Showing posts with label Math. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Math. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Math Mammoth - A Mosaic Review

Math Mammoth

Taina Maria Miller, 2012
Visit Math Mammoth Website for more info or to order
Create Math Worksheets
Maria's Blog has math teaching tips, articles, news and reviews

In the past we've used a variety of math materials, including some early elementary materials from Math Mammoth.  When an opportunity for members of the Mosaic Reviews team to review Math Mammoth materials from Maria Miller came up, I signed up to check out her materials for a few topics that my oldest needed to review.  Since I was allowed to pick which materials we would review, I chose Fractions 1 and 2,  Fractions and Decimals 3, and Order of Operations (with a Touch of Algebra).

Take a peek at what each worktext (workbook and textbook) includes:

  • The Four Operations (with a Touch of Algebra) includes mental math reviewreview of the four operations, terminologies, expressions, equations, exponents, order of operations, long multiplication and division, an introduction to fractions.  (107 pages)
  • Fractions 1 includes terminology, fractions, mixed numbers, equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions, adding and subtracting mixed numbers, and comparing fractions. (111 pages)
  • Fractions 2 includes simplifying fractions, multiplying fractions, multiplication and area, dividing fractions mentally and with the shortcut, multiplying and dividing mixed numbers, converting fractions to decimals, and ratios.  (110 pages)
  • Fractions and Decimals 3 includes place value, the four operations with decimals, the metric system, the four operations with fractions, ratios, and scaling in maps.  (128 pages)

I just love the way Maria has set up these books!  The books I received were e-book downloads.  The books present terms and a description of concepts followed by practice exercises.  Each topic is covered thoroughly, but manipulatives and Maria's videos are encouraged for supplementation as needed.  Each book has links to many helpful internet resources (websites, worksheets, math games) as well as links to advice for parents/teachers and links to free sample pages and worksheets.  At the end of the books are review sections and answers to the exercises.  Maria's videos are easy to understand and make teaching and learning extremely easy!  

I really like the ability to print just the pages we need. When my daughter zipped through a section quickly and easily we could just move on and not worry about completing each page.  I also like the flexibility of printing pages as you go rather than lugging around another book.  Binders are a good thing, really!

The lessons are as long as you choose to make them, and each section builds upon the last. Fractions were a breeze with these books.  There are just enough pictures to help understanding without being distracting.  I personally prefer to check out the book then watch the video followed by the exercises.  I LOVE the extra links too because they allow for fun along the way.
The only thing I was hesitant about is the ink and paper used to print out the book. While it could get spendy, that wasn't a big deal since we followed the print as you go option.  I would have been somewhat disappointed if I printed it all out ahead of time since we don't always use all of the pages included.

Over at the website (see link above) there are several different options available and prices vary depending on choices and bundling.  The books are available as e-books or on CD.   

There is a Light Blue Series for early grades which contains two student worktexts with instructions exercises, answer keys, tests, reviews and a worksheet maker.  The next option is the Blue Series which is for no particular grade level and covers addition, clocks, measuring, money, division, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratios and proportions, and geometry.  A third option, the Golden Series is for teachers/tutors who can explain math and contains worksheet collections for grades 
3-8.  Another option, the Green Series intended for teachers/tutors or parents who can 
explain math and contains worksheet collections by topics. Lastly, there is the Make It Real Learning option for grades 3-12 which covers how math is used in real life.

To see what other team members thought of Math Mammoth visit Mosaic Reviews.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

K5 Learning - Informational Review

K5 Learning
Online Reading and Math Program

Kindergarten - grade 5
888-281-2145 (toll free)
K5 Learning
510 - 4438 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6R 4R8

Follow K5 Learning on Facebook here
Follow K5 Learning on Twitter here

Recently I was offered a 6 week trial of K5 Learning to provide a review.  Due to computer issues I was unable to access this trial, but I would like to tell you about this program that several people I know find really useful.

K5 is an online reading and math enrichment program for children ages Kindergarten through 5th grade which contains a personalized program of over 3,000 interactive multimedia tutorials and activities.

