You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

TOS Crew factsfirst Saxon Math

As part of the TOS Crew, we received a 90 day subscription to factsfirst, a personalized and fully adaptive online math product that builds a child’s confidence and helps develop instant recall of basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It isn't a math curriculum; it's a math practice program.

Ella and Hank jumped into this with both feet. They each began by creating their character...everything from face shape to accessories. Hank rolled right through this as he created a football player character. Ella took f.o.r.e.v.e.r as she tried every hairstyle, outfit, shoe, and purse. Her husband will need to be a very patient man. :)

The kids can then choose to do an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division lesson. The lessons begin with learning new facts; next is the commutative property, some practice, and a quiz. Each lesson ends with scoring where the program tells your student how many he got correct.

The lessons are real life application problems. The kids go to "Math Mart" and buy groceries, go to the "Bistro Math" restaurant, visit the recycling center and so on. A nice clear voice goes over the math facts and gives instructions; this is a wonderful feature for my emerging reader and my non-reader.

The intent of factsfirst is to teach your student instant recall of math facts. So the idea is for him to input his answer not only correctly but quickly. He gets a 'check+' for fast and accurate, a 'check' for accurate, and an 'X' for incorrect.

Initially, this was very difficult and frustrating for my little ones who have limited keyboarding skills (plus they were on the laptop so there's no number key pad- only the line of numbers across the top of the keyboard). Many thanks to my friends on the TOS Crew who pointed out that I could go into the parent controls and change the time setting to as long or as short as I wanted.

The facts are grouped into units, and your student needs to master the content of one unit before moving on to the next one. After completing a lesson, your student can play math games in the arcade.

One very cool feature is the Math Fact Matrix. Math facts highlighted in green were completed quickly and accurately. Yellow is for facts that were entered accurately but slowly or the accuracy was inconsistent, and facts highlighted in red need more work. Ella and Hank liked seeing facts turn green and were motivated to continue so they could have more green squares.

We thoroughly enjoyed this program. Both kids were motivated to do their math each day so they could have a turn at 'computer math.' I heartily recommend factsfirst.
There's a comprehensive demonstration of an addition lesson and a multiplication lesson that you can view to get a feel for the program.
A one year subscription to FactsFirst is only $49.99. Each household license contains four unique student profiles and will remain active for one full year.

You can click here to read reviews written by other TOS Crew members.

* I received this product for free so that I may use it and give my honest opinion about it.

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