Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FactsFirst by Saxon-Harcourt

Math is not a favorite subject in our home.  Despite the fact that my husband was a math major in college, most of our kids don't really care for math.  Once upon a time, early in our homeschool career, my second daughter often proclaimed that math was her favorite subject, but that ended several years ago.  My kids push through their math lessons, and then they are done.   They don't want to do flash cards, or memorize their times tables.  They need that type of practice, but they resist it.   I'm sure mine aren't the only ones like that.  We may have discovered a solution to that problem in our home.

As members of TOS Homeschool Crew, we were able to review a product I'd never heard of before.  FactsFirst is a Saxon-Harcourt product, created by Skills Tutor, that allows children to practice their math facts in a fun way.  Math drills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division help your children develop fluency in their math facts so they will be able to focus on learning more complicated math functions.  Students are scored based on their speed and their accuracy.

The first thing your child does when he logs into FactsFirst is develop his self-portrait. 

This self-portrait will be displayed as he moves through the lessons. 

Once he completes a unit of lessons, he is rewarded with five minutes of arcade game time.

Parents can view the Math Fact Matrix to see how each of their children is progressing through the units and lessons, what level of mastery they've accomplished, and what subjects they have or haven't covered.

Each household subscription to FactsFirst is for one year, contains 4 student accounts, and is sold for $49.99.  This allows your elementary aged students (and older students needing remedial work) to master their math facts in a fun way, for only $12.50 per student  per year (if you have four or more kids).   We had our Kindergartener, 3rd grader, 5th grader, and 7th grader using FactsFirst.  The 7th grader needed to develop fluency in her multiplication and division facts, so we had her work through those two areas.

This is the second most affordable online math product that we've had a chance to review or use on the TOS Homeschool Crew.  It is not a full curriculum, but does provide supplemental math practice for kids that will help them move through their regular math curriculum more quickly.  However, it is an online subscription.  Which means that though it can be accessed from any computer with internet access, at home or away from home ... it isn't a reusable product.  If you wish to continue using it for more than a year, you do have to renew your subscription.

My elementary school children enjoyed using FactsFirst, although it didn't appeal to my 7th grader.  Its colorful images kept their interest and the goal of playing arcade games kept bringing them back.  I liked that it had a definite time limit.  Complete a unit, earn an arcade game.  When the 5 minutes in the arcades was up, it just turned the game off.  They could then return to their math facts, or be done for the day.

Some quotes from my kids:

"I like it when we go on a field trip to the lemonade stand or the gymnasium, and all the problems are about that place."  8 year old boy, 3rd grade

"I like the arcade best, and then the lessons."  6 year old boy, Kindergarten

"It's fun.  I like designing my person and that the lessons change places."  10 year old girl, 5th grade

To learn more about FactsFirst, visit the website.  Don't forget to read what other Crew members think about FactsFirst.

This item was provided free for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.  Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting In Him,

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