Finding Out More:

Free 14 day Trial  - no credit card required
Free Assessment 
Sample Lessons
Intro Video

As part of your free 14-day trial, your child will receive a free online reading assessment, a free online math assessment, and access to the complete K5 program including Reading, Math, Math Facts and Spelling. 

K5 students start with free online assessments in eight key reading and math skills. K5 then uses this information to personalize your child’s learning program to correspond with their skill level.  Children work through the skills independently and at their own pace.

Free parent reports regarding your child’s free reading and math assessment are available immediately.

K5 reading and math skills assessments cover:

5 Key Reading Skills:

•Phonemic Awareness  •Phonics  •Sight Words  
•Vocabulary  •Reading Comprehension 

3 Key Math Skills:

•Numbers and Operations  •Measurement Concepts  •Geometry 

That's right, this program tailors itself to your child's skills and needs.  What more can you ask?  If you think this might be a good fit for your children why not try it for free and check it out?


What Does It Cost?

Monthly subscription: $25 for first child  - $15 additional children. 

Annual subscriptions: $199 for first child  - $129 additional children.

Disclaimer:  I provided this review without compensation.  Comments, opinions, and observations are my own.  This review is informational only--I was unable to access the trial, through no fault of the company or the program.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Parts + Pieces = Whole -- Fractazmic TOS Review

I See Cards
Contact Info:
                      Fax: 407-366-3343

For More Information or to check out other I See Cards products, such as Pyramath,  visit here
To Order Fractazmic click here

Price: $6.95
Age Range: Grades 1-8

Lately we're learning the "whole" picture of manipulating fractions using a fun card game developed by I See Cards.  As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free deck of Fractazmic cards to use in order to provide this review.  This game is definitely a "keeper".

The Fractazmic deck contains 60 colorful cards which are clearly numbered and clearly labeled with a fraction and a reinforcing graphic.

This is a 2-4 player game in which players try to gather as many hands as possible before one player runs out of cards.  The interesting part is the capture of a hand in a round.  In order to gather a hand a player must play a card that brings the sum of all cards thrown to 1 (a whole) or force the next player to use a card that takes the sum over 1.

This game teaches players to quickly identify fractions and then convert and add them.  The cards reinforce the relationship between fractions and measurements, and the colorful graphics shows real-world use of fractions.


My "Whole" Opinion of this Game:  We really like this game.  The game is easy to play and doesn't take very long.  The longer we played the faster we all became at converting and adding fractions at a quick pace.  This is a great practice tool to use while learning about fractions.  I like the illustrations on the cards too.  The illustrations provide plenty of conversation opportunities related to everyday things which involve measuring and fractions.  (6/12 or 1/2 dozen eggs for example)  The age range given is appropriate for this game.  (My 14 year old daughter frequently wins when playing with dad.  (He told me he's not just letting her win either!)  We will be bringing out this game frequently for review of basic fraction information.  My 1/3 + my daughter's 1/3 + my husband's 1/3 = A "Whole" lot of fun and learning!  The price on this game is very reasonable for the learning it provides.

If you'd like to find out what other TOS Review Crew members had to say about Fractazmic click here .

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free deck of the above-mentioned cards in order to provide this honest review.  I have not and will not receive further compensation.  Thoughts, opinions and comments here are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Math Mammoth - About "Time" for a Review

Math Mammoth Clock (Blue Series)

We've been using a fun curriculum from Math Mammoth to learn about clocks, telling time, and using a calendar.    Let me tell you about it.

 Math Mammoth Clock (Blue Series) is a 78 page worktext (including answers), suitable for grades 1-3, that covers:
  • Whole and Half Hours
  • Half and Quarter Hours
  • How Many Minutes Pass
  • Using Calendar
In the book there are explanations and exercises.  The book really requires very little teacher preparation--very easy to use.  By the time you're done your student will be able to read a clock, figure out time intervals, and use the calendar.  Since this book contains grades 1-3 and progresses as you go it's easy to have your child work on different sections at different times as they are able.

Fore example: 1st grade contains reading the clock to the 1/2 hour, 2nd grade contains reading the clock to the 5 minute intervals, 3rd grade contains reading the clock to the minute.

