Monday, February 1, 2010

TOS Review:

In homeschooling, you have almost limitless options when it comes to drilling math facts. One of the most popular is turning to the computer and allowing for some variation on the general "drill and kill" theme that reigns supreme in the flashcard mindset.

Why, exactly, are computer programs so popular? Because they jazz it up. They offer incentive. They make the dull, dry work of regurgitating information fun.

But for some parents, the glitter and glitz of playing games and earning points takes away from the focus of the work at hand. Now, maybe it's because their children are especially distracted by such things. For some kiddos, a game replete with sound and lights is just plain overwhelming. For other parents, though, they just simply prefer plain vanilla math, thankyouverymuch. No bells and whistles need apply.

And this, I think, is the group that will be most interested in

Designed to keep strictly to the job at hand, doesn't employ much beyond a very basic points-towards-trophy system and an occasional graphics display to steer the mind away from a refresher lesson (which must be read onscreen by the student) and a series of digital worksheets that must be completed by typing in the answers and hitting return. Parents or students select the topics to study, and parents have access to their own account to keep tabs on things. From here, parents can add extra response time per individual problems (the worksheets are timed) as well as change the grade level to access higher or lower levels of skills.

I received access to this subscription service (price details below) for review, and I have to be honest, it did not float the collective Blandings barca. Perhaps we've become too enamored of other, similar programs that leave users feeling as if they've been entertained, not simply edutained. Or perhaps it's a simple case of the shoe not fitting. Whatever the reason, while Atticus (my elected math guinea pig) complied with the work offered, he did it with little joy and even less enthusiasm. In my book, that's not a keeper.

The details:
  • $14.95/month for the first enrolled student (homeschoolers get a reduced rate of $9.95/month for the first 2 months)
  • $5/month for the second student
  • $3.95/month for each additional student

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for review purposes. Refer to my general disclaimer for more information on my policies regarding reviews.

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