Product: The Quarter Mile Math – Math Practice Software Kids Love
Levels 1, 2 and 3 Bundle, Deluxe Version
Company: Barnum Software
Price: Standard Versions Ranging from $39.95 to $89.95
Deluxe version ($2.95/month, $19.95/year, $34.95/2 year)
Where to Buy: The Quarter MileBrief Overview: A math practice/drill program that motivates students to solve math problems as fast as they possibly can. Topics cover kindergarten to 9th grade. The Quarter Mile Math topics correlate to all state math standards and to the NCTM standards. Students race cars or wild horses (no jockeys) to compete against their own 5 best times.
In-Depth Look: I received the Quarter Mile Math Levels 1, 2 and 3 Bundle Deluxe Version. This version covers grades K-9 with 323 topics and 70,000+ problems. Up to 12 family members can use it. These members can play simultaneously on different computers, even competing in real-time tournaments.
The CD is simple to install. Once installed, the parent adds the students’ names, assigning each a password and appropriate grade level. A student then logs in and picks the subject/topic that they wish to practice. (Here is a list of the topics covered.) The student can also choose if they want to race dragsters or wild horses (no jockeys). The computer shows a question based on the topic selected and the child enters the answer. If the answer is correct, the car/horse accelerates. If the answer is wrong, the car/horse maintains its speed. A student gets 3 chances to get the correct answer. If not, the computer will give the student the answer. The student must still enter the correct answer before the racer will accelerate and move on to the next question. For the first 5 races of each new topic, your child will race against computer times. It is designed so that the child usually wins the first race. After that, your child will be racing against his own previous times. For example, if she gets her best time ever on her 15th try, then the computer will congratulate her for coming in first and drop the slowest time to date. If after the 12th time, he gets his worst score ever, the 5 best scores to date stay in place and the new time is thrown out. Even a small improvement in time will be rewarded by beating out a previous time and improving the overall average. Some topics adjust to more difficult questions as the student shows mastery. The format remains the same throughout all subjects and topics. Remind your students to save their progress each time they end a session.
We opened the box, installed the CD, set up our users and started playing the game within a matter of minutes. It was really that easy. Once playing we had issues with the game freezing up at the end of most races. We checked the manual and found that a fix was included for this problem. It was self-explanatory and we were able to solve the problem.
My 10 and 7 year old daughters have been selecting various topics at random. Some of their favorite topics to race against have been keyboarding skills and place values. I am thrilled to find the times tables listed individually, for in-depth drill capability. My daughters enjoy both the dragsters and the horses. I thought they might favor the horses, but they flip back and forth between both. My 7 year old seems to enjoy it more. She seems to view it more as a game, while my 10 year old views it more as schoolwork. But once playing, both are equally competitive…racing to beat their previous scores. So I can definitely see the potential in using this program both for review practice and also for speed drill improvement.
The company is helpful, friendly and seems sincerely interested in seeing your children succeed. The site has a special section for homeschoolers (including a users forum), a section for teachers, a tips newsletter, hundreds of testimonials and a quick and friendly customer service team.
I am impressed with the software and plan to continue using it for several years for review and drill practice. The deluxe bundle will take my daughters through pre-algebra.
What I Like: The Deluxe Version is reasonably priced at $2.95/month, especially when 12 family members can use it. The company offers a 30-day unconditional guarantee. I like the game format: short, simple races that allow a student to compete against his times. You couldn’t ask for a wider range of topics, considering the Deluxe Version covers K-9th grade. It only takes a few minutes to install the CD and figure out the format. My 7 year old can manage the game, if I pick the topics. My 10 year old can handle it all.
What I Don’t Like: We find it a little difficult to know which topic to pick. It would be nice if the game had the capability to allow you to pick a path for your child and then allow your child to work her way through it. Or if I could pick a Level and only see topics in that skill level. But the CD does come with a Topic List that assigns the topics to 3 different skill levels. So it would be wise to keep the sheet handy.
How We Used It: So far, I have allowed my daughters to randomly pick topics. They have been using it just for fun, to get the hang of the program and so that I could get a good feel for it, as well. My plan for the school year will be to hone in on specific skills that need review, such as fractions, and that need speed improvement, such as times tables.
Special Note: This may be of interest to homeschool groups. Barnum Software is looking for seven or more families who would like to participate in a pilot tournament program. Families in the group would use a special Deluxe version of The Quarter Mile Math that would enable students to have tournaments with each other. You can get more information by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org .