**You will need a practice clock where the child can turn the clock hands.

There is a PDF download available for $4.00.  A black and white printed copy is available for $10.85, and new in November 2011 is a PDF version of the book enabled for annotation.  (Yes that means you can have your student fill it in on the computer!)
Keep it or Leave it?  Well, I really liked this worktext.  The explanations are easy, and we progressed quickly.  My daughter fully understood each section without much effort on my part.  Good job Math Mammoth!  The many examples and questions were easy to work through--and, although I didn't need it much I liked that the answers were included too.  I was glad this included calendar information to round out the whole "time" concept.  This got a thumbs up at our house.  We've also checked out the 300 free worksheets and samples.  We have a few of the the Math Mammoth products and will probably be using more.  If you're even slightly considering the program it's worth visiting the website to check out all options and prices/discounts.
Other products from Math Mammoth include the Blue Series (work texts by topic) and the Green Series (work sheet collections by topic).  Math Mammoth covers:

Addition & Subtraction

Addition 1 worktext (grade 1)

Subtraction 1 worktext (grade 1)

Add & Subtract 2-A worktext (grades 1-2)

Add & Subtract 2-B worktext (grade 2)

Add & Subtract 3 worktext (grades 2-3)

Add & Subtract 4 worktext (grades 3-4)

Place Value

Place Value 1 worktext (grade 1)

Place Value 2 worktext (grade 2)

Place Value 3 worktext (grade 3)

Place Value 4 worktext (grade 4)

Place Value 5 worktext (grades 5-6)

Multiplication & Division

Multiplication 1 worktext (grade 3)

Division 1 worktext (grade 3)

Multiplication 2 worktext (grade 4)

Division 2 worktext (grade 4)

Multiplication Division 3 worktext (grade 5)

Multiplication & Division worksheets (grades 3-6)

Numbers & Operations worksheets (grades 3-6)

Clock and Money

Clock worktext (grades 1-3)

U.S. Money worktext (grades 1-3)

Canadian Money worktext (grades 1-3)

British Money worktext (years 2-4)

European Money worktext (grades 1-3)

Australian Money worktext (years 1-3)


Measuring 1 worktext (grades 1-3)

Measuring 2 worktext (grades 4-5)

Metric Measuring worktext (grades 1-4)

Measuring worksheets (grades 3-6)


Introduction to Fractions worktext (grades 2-4)

Fractions 1 worktext (grades 5-6)

Fractions 2 worktext (grades 5-6)

Fractions & Decimals 3 worktext (grade 6)

Fractions worksheets (grades 3-6)


Decimals 1 worktext (grades 4-5)

Decimals 2 worktext (grades 5-6)

Fractions & Decimals 3 worktext (grade 6)

Decimals worksheets (grades 3-6)


Early Geometry worktext (grades 1-3)

Geometry 1 worktext (grades 4-5)

Geometry 2 worktext (grades 6-7)

Geometry worksheets (grades 3-7)

Ratio, Proportions, Percent & algebraic thinking

The Four Operations (with a Touch of Algebra) worktext (grades 5-7)

Ratios & Proportions & Problem Solving worktext (grades 5-7)

Percent worktext (grades 6-8)

Integers worktext (grades 5-8)

Ratio, Proportion & Percent worksheets (grades 5-7)

Integers worksheets (grades 5-8)

Statistics / Graphing / Probability

Statistics & Probability worktext (grades 5-7)

Statistics worksheets (grades 4-7)

Make It Real Learning

States by the Numbers series (grades 3-6)

Arithmetic I (grades 3-6)

Fractions, Percents, and Decimals I (grades 4-8)

Fractions, Percents, and Decimals II (grades 4-8)

Sets, Probability, and Statistics I (grades 6-10)

Linear Functions I (grades 9, 11)

Linear Functions II (grade 11)

Quadratic Functions I (grades 9, 11)

Exponential & Logarithmic Functions I (grades 11-12)

Periodic & Piecewise Functions I (grades 11-12)

Polynomial, Power, Logistic & Rational Functions I (grades 11-12)

Calculus I (grade 12)

