It seems like we tend to forget drilling those basic math facts for a while during the school year. Honestly, the idea of the boys sitting down to do a time ‘test’ on paper almost fills ME with dread. Yet, I could already see earlier this year that we needed to spend some time doing drills as they were starting to stare off into space while doing math uttering things like “4 times 6 is…um…26?..”
Yet again, the TOS Crew came to the rescue with the opportunity to review a computer based method of doing those math drills with more fun than dread.
The downloaded file was pretty simple to install and required a key to activate it. Once you have it up and running, you can add a student and then get them started right away with whichever facts you want to drill. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are all there. You can also set the range of difficulty so that a child who’s just learned a group of math facts is not easily discouraged.
Another feature that I soon came to appreciate is the ability to do a practice mode where the students responses and speed are not tracked. One of the boys is easily flustered over timed responses. Knowing he could practice until comfortable with the program helped to remove that concern. Along with the practice is not seeing an actual timer counting down to make you feel extra pressure. Instead, they know if they have finished before the 3 second mark by the response their answer receives. Also, they are shown the final time for each answer. It was not surprising that the boys soon got caught up in besting their speeds.
The screen is simple and there are no animated creatures enticing the student to perform. Instead, it’s all placed on THEM and keeps the focus more upon mastering those math facts than feeding some fantastical creature or getting to the next portal. You can even change the maximum time allowed to get that ‘super’ rating.
We’ve switched to a lighter schedule for schoolwork now, so I can’t say with 100% certainty that the boys will see a marked difference in their regular math work. Not having complaints about doing math drills has definitely lightened my own mood. And, there is that added benefit of them receiving instant feedback rather than having to wait for mom to grade the page.
CapJaxMathFax retails for $29.95 for an annual license for up to 10 students (there is an extra $5.95 charge to receive the product on CD with the same license.) For those that like to try before you buy, check out the short term free evaluation available on the website. While a pencil and paper method of drilling might seem less expensive in the short term, having the computer make up drills, track responses, and remove the need for mom to be close by throughout the process is worthwhile.
Disclaimer ~ This review was done as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew program with time limited access to the product for completing the review. No monetary compensation occurred and all opinions are my own. You can find the thoughts of other homeschool parents at the Homeschool Crew page for this product.
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