Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review of Math Rider

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Math facts are the bane of just about every kid's existence at one point or another.  Whether it is doubles facts in kindergarten or multiplication facts in third grade, at one time or another, all kids have to bite the bullet and do some memorizing.  Back in the day, the only way to do that was either to break out the flash cards or sit down with a parent, neither of which was terribly appealing.  Now, however, there is a great program called Math Rider.

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More than just a math facts memorization program, Math Rider truly is like a game.  (In fact, it is so much like a game that when my son lost his computer game privileges for a week, it took some serious discussion between my husband and me to resolve whether Math Rider counted as school or games!).  Players embark on quests through the Mathlands, solving math facts along the way.  You (the parent) are able to set the quest for different levels of difficulty in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  As your child comes to a fact, it is stated out loud and presented visually (very important in terms of appealing to different types of learners).  If your child gets the answer wrong, the ride temporarily stops as the right answer is given.  The same fact will be presented again two or three facts down the ride.  The game adapts continually to your child's level of learning.  It is not just a series of canned and repeated facts.  

Because Math Rider includes quests for all types of arithmetic facts from addition through division, it is a tool that grows with your children, and from personal experience, I can tell you that they don't tire of it quickly.  Riding Shadow, the horse that takes them through the Mathlands, never seems to get old!

Math Rider and My Munchkins

The day we received Math Rider was not pretty in my house.  There were fights.  There were arguments.  Everyone wanted to do math.  Even my eldest daughter who, at 11, knows all of her facts in all categories, wanted her chance to ride Shadow.  Finally, we were able to settle on an order for using Math Rider and everyone was, if not happy about it, at least satisfied.  I let the kids decide what level to set their quests at.  Nicholas (9) worked on his division facts at the medium level of difficulty and both twins (8) worked on their multiplication facts at the highest level of difficulty. At first the twins were frustrated because they couldn't get the program to recognize their entries when they typed in an answer to a problem, but we quickly figured out that they were not pressing the "enter" key hard enough. Problem solved.  

From the start of the review period to this very day, the twins have used Math Rider at least three times a week for about 15 minutes each day.  Nicholas has used it almost every day for up to 45 minutes a day.  For him, it is not as much about mastering the facts anymore.  It is about seeing how fast he can type them in.  I think he wonders if he can make Shadow trip on a fence or something like that if he types fast enough.  Regardless, I am hardly going to tell him that he can't keep going back over things he knows.  I have noticed that he knows his multiplication facts *cold*.  He knew them pretty well before Math Rider, but he doesn't even think about them now.  The twins have also really improved on their multiplication facts.  They all know that Math Rider is school-ish, but we don't use school time to do it, and it is fun, so it doesn't feel onerous in any way.  It is a completely painless, but 100% effective, way to learn facts.

The Nitty-Gritty

Math Rider is available as an instant download for $47.  The price includes lifetime updates.  You can try the full-featured program free for one week to see if it works for your children.  System requirements can be viewed on Math Rider's webpage. 

Our family loves Math Rider.  I wish I had known about it 3 years ago when my then 5 year-old used to freak out about the simplest addition facts.  I would not have hesitated to buy it.  What a worthwhile investment! To see how other Crew families have used Math Rider, read the other reviews!

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1 comment:

  1. Great review! I liked how you had to set an order of who could play. :) At our house we had a competition to see who finished their math lessons first in the day... then could play Math Rider first. lol