You can even get a complete curriculum for individual grades 1-6, pre-algebra, and grade 3-7 worksheets collections.  Pre-algebra and Algebra 1 worksheets collections are also available. 
If all that information above confused you stop by Math Mammoth and sign up for a 7-day virtual email tour which includes a package of over 300 free worksheets and sample pages, 7 individual emails on 7 subsequent days  answering the most commonly asked questions, and a math newsletter.
If you're interested in reading more about the Math Mammoth options and what the TOS Homeschool Review Crew thinks click here  

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Review Crew I occasionally receive free products to use to provide candid reviews.  I receive no further compensation for my reviews.  Thoughts and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide positive reviews.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scruble Cube - A TOS Review

Scruble Cube
RSV Productions Inc
10014 N Dale Mabry Hwy
Ste 101
Tampa, FL 33618
Phone: 800-749-8920
Fax: 813-971-1549
$24.95 Scruble Cube    
$4.95 96 Replacement Letter Labels
1-4 players of any age that can spell

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received an interesting and fun new learning game to use in order to provide this review.  Let me tell you about Scruble Cube.  

This word game/puzzle is designed to engage students in learning while having fun.

Warning:  Using the Scruble Cube may cause your child to improve his spelling, vocabulary and math!

How to describe this game . . . hmmm, how about in the words of the makers,

"So what if you took the known playing patterns of some of the most popular word games and puzzles in history and combine them in a brand new, unique format to create the World's Greatest 3-D Word Game?  Well, you'd have the "SCRUBLE Cube" a patent pending game with over 7,401 septillion possible configurations that anyone who can spell can play.  In SCRUBLE Cube there are 96 individually rotating letter and premium scoring pegs inserted onto a 4x4x4 cube."

If you're thinking of my favorite board game and a colored cube about now you're on the right track.

All of the letters have point values.  At the end of a player's turn the scoring begins.  There are Bonuses for words with a letter on at least three faces of the cube.  Not just a board game, now you're thinking in 3-D--with no funky glasses that are red and blue!

Scruble Cube helps in the development of logical deduction, analytical processing and word development skills.  Letters on the cube are combined in proportion to frequency of occurrence in the English language.

Some of the academic and life skills that can be learned while playing with the Scruble Cube include: mathematics trial and error, spelling, word building, research skills, mechanical skills, vocabulary development, teamwork, problem solving
skills, strategic thinking and more.

Click here to see how to use the Cube while educating your student.

The Scruble Cube website also has a number of free downloads including: Scruble Cube Points, Scruble Cube PDF Worksheets, Scruble Make a Sentence, Scruble Vowel Math, Scruble Word Logic and Periodic Table of Scruble Fun.   Printable instructions and a printable scorepad are also available.

Just like that fun colored cube you used to try to get back to normal, you can also play Scruble Cube as a puzzle where you return the cube to its original configuration which spells "Scruble Cube" in two directions.

For more information about the Scruble Cube as seen in other reviews and on TV click here .

Talk to Scruble users and share your scores and playing ideas on Facebook here .

Buy your Scruble Cube Now here .

Click here you to find out what other Crew members thought of the Scruble Cube.

Thumbs-up points:  We liked the many options of how to use the Cube.  We also liked the possibilities for learning.  The idea is great, and for the amount of time that we've had it, we do like the Cube.  My daughter, not the world's greatest speller, actually even thought the Cube was "kinda fun".  My husband and I both thought this was a product that "could be addicting".  We tried a number of different ways to play the suggested games and found them challenging and fun.

Thumbs-down points:  Using the Cube is more complicated than we expected.  This comment is not a problem, but I couldn't help wondering if a cube with less individual cubes would be more workable for younger ages.  In addition, while preparing this review, the Cube rolled off the bed onto the floor and broke into many little pieces--literally individual cubes.  Thankfully we had a chance to spend time with the product before the "explosion".  While I do understand that the company has excellent customer service, I don't think we'll probably seek out a new cube.  We try to get durable, hard-to-kill games for our family.  Between constant use and an overly exuberant 6 year old boy, we have better luck with metal, wood, and very strong plastic at our house.  One of the first things my little guy wanted to do was pull off the letter stickers.  Although the stickers are replaceable, we felt that we had to limit his use of the cube.  My daughter also felt like the twisting the cube to adjust letters to make a word was not very smooth.

