Saturday, August 15, 2009

TOS Review: Quartermile Math

Quartermile Math is a software program designed to help kids practice their math skills.

Summary: Basically you are a race car that drives along. The program offers up a question that must be answered either with true or false or with a number using the keyboard. If you get an answer wrong, it will pose the same question again three times before giving you the answer and it will wait for you to enter it. If you get it correct, your car goes faster and pulls ahead of other cars. You can choose to be a race car or a race horse.
You can choose which math skills you will practice and at the end of the race you find out how you placed in the race. So the motivating factor here is winning the race by quickly doing mental math problems. Each time you race you are racing against your own five previous races in the other lanes.

You can set up student tournaments and it tells you how to do so in the tournament guide. As a teacher, you are able to check on the scores for each race to determine how your student is performing.

There are varying levels to choose from when purchasing the software. You can buy them by the individual level or bundled together in the standard form.

  • Levels 1, 2, and 3 are $39.95 each.
  • Bundled levels 1, 2 are $64.95
  • Bundled levels 2, 3 are $64.95
  • Levels 1, 2, 3 bundled are $89.95
When you purchase the 3 levels bundled together, you have the option of the standard or deluxe software. Difference?
  • Deluxe costs $2.95/month which you can stop anytime.
  • $19.95 for one year
  • $39.95 for two years
  • Deluxe allows you to put the program on more than one computer so that two students can work on it at the same time. They can race or they can just both be practicing at the same time.
  • Deluxe Upgrades are free on the software. They are $5 for the standard version
  • Deluxe requires an internet connection.

Math Concepts to choose from include:
  • Numbers and Letters
  • Whole Numbers
  • Introduction to Fractions
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Math Strategies
  • Estimation
  • Integers
  • Equations
  • good source of mental math practice
  • racing competition is motivating
  • choice of how you pay and use the product- internet or not
  • with Deluxe version more than one student can practice math at a time given you have more than one computer.
  • fun computer review helps to change things up in math
  • reinforces math skills necessary to do mental math
  • can monitor your student's progress in different math areas.
  • homeschool page on the company's website- a place to get tips, getting started information, get a printable progress report on each of your students, and a users' forum where homeschoolers can talk about how they are incorporating Quartermile Math into their math program.
  • can get reports on how each student is doing during practice.
  • Competition is not motivating for all kids. In fact, it can be intimidating especially in timed math situations.
  • Price is high for a supplemental math product
  • graphics are not engaging
  • can be glitchy and get hung up after races on Vista machines. There is a patch for this, but it's something to be aware of.
My oldest two kids seemed to enjoy it. E10 loved the idea of competing against himself and enjoyed playing it. R9 had some fun, but she did get flustered at having to race. Long term I think she would grow tired of trying to be fast.

I think it's a somewhat fun concept and would make an interesting supplement for learning math facts. I like the way the company has accommodated homeschoolers since this is a software program used in Sylvan Learning Centers and other more traditional schooling options.

I know the program will continue to be used at our house because the kids enjoyed it. If you are looking for a math practice supplement to your math program, then this could be a good fit if you like the racing concept.

Again, for me personally, in our homeschool, a computer based math practice program is not something I would seek out on my own. On occasion my kids will use the computer for math fact practice, but with limited screen time in a day, I usually go for other types of computer experiences. However, keep in mind that is a philosophy of the living math approach not necessarily a view that every homeschooler shares.

Visit the website. See what you think!


Christopher Wright said...
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Heather said...

Thank you Christopher! I also need to add on information about the homeschooling portion of the website.