Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TOS Review: Quarter Mile Math


Product Info.

Quarter Mile Math is a computer software program developed by Barnum Software. It provides a fun way for students to practice timed mental math problems. There are two versions of this product: deluxe and standard. I will be reviewing the deluxe version. For more information on the standard version, check out Barnum's website.

In the game students can choose to be either a wild riderless horse racing across a meadow or a racecar on a drag strip. Mental math problems are flashed onto the computer screen one at a time, and the student types in the answers as fast as possible. The faster the answer is typed, the faster the horse or car goes, and the better their race time. There are five other horses (or cars) in the race, which are the student's previous race times, so a player is only competing against himself. If you choose, you can race in real-time tournaments with other family members on multiple computers. Even grandparents out-of-state can participate.

The software contains over 70,000 problems covering Kindergarten through 9th grade level math topics. The program also automatically tracks student progress and shows which topics have been practiced.

Pricing

The deluxe version is a downloadable subscription product priced at:

-$2.95 per family each month. (You can subscribe for as few or as many months as you like.)

or

-$19.95 per family for one year

or

-$34.95 per family for two years
An internet connection is required for this version, but students never go to the web. (Scores are saved to the Quarter Mile Math servers.)

With each of these options you can choose to pay an additional $5.00 to have a copy of the software CD mailed to you. (You can also still download it.)

Pros

-My children thoroughly enjoyed racing their cars and horses and were motivated to try to answer as many problems as possible.

-This was a much more exciting way for them to practice mental math than flashcards or worksheets.

-Students are trying to better their own race times, so there is no competition or comparison with others (unless you opt to do a tournament).

-At $2.95 per month, you can try it out for just one month without straining your budget.

Cons

-Since we limit screen time in our home, I don't like to use the computer for math instruction or practice on a regular basis.

-Some students may not enjoy the pressure of a timed situation or may not be able to do their best work in a timed setting.

-The graphics are not cutting edge.

-There is no variety of race courses from which to choose. Each race always has six horses (or cars) racing in a straight line. My eight-year old son asked if there were any other courses he could race. (This was the only negative for him.)

For more information and demonstration videos, visit Quarter Mile Math. They also have a page just for homeschoolers.

If you would like to read more TOS Homeschool Crew Reviews about this product, you can visit the Crew Blog.

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