Overall:  We liked the concept and ideas for use of the Scruble Cube.  We love games here, especially word games and math games.  We play our games a lot, and we can be hard on our games and even wear them out.  Just because we're not sure this is a good fit for our family, is not a reason to discourage readers from trying the Scruble Cube.   

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Product Review Crew I received the above-mentioned product free to use in order to provide an honest review of the product. I have not and will not receive further compensation for this review. Opinions and comments are my own. I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set

Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Games
Domenico Marcario, M.S. and Art direction by Ron Eddy
Copyright 2011
Eyes for Learning LLC
Winetka, IL
For More Information:  or

I recently received a free copy of Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set, a new game and educational tool, to use and review.  Created by Domenico Marcario, M.C., this game card set helps parents teach their kids math skills through games while building relationships at the same time.

Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Sensory Math Teaching System takes advantage of the natural way children learn, through sensory experiences.  This helps kids understand by doing rather than  passively watching someone else do the thinking for them.

The system contains activities and games for parents to play with their children. The material is presented in 3 stages (with a total of 20 steps and 2 games in each step) covering quantity, numeration, and operations. The active learning mode of this system has been noted to result in deep and thorough understanding of the concepts.  The games suggested can be played with items you already have such as socks, paperclips, fish-shaped crackers, cereal oat rings, etc.

Here's a breakdown of the Stages and Steps included:

Stage 1: Quantity

Steps 1-10 include:  Alike It or Not, Hungry Lion, Climb Up, Neighbors, In a Row, More or Less, Eye Spy, What Do They Make?, Put It Together and Measure Up

Stage 2: Numeration

Steps 11-14 include:  I'll Trade You, Counting Bead, Piggy Banker and Jump and Skip-Count

Stage 3:  Operations

Steps 15-20 include:  Gluing and Scissor Action, Grid/Matrix & Folding Action, Combining Operation, Taking Away Operation, Duplication Operation and Folding and Sharing Operation

The designers of Carlito C. Caterpillar’s MathHouse Games have a goal of making it fun to experience and play games while learning math.  Parents play games with their children – special games designed to demonstrate mathematical concepts to children.

The makers of the Carlito products say that one of the secrets is "JUST DON’T TELL YOUR CHILD THEY ARE LEARNING MATH WHEN YOU PLAY THESE GAMES."

You can visit the makers of the Carlito products here .  At the website are a few downloadable goodies too.  You'll find Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Hall of Fame Certificates of Excellence and Manipulatives to simply download, print and tape.  Kids can check out Carlito's Free Music Downloads and become enrolled in the Carlito Hall of Fame.

You'll also find information about new products at the site such as the new Carlito books and iPad app.

You can also visit the Carlito Facebook page here .

My thoughts:  This is a fun tool for parents to use with their kids.  The games are simple, easily assembled from items you most likely already have, and engaging.  I liked that the kids really get into the games and don't even think about the fact that they are learning something.  We've taught our kids a lot with a great variety of games--because it works!  I'd really encourage checking out the Carlito products if you have a child that loves games.  We really like relationship-building activities like games for connecting with our kids, and when they learn something in the process it's a win-win situation.

At first glance at the product name one might think this is a deck of cards of some sort.  It is actually a durable set of cards, attached with a metal ring, which describe the stages of learning math.  Instructions for gathering needed materials and game directions are found on these cards--not the games

Bring on the Fun - Now For the Giveaway

Are you interested in checking out the Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Games 20 Steps to Learning Math?  I will be drawing a winner of the MathHouse Game Card Set on Saturday, October 8th at noon.  Here's how you can get in on the random drawing:

1.  Leave a comment here that you're interested.
2.  For another entry leave a comment here about your favorite learning game.
3.  For another entry leave a comment here about another one of my blog posts.
4.  For another entry follow me on Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs and leave a comment here.

