Tuesday, December 15, 2009

3P Learning/Mathletics~ Online Curriculum-based Math Resource ~

The TOS Crew received a free 45 day trial period in order to review Mathletics, a web-based math resource. This is another one of those "Smart programs" that advances the child based on their apparent understanding of a topic.

The "hook" is that in addition to regular curriculum based problems, there is a section included "Live Mathletics", that enables your student to safely and semi-anonymously compete with other children across the world in timed math drills. In addition, work done in the regular portion of Mathletics that beats the student's precious record, and winning competitions in the Mathletics LIVE! section, earns the student "Credits" which can be used in the "store" to buy accessories for their Mathletics Character or Avatar.

However, there is more to like than that! (Good thing, too, because this *is* a paid subscription site....)

My 9 year old's favorite things about Mathletics:
  • The ability to earn "Credits" to spend in the "store" on "Accessories" for their Mathletics Characters~ He feels that this encouraged him to do his best.
  • It's cool to race against other people to answer math questions.
  • The Keyboarding lessons were fun.
My 12 year old:
  • Especially liked that if the topic was difficult to understand, she was able to have the problem explained, and have a few examples to work through.
  • Like her brother, she enjoyed the "reward" aspect of the program, earning credits to buy things for her "Character" and
  • The Global competition of Live Mathletics was fun.
  • She also appreciated that the site let her read the problems/explanations at her own speed(fast), and she didn't have to "listen" to someone else tell her something she already understands.
Both children were really only disappointed in one thing:
They participated in the American Math Challenge, and neither child thought it was fair that the things they earned then weren't theirs to "keep" in their accounts... they disappeared after the Math Challenge week was over. (Not a major deal if you don't participate in the "Math Challenge Weeks", but if you do, be forewarned...)

Things that "Mom" enjoyed:
  • Lots of material to choose from: There are over 750 learning activities for children ages 5-14.
  • You can leave what each child chooses to do each day up to them (perhaps specifying that they need to work on a topic that is new to them....), OR you can specify certain topics for them to do that must be done before they can jump into the "Live!" portion
  • Weekly Reports that detail exactly which activities the child worked on, The amount of time they spent logged in, and what their scores were for each completed activity. Interesting for me to see that when DS had trouble with a certain concept, he would "redo" the activity until he was able score 100%! ;)
  • Test Results for each activity that also detail relative Strengths and Weaknesses (nice input!)
  • Live! Mathletics Results are included on the Test Results page, and show what level the student worked at, How many questions/minute they did, how many correct answers they made, and what their accuracy was. Again... great feedback!
  • The Parent Toolbox includes printable workbooks with both student and teacher versions.... all the way up to grade 12! (Now, my kids are nowhere near that stage yet, but I think the information is useful!) The workbooks can be downloaded in "Chunks" or in their entirety, and the parent/teacher workbook includes not only the answers, but assessments and outcomes as well.
Things that "Mom" didn't like:
  • The site is a little confusing... I was forever clicking on a link in the window that opened when I logged in, but the link didn't open in new tabs there, the pages opened in my previous browser window... confused? I was too! Not a deal-breaker, just a bit of an idiosyncrasy that I had to get used to.
  • Ummmm... other than that, the only other trouble I had was trying to kick my kids off MY computer! They both enjoyed using Mathletics a lot!
What's the nitty gritty on this one?
  • The normal cost is $99 per student per year, however the current pricing is $59 per student per year (And that year is 24/7/365)
  • IF you know the human calculator's favorite number (Check out the TOS Crew to find it as well as read some other reviews....) you can save another $10, bringing the cost down to $9.95 per student!
  • Through January 14th Mathletics is offering an extra incentive to subscribe.... be entered in a drawing for an ipod touch! (Side note... this is what my family gave me for my birthday this year, and it is so cool! WAY more than just an mp3 player!!!)
  • Mathletics offers a 10 day money back guarantee.
As always, I hope that this review was helpful to you as you make choices about what purchases will best suit your family. Blessings~

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