love how she can actually work them out. It was really cool!

Their Concept Search was also very well done. This is a visual animated math dictionary!  Any math term your child might need to look up is in there. They work out problems and show definitions before your eyes. In this one the butterfly wing would flap back and forth showing the symmetry.

For grades K-6 they have even more activities to do at Rainforest Maths. This was created by an Australian primary teacher, but again it was very graphical and interactive. These don't really earn you awards or anything. They appear to be mostly for practice but are quite fun.

They also have some Times Tables Toons but since we are not on those yet we didn't use them. I wasn't that impressed with the songs, but kids may like them which I guess is what counts.

You get all this online as well as a Family Centre where you as the parent can keep track of their progress. The My Weekly Reports never showed up online but they did in email form so I never worried about contacting them about it. Here is a sample email I would get.

It is in here that you will set your child's country, course, and grade level. They have common core or a few states that have their own standards. We chose to go with Texas.

My favorite part about the Family Centre was that it gives you access to an entire set of Instant Workbooks. These cover the very basics of math all the way up through the end of high school! We are on Series C which alone has 7 different math books coving a wide variety of concepts. Here is one from that series we are using.

These are an excellent supplement to any math program and really helpful to have on hand. In fact we found a concept that we obviously missed along the way so I went to the workbooks and actually found the lessons where they teach this!  We pulled those out and got to work.

Other than some of the Family Centre things not working, I am very pleased with Mathletics. Earning those points and being able to repeat a lesson until you see that perfect bar keeps Gess motivated.

This is the only math program she has ever sat and done more than was required of her. She keeps going and going until she perfects it. If she gets stuck she will come get my help, but that is the point. This is helping us both to know what her strengths and weaknesses are and encouraging her to keep practicing. I am thrilled she is liking it so much! If it continues like this we will definitely use it beyond this year!

Mathletics is for grades K-12. It usually costs $99 for yearly access for the first student but they are currently running a special where you get the full year for only $59 per student! That is an excellent deal! They also have a FREE trial so you can actually try it before you buy it.

To learn more about Mathletics, visit the website or see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about it by clicking on the banner below.

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