Blessings and good luck to all who enter!! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time 4 Learning - A TOS Review

Time 4 Learning 
 6300 NE 1 Ave, Suite 203 Ft Lauderdale, FL 33334
(954) 771-0914
Fax: (954) 827-7600

$19.95 for the first child/$14.95 for each additional child/monthly membership

Ages PreK-8th Grade
For my latest review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Product Review Crew our family received a free month membership to Time 4 Learning.  Let me tell you a bit about Time 4 Learning and show you some screen shots to help you get a feel for it too.

A Time 4 Learning membership includes 1000+ multimedia lessons delivering standards-based math and language arts lessons--science, social studies and art are also an option in most grades. Art is available after the first month of membership for fourth through eighth graders. Each student gets an individual login and access to multiple grades--the grade above and below their own in most subjects.  Students are able to work fairly independently while completing activities.  Parents have access to lesson plans, teaching tools and automated grading and progress reports.

The math and language arts curriculum are designed to meet all state standards, but science and social studies lessons may need to be supplemented to meet individual state requirements. Online lessons and activities may be used or worksheets may be printed if desired.

Demos are available for viewing, and a Curriculum Overview is also shown on the website.

Preschool Colors Game

Latin & Greek roots

This online curriculum can be used for summer review, after school, preschool early learning, homeschooling, special needs learning, or just plain fun. Time 4 Learning can be used alone or with curriculum such as K12, Charlotte Mason, Singapore Math, Saxon Math, ABeka, Five in a Row, Sonlight, Switched on Schoolhouse, Bob Jones University.  The program even works fine with lapbooking and unschooling.  Art is available after the first month of membership for fourth through eighth graders. For many families Time 4 Learning is also a great fit for their special needs students (ADD/ADHD, autistic, dyslexic, visual learners).


Here's How It All Works
This computer-based curriculum does not require you to download any software-- members just sign in and get started.  Preschool, elementary school and middle school are split into Lower Level and Upper Level on the site log-ins.  Topics for the various grades may include:
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • PreAlgebra & Algebra Online
  • Online Art program - Time 4 Art (after the first month of membership)
  • Spelling Skills - including word lists by grade
  • Writing & Reading Skills (Online Reading Programs, Reading Comprehension, Writing Software, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics Curriculum, Elementary Grammar and Vocabulary)
Parent Community & Forum

Parent resources include a Parent Forum, Scope & Sequence and Lesson Plans.
In addition, parents also have access to information regarding:

  • Homeschool Portfolios - Homeschool Record Keeping 
  • Homeschool Curriculum Reviews of Time4Learning 
  • Secular Homeschooling 
  • Getting Started Homeschooling Guide 
  • Homeschool State by State Information 
  • Information for Homeschool Charter Schools

At $19.95 per month for the first child and $14.95 per month for each additional child the price is not too bad for the materials covered.  I suspect many larger families would not be able to afford the program easily since this is monthly.  There are no contracts, and you can cancel anytime by giving notice to discontinue membership. Time 4 Learning also offers a  2 week money back guarantee!

Time 4 Learning will work on PC or Mac computers.  "Fast access" (DSL or cable modem) to the internet would be preferred.  Although we were able to access via laptop at various places with Wi-Fi/high-speed, this program really is not a good fit if you are on dial-up internet.  Much of the site could not be accessed at dial-up speed.  In addition, because most of the Time 4 Learning lessons use Flash technology, iPads, iPhones and iPod touch are not usable options.

Love it or Leave it?  I'm conflicted on this one.  While filled with fun graphics, the curriculum content wasn't exactly a great fit for our family.  The colorful pictures, activities and games definitely capture a child's attention.  Topics seemed to be covered adequately, but some of the content seemed too simple for the grade level given.  I suppose that could be taken care of by jumping to the next level perhaps.  This wasn't a great fit for my 6 year old because he thought it was game time rather than learning time.  Since the little guy wasn't getting into the curriculum, I opted to spend more time with my 14 year old using her level of the program.  Although she said there were some "cool" and "fun" things, she also pointed out that stuff seemed a bit too easy.  I was not surprised that she enjoyed the Playground games section.  I'm sure the kids would continue to use the program occasionally, but this wasn't a favorite for either child.

