Monday, February 1, 2010

Math Score Online Math Practice/Curriculum

Wow... more math~ Who'd a thunk it? :) (And there is even MORE on the horizon...)

This time the TOS Crew members were given free subscriptions to:
Math Practice by MathScore is a no frills(or few frills from a student perspective) online math practice site developed by MIT Graduates. This site serves the youngest elementary students through those who are learning algebra, with "keyboarding skills" focusing on the numberpad (CopyCat practice, and CopyCat), and basic, timed math facts practice from addition all the way up to quadratic formulas and nonlinear functions(Grade 9).

The topics are listed in increasing difficulty for appropriate grades. For example, Grade 1 has 20 topics to cover, including learning to use the number pad, simple math facts, counting money, and patterns to name a few, while Grade 8 starts with the "review topics" of "Fast addition, Fast Multiplication, Etc...", and continues on through 63 topics of increasing difficulty, ending with "Nonlinear Functions and Domain and Range" (The final two topics are further keyboarding skills that incorporate typing with letters as well as numbers).

There is a lot to appreciate about this site:
  • Each "topic" includes a "mini lesson" that explains how to work the problems, as well as a page of "sample questions" to go over, before proceeding to the timed worksheet.
  • The worksheets are the meat of this program. Each one starts with a few questions, and depending on how well the student performs, the next worksheet is more difficult (ie has more problems), and/or has less time allotted.
  • Bonus #1 *parents are able to "pad" the amount of time allowed for each worksheet, which can help with children who don't process quite as quickly, or just need a little extra time... But I do recommend remembering to remove that "pad" after they have achieved some success in the given topic.
  • Bonus #2 If you want to use this to supplement a curriculum, you aren't forced into one section of the site.... you are allowed to access the entire curriculum, and choose the topics that compliment each day's work for extra practice.
  • I know I said this was a "no frills" site, and for the most part, for the students, that is true. However, there is an element of fun in trying to beat the clock, and achieve a higher "Rank" (complete with fireworks to celebrate!), and also the ability to earn trophies.
My daughter achieved this goal:
Fingers of Fury Trophy
And now her trophy room looks like this:
Trophy Room
She had achieved proficiency in other topics, but hadn't really explored the trophy option.... which requires more excellent ratings, and now she really wants to continue, to fill in the trophies that she should be able to acquire with relative ease, but I have to get this review done, so I was the mean mommy, and said "no more math tonight!!!" ;)
  • It can be assumed that if you have a student that is highly motivated by competition and "Completing" tasks (I have one that is, and one that is less so....), this could be a great site.
  • You have the ability to check on each student's activity for any range of time (here's a screenshot of one Activity Summary.
Activity Summary
  • You also have the option to have an activity summary emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis (Based on if your children have logged in to in that timeframe.) This is particularly nice if you would like to share their progress, either with an overseeing institution, as is required in some states, or just with Grandma and Grandpa. :)
Now... if you have a student that requires lots of hands-on help, isn't self-motivated, or has a difficult time with.... well..... TIMED drills, then this might not be quite as useful. The great thing is that Mathscore offers a 2 week free trial so you can see for yourself if this will work well for your family and/or individual students.

The price seems reasonable, when compared with other web-based math programs (Don't forget, this offers automatic "attendence" and "grading", so that's one more thing you don't have to worry about...)
The regular price per month is:
$14.95 for the first child
$5 for the 2nd child, and
$3.95 for any additional children.

For a savings of $5/month, or $45 over the 9 month period.
There is also a "prepay" discount for a 9 Month Purchase which works out to:
1st Student $9.95
2nd Student $5.00
Each Additional Student $3.95
  • There is another great benefit to, in that you are able to "Freeze" your account during vacation times, etc.... so that you aren't paying for a service that you aren't using.
  • Oh, one other benefit, in line with this, is that is entirely web-based, so even if you are traveling, if you have access to any computer (Say, and extended visit to family....) then your student is able to sign on and put in their math time!
All in all, I think that this is a good option out there, particularly for those on more of a budget, and/or for those who have particularly highly motivated students. I also appreciate that you aren't "locked" into any grade, or topic, and are able to freely move your children about as you find most beneficial for your particular circumstances.

Here are some interesting statistics on the efficacy of in "traditional school settings" in case you are interested in some more long-term information as well.

As always, check out what the rest of the TOS Crew has to say, and I hope that this review is helpful to you as you chose where to most wisely allocate your homeschool budget.

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