Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Factsfirst.com - A Math Review


Product: FactsFirst

Price: $49.99/year for a home license (up to 4 students)

Company: Saxon Homeschool

Where to Buy: FactsFirst.com

Brief Overview:
FactsFirst is an online math program that helps to build instant recall of basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

In-Depth Look:
Saxon Homeschool's FactsFirst is an online math program. The first step is a Character Creator. Your child gets to customize a self-portrait. My children always love getting to make their own avatar. They frequently change the way their character looks, just for fun.

After creating a character, your child picks which topic to cover:

Then they begin the lessons. The program recommends the next lesson your student should complete, but you are free to choose any order that you wish. My girls like to choose their own lessons in random order. Each section includes a pre-test, the lessons, and then a post-test. New facts are introduced two at a time. Followed by a review and a quiz.

At the end of each lesson, it tells how many questions were answered correctly and quickly, correctly but slowly, and incorrectly.

After each lesson, the Math Fact Matrix shows an overview of your child's progress. It uses complex algorithms based on things like speed and frequency. My older daughter will redo lessons to challenge herself to get a higher ranking.

There are four rankings on the matrix.
Excellent - Correct & Fast
Good (Sometimes slow or wrong)
Needs work (mostly wrong)
Not sure yet

After completing a lesson, your child is rewarded with arcade time. The games are fun and cute and help give your child a chance to relax before starting the next lesson. They can pick from 5 games or change their character if they like. The games still have an element of math to them, receiving bonus points for answering math questions correctly. The arcade section has a 5 minute timer. (My kids wish it was longer.) Their favorite game is "Find the Difference". They asked me to mention in my review that a "not-so-friendly" looking clown is in one of the "Find the Difference" photos. They were concerned that it might frighten some of the younger children. :)

The lessons use real-world examples to help make the math facts more relevant. The games are entertaining and fun; but at the same time, they are also challenging. The program is colorful and engaging. I was very impressed with the program, as a whole. It is now "officially" my 7 year old's favorite math drill program. My 11 year old declares it her 2nd favorite.

In my opinion, this program is well worth the approximately $5/month, especially when it is valid for up to 4 children. I highly recommend this program.

To read other reviews, click here.

Disclaimer: I received a 90-day membership to factsfirst.com free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

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