I did like the ability to check on the progress of my children through the parent account.  The reporting available could be great for documentation to prove topics covered.  This isn't a real big issue for us right now though since we frequently monitor and always supervise our children while they are online.
My bigger conflict came in the content of the curriculum.  We have tended to use Christian curriculum and resources while teaching our children.  This curriculum is definitely secular in nature.  The content was adequate but seemed odd at times and didn't quite fit for us.  This doesn't mean the curriculum was necessarily bad, but I'm not sure that I could suggest this to parents who prefer Christian, scripture-based materials.  It was fun to check out something new, but this is not a membership we would purchase.

Find out more thoughts from the Crew

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Product Review Crew I received a free month membership to Time 4 Learning for my children to use in order to provide an honest review of the program.  I have not and will not receive further compensation.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  All comments and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Be a Top Dog, Drill With Mad Dog Math - A TOS Review

Mad Dog Math
4562 Ocana Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713
Phone (562) 533-5772

Age Range -  K-5th Grade


As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free trial download of the Mad Dog Math software to use with my children for several weeks in order to provide an honest review of the program.  Observations, suggestions and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  Keep reading for more information about this supplemental math drill software.

Mad Dog Math is intended to be a supplement to any math curriculum, whether classroom or at home.  The program is available in printed form and CD-ROM for Windows PC.  (This one is not for Macintosh.)  (Mad Dog Math Online is coming soon according to their website.) 

Can your children recite basic math facts from memory, without hesitation?  This math drill program allows children to master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with quick daily drills.  All that is needed to get started is a one-time purchase of a binder or CD-ROM - both are exactly the same.  The program is designed to build a child's confidence with "bite-size" pieces of the basic math facts mastered in short 7-10 minute daily practice sessions.  Competition against self, through decreasing time allowed for drill completion, builds speed and self-confidence for your children.

I think we all know that memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts is important to make more advanced math much easier and quicker to learn.   However, we don't always push our children to remember these facts for quick and easy reference.  Julie Kotoff, the creator of Mad Dog Math, has been an educator for 30 years and now works as an educational consultant.  She created Mad Dog Math as a fun and challenging way to help students commit these facts to memory.  Her Mad Dog Math program is named after her beloved Ruff, a Golden Retriever, whom she lost in 2004.  Although he was not a “mad dog”, he lives on through the Mad Dog Math program.

Mad Dog Math breaks the basic facts down into bite-sized pieces (fact families).  Your child advances through timed worksheets, at his own pace.  When he passes, he moves on to the next sheet, building his confidence and speed along the way.  There are three levels and a challenge level to work through.  While the first two levels have worksheets with 20 problems, the third and challenge levels contain 24 problems per worksheet.  When using the timed mode, you set the timer to begin at two minute completion, then progressing to one minute completion and finally to 30 second completion.  As these levels are accomplished your child earns Club stickers.  After completion of a level your child is a "Math Top Dog" and moves on to the next level.

Mad Dog Math is available in binder-form (for paper and pencil) or CD-ROM.  In the program you'll find a program overview, suggestions for a daily routine and ideas for when your child gets "stuck".  You'll also find a Progress Chart where your child keeps track of his own progress. 

There are also Mad Dog Math aids available -- self-correcting flashcards and a Mad Dog Math timer.  There are even Certificates that can be presented to your child on completion.

The best part, Mad Dog Math practice takes as little as 5-10 minutes a day so there is always time to fit it into your day.  (Of course, if you have a child that thrives on drills, keep on going!)

This is a good, no-frills way to get the basics memorized.  My daughter, age 14, helped me by using the program on and off over the past few weeks.  She was not motivated by the Club stickers.  She also does not do as well when she knows she's being timed - so much for self competition.  (If you prefer, a No Limit option allows for no timer, but your child may still track their progress.)  She did say that the program wasn't that bad.  She also thought that younger kids would enjoy the program more.  From the mom/teacher perspective, her speed did improve as she progressed - hurray! 

I think the suggested age range is about right.  The drills are definitely helpful in memorizing the math facts from 0-18. 

