Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Math Rider

As a homeschooler I can make a lot of subjects fun. My son sometimes reads while lying upside down on the couch, I use various toys around the house to demonstrate math concepts, and we use a large marker board for spelling tests. As my kids memorized math facts, I've looked for ways to make the math drill fun. I needed a fun math facts game so that practicing the basic math facts would be fun.

PhotobucketMath Rider is "The Intelligent Math Facts Game." It covers all four basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In addition, the program keeps track of which specific facts that your child needs additional practice on. I noticed that every time Lauren missed a question, that specific math fact was repeated at least a few more times in the course of her ride.

The Math Rider Program is set up so that the student rides a horse on a quest to find a mystical flower. Math problems are shown periodically along the ride. If the student answers correctly, the horse will automatically jump over the obstacle. (The picture below shows a ride where the horse jumps over flowers.) After twenty questions, the total score is shown by seeing how far the student has moved along  the path for that quest.

Addison and Brennan block out so much of the background that they hardly noticed the gorgeous scenery while they are riding. They are simply focused on answering the problems correctly so that they can tell me that they've finished with Math Rider. After talking with both of them, they admitted that there really isn't anything that would make math drills more enjoyable for them. They would rather just practice with something simple so that they didn't waste time watching a horse ride or seeing how far they had gotten on a quest.

Now that Lauren has learned some basic addition facts, she was excited to get to use Math Rider like her older brother and sister. Unfortunately, the program was still a bit too difficult for her. She wanted to watch the horse jump over the obstacles and not move on to answering the next question. As you can see in the example, the problem for the flowers on the left of the screen has already been answered. The answer space under the horse is for the question that just appeared on the right of the screen. By the time Lauren watched the horse jump, there often wasn't enough time for her to answer the next problem. I hope that she'll get to a point where she doesn't watch the horse as much, but so far I haven't been able to convince her to only pay attention to the math problems.

Math Rider might work well for a child that wants something with more bells and whistles than just basic math fact drills. It currently costs $37 to download, but the company has said that there will be a $10 increase on February 15th. They offer both a seven day free trial and a 30 day risk free guarantee.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about Math Rider, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received Math Rider as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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