I don't know about you but in our house math facts are a problem. We memorize and memorize but 'instant' recall comes and goes. Well for me anyway! Anytime I can review something that can help in that area it is exciting to me (not necessarily to the kids). So when I was offered a chance to try Ubersmart Math Facts from Ubersmart Software I jumped at the chance (and my kids groaned).
Before I get started talking about how the program works I have to point out that this program is downloadable to your computer and only works on Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista.
This computer based software teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and is aimed at grades K-6. However if you are like me you might find it useful for yourself.
The program was designed by a home school dad, like many dad's he was trying to solve a problem given to him by his wife ~ "make a set of math flashcards". He actually did something my husband would have done...tried to find an electronic version. My husband hates scraps of paper around the house. So this is always his first choice. Not finding one he liked Mr Kocur decided to create his own. It did the job ~ his kids learned their facts and learned them well!
All three of my kids have their own laptops and so each of them have their own copy. Although this program is marketed for ages K-6 I loaded on Jam's laptop too! Everyone can do with more Math fact practice right! The program costs $24.95 and allows for 8 users.
Now this is not a flashy, bright, program with teddy bears jumping out every few seconds to encourage your kids. But believe me once you get going it's really fun. Why...because you are challenging yourself. My older kids like it, and are willing to spend a good ten minutes or so on it. My 1st grader however is a little put off by the 'let's get down to business' attitude of the program. This is where bribery comes in...ten minutes on this program for ten minutes of that... I will freely admit it bribery works some times. Especially when I hear him shout "YES!" when he passes something off (even if it's just his +0, +1, or +2 math facts).
I love that this program is a one time purchase and not something I have to commit to every month. So although Jam has basically aged out I know that we will get plenty of miles out of this program as a family.
HOW WE USED IT
After I loaded the program on the the kids computers I gave them a quick tour of the program. The older two I basically let them explore most of the program by themselves but I did insist that they only work on multiplication and division. Captain America worked solely on addition throughout the review period.
When I setup Captain America (Little J's new name for the blog as apparently he's not 'little' anymore) on the program I was able to edit a couple of the settings. I was able to extend the seconds per problem, mastery factor and the beat the clock. Since he is not working on multiplication and division yet I didn't worry about changing those. However, when we start I will go in and change them one at a time so he doesn't get hit straight away with a 12x problem.
Captain America completed the beginner assessment and we received quite a comprehensive report. I know you can't read it clearly but it gives you the general idea. (This is printable for your records or can be saved on your computer.)
My kids tried out the 'learn' section but honestly they didn't like it. They found it annoying that they couldn't pick the answer. So most of our time was spent in the other sections. The practice section allows you to enter the answers and they prefered this. The Test section is split into 2 choices 'beginner' and 'intermediate' this is where we took Captain America's assessment test. This is also where you can obtain 'mastery' of a particular area. This is a great tool as it helps you pass off individual sections. So you can start for example working through the timestables from 0 to 12 and as you get 100% in this section it marks them as 'mastered'. The next tab is 'compete' I must admit this is my favorite area. You can pick your age generally 'Adult', 'High School', 'Middle School' etc and then you answer a set of timed questions. You are then ranked with all the other players that the program has one file. It's pretty fun to see where you rank in the list. The report sections shows a summary of the progress that you have made, and the 'maintain' section is just that, it helps you maintain the account, passwords etc...
Some of the unique features of the program are;
~ Beginner option using dot cards (like adding domino faces)
~ Keyboard Entry (Ten-Key Numbers)
~ Flash Cards (add, subtract, multiplication, division)
~ Addition/Subtraction goes up through the 9s
~ Multiplication/Division has the option to set it to go up to 9's - 20's.
WHAT THE KIDS THOUGHT
At first the kids groaned quite a bit when I asked them to play with this program. However eventually the older two had less of an attitude with it. I think when they bypassed the 'learn' section they found it a lot more user friendly. They also like to obtain the 'mastery' status. Captain America is still not convinced. He does it when asked but he never chooses it when given computer time.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I like this program. It's simple, yet complicated (if you understand what I mean) I am sure there are things that I haven't mastered yet, and things I have missed. The only thing I didn't like was the learn section as it wouldn't let us pick an answer, but this was easily solved by jumping to the practice section so it wasn't a huge issue. I would LOVE this as an Android App so that we could play it on the go without the Internet.
1. Downloads to your computer and only works on Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista.
2. Marketed for grade K-6 (although suitable through Adult as it's not babyish)
3. $24.95 one time payment (no monthly fee)
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