The software was easy to download.  Depending on the age of your child, children can move through this fairly independently.

I wish this had a monthly pricing option, but the 1 year license isn't terribly expensive.  I am also glad I'm a PC so that software was an option.  I would really like to check out Mad Dog Math Online when that is available.

Currently this is only available for Windows PC. Although we used a software download, the binder is said to be exactly the same material -- allowing Mac users to still use the materials. There is not a limit of how many children can use the software.  The daily practice is short and easily fits into most schedules.

There is not a separate parent page to check your child's progress. You must log in under your child's name to check the worksheet progress chart.

This is quite easy to use, and children can learn at their own pace.  For some children the club stickers and certificates could be a great incentive.  For children who stress while being timed, drills may be done without the timer.

The suggested age range is K-5th grade, but the program can also strengthen the skills of older children who have not previously committed the basic math facts to memory--a chance to catch up and speed up before moving on to fractions, decimals, algebra and other higher math.

***Definitely a thumbs-up here, but not so much for the 14 year old.   

One Year License  $19.99
Two Year License  $29.99
Perpetual License   $39.99

*For classroom and school district license fees visit the Mad Dog Math website.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

MathRider - A TOS Product Review

Sharper Edge Pty Ltd
31 Hannah Street
Beecroft NSW 2119
Phone: +61 2 9980 2437
Office hours: 9am to 5pm (East Australian Time – GMT+10), Mon-Fri
Compatible with Windows, Mac OSX and Linux
Current sale price - US $37.

Instant download access

Age range 6-10 years old

"30 Day Risk-Free Guarantee"  (If for ANY reason you or your child are dissatisfied with MathRider, to get a 100% refund just contact the company within 30 days after purchasing.

Caution:  You are now entering the Mathlands . . .

We recently have been using a downloadable math game from Australia.  Let me tell you about this fun supplemental way to learn basic math.  MathRider is a new math game for kids to practice the number facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division from 1 to 12.

The download and registration of this game is pretty easy, although you may have to download Adobe AIR if you don't have it.  After downloading, your "rider" is easily added on the Rider Menu.

In the game the player rides on different quests and learns each of the 4 math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and  division).  While the game is played the computer stores and analyzes what the rider knows and what they still need to practice.  The cool thing about this is that the players get to actually practice what they don't know instead of doing random problems.  There's even an overview map for each number table to see which facts are mastered (answered correctly with consistent speed).

Screenshot from Addition Quest

Each of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) has four quests, which are the same, but the rewards are different in each quest.  The riders enter answers as they move along the quest.  They pass through the Mathlands, a richly illustrated background.  At the end of the quest the rider gets to see their reward on the main screen of the game.

Quest Progress Map


Along the way your child rides their own horse and takes off on fun adventures, some of which include finding magical flowers, returning gems to elves and rescuing a princess. All your child needs to do is type in the answer to the problem presented and press ‘Enter’.

Below is a picture of one of these overview maps of mastery.  In this subtraction statistics example most areas are green (mastered), but a few orange and red areas (problem areas), need more practice. Grey areas show the problems that have not been played yet.  This kind of feedback allows parents to figure out where their children still need practice.


This game also allows multiple children to play (up to 10 on a single license), and the game tracks each child separately. (They just log in to their own game.)  This feature is great if you have kids at varying skill levels, because the game becomes "their own" based on how well they answer questions on their personal quest.  (For example, you can have a younger child working on addition and subtraction while an older child works on multiplication and division.)  This feature is also great because you pay once rather than per child.

My daughter, a horse lover, thought this game was a fun way to practice her math and gain a bit of speed in solving basic problems. Yes, she asked to do math on her own time - hurray.

This one gets a thumbs up for helping learn basic facts. We weren't that excited about the graphics, but there is good variety for the quests. There are wizards, elves and other fantasy items we don't really care for, but this is worth considering for the inspiration to quickly learn math facts. I'd be interested in seeing this game with different types of quests rather than the fantasy theme.

To see what other TOS Crew members had to say about the game click here

I received a free trial download of this game to use for the purpose of providing an honest review.  Opinions and observations shared are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  No further compensation was provided.

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