Friday, February 19, 2010

Saxon factsfirst:A Review

It's a good thing my kids like math and computers or I would be in trouble this year with all these great math programs to review. To be honest, these math program reviews have been timely for me with a new baby and a nice change of pace for the kids. 

So, let me tell you about factsfirst. The factsfirst program is being distributed by Saxon Homeschool and was created by Skills Tutor, a sister company to Saxon. The program will complement any primary math program and is not specifically designed to accompany Saxon Math programs.  The factsfirst program is ideal for developing fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and it incorporates fun activities that keep children engaged.

    I like this site because it offers fun for the kids but doesn't go overboard with it. There are colorful backgrounds behind the math drills but in an unobtrusive, uncluttered way. To begin with, your child may choose to create a self-portrait that appears in each of their lessons.

Next, depending on their ability, choose a lesson from the 4 categories, adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. Each section features a pretest, lesson with problems and a posttest. The lessons consist of five basic segments; new facts, commutative property, practice, quiz, and scoring. New facts are gradually introduced to children as they work toward mastery. Facts are grouped in units with each lesson in a unit introducing two new facts. A child masters these facts before starting another unit. More than 360 activities engage and encourage children to quickly and accurately respond to questions and advance to the next set of facts.  One feature I especially like is you can adjust the maximum time a student can spend to show mastery.
(Since Redd is still getting used to the keyboard this is a great feature!)

The Arcade is of course my son's favorite part. After each lesson, a child is rewarded with 5 minutes of arcade time and has several games to choose from each with easy, medium and hard levels.

At the end of each lesson a Math Matrix is shown. The Math Fact Matrix provides an overview of your child’s performance on individual math facts. The Math Fact Matrix uses complex algorithms to present the child’s performance on individual math facts. It is weighted based on speed, frequency and other indicators of proficiency.

You, the parent, can view at any time assessments of each lesson. Another nice feature is that when you login, the program will tell you what is best to do next according to your last lesson results. Make sure you take a look at their addition and multiplication demos! You may purchase factsfirst at the economical price of $49.99 for an one-year household lisence for 1-4 children.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. You may read more reviews here.

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