Monday, January 31, 2011

City Creek Press: Times Alive Software

Do your children struggle to learn their multiplication tables?  Mine do.  In the past, I believed that I didn't need to have them do flash cards or drill their multiplication tables.  That type of  rote memorization seemed too boring and went against my desire to inspire a love of learning in my children.  I mistakenly thought that if they just continued to work their multiplication problems, they'd learn them as they went ... without the extra drill and testing.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way for me.  I ended up with a junior high student who still has to stop and think about multiplication and makes simple mistakes that mess up more complicated math problems.   And yet, I still don't want to break out the flashcards and quiz sheets.  It just seems so boring!

The Times Alive! game makes learning the multiplication tables (zeroes through nines) fun for kids.  Each multiplication fact is told with a memory-aid story and illustrated by a cartoon.  An accompanying song and video helps students learn the story.   The software then tests the student's retention through a series of games and quizzes.  The software keeps track of how well a student does in each section, and also which sections they've already covered.   After a segment has been completed, it can still be reviewed.

At first my son (almost 10 years old) thought the songs were silly, but he did view them and moved through several sets of lessons without complaint on the very first day.  He then continued to ask me if he could use Times Alive! instead of his regular math curriculum.  Sometimes I did allow him to do that because I knew he needed to take the time to memorize his multiplication tables, so he didn't have to slowly figure out each multiplication problem he's presented with.

My 11 year old daughter also thought the videos were too young for her, but she didn't complain about it.  She zipped through the entire program in two days, though I intend to have her revisit it for further review.

There are a few cons to this program:

  • Although it allows multiple accounts, it does not have a drop-down menu to select a user.  You must type in the user name exactly the same as you previously did to pull up the information.  If you type it in ALL-CAPS, lowercase, or the first letter capitalized, you must continue to do the same.

  • Some of the cartoon songs seem geared for younger children than the typical third grader who is learning multiplication.

But there are also a lot of pros:

  • It is a fun program to teach multiplication tables for younger kids.

  • It uses a variety of interactive methods to help children remember the math facts.

  • It tracks a student's progress through the quizzes.

  • It's on the computer, and some kids will do ANYTHING, as long as it's on the computer.

  • It's reusable and can have multiple accounts without increasing the price of a subscription.

  • It isn't a subscription membership and will not expire in a year.

  • If older kids can get beyond the early elementary level of the songs, they can also use it for remedial work in the multiplication tables.

You can view screenshots of the Times Alive! software at their website.  There is also a Times Alive! youtube channel with several different videos you can view.


System Requirements (from their website):

  • Windows PC

  • Windows 98 SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista

  • Pentium II 400 and higher

  • 64 MB of Ram or greater

  • Soundcard and speakers

  • Mouse or other pointing Device

  • CD-Rom or DVD-Rom Drives

  • Video at 1024x768 or higher

The Times Alive! software is available for $44.95  as a download.   It is also available on CD for $48.95.   These other Times Alive! products are also available:  books, cards and audio CDs.

I wish I'd had this sooner to use with my third graders.  If I had, my students would probably know their multiplication tables better.  We will definitely use it with future students!

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. Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting In Him,

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