Friday, February 22, 2013

A+ TutorSoft {Schoolhouse Crew Review}


A+ TutorSoft, Inc offers multimedia math lessons for students in first grade through Algebra 1. Recently, Lauren has been using the online version of A+ Interactive Math (first grade).

PhotobucketThe online edition has video instruction, an interactive quiz for each lesson, worksheets and exams. The worksheets can either be completed online or printed to be used away from the computer. I can also print weekly certificates of accomplishments.

I thought the first grade program looked very complete. It includes all of the topics that I expected to see and then some. In fact, I was a bit surprised to see some of the questions on the worksheets because it included math vocabulary that I hadn't previously taught Lauren. The example that stands out in my mind is the concepts of cardinal, ordinal, and nominal numbers. Other concepts in the first grade lessons include addition, subtraction, fractions, graphs, time, money, measurements, geometry, and algebra.

The subjects introduced are fairly common for this age, but I found that A+ introduced more difficult vocabulary than other programs I've seen. For instance, the geometry section talks about polygons, two-dimensional shapes versus three-dimensional shapes, plane shapes such as a point and line, solids shapes such as a rectangular prism, vertices, edges, faces, and polygons. I think that some of these concepts may be a little too advanced for many first graders.

Unfortunately, Lauren did not do well with this math program. She normally uses computerized learning activities that are geared towards early childhood and lower elementary ages. In my opinion, A+ Interactive Math was designed for upper elementary students and then scaled down to address a younger audience. The video presentations are definitely visually appealing, but Lauren kept asking me when she'd get to play a math game on this program.

In addition, Lauren and I found that some of the concepts that are appropriate for first grade students do not translate well to online activities. For instance, she is very capable of counting objects. She missed several questions on the A+ assessment because they looked like the following screen shots. Even I had trouble with several of the counting questions.

Lauren would have done better with many of the lessons if I had worked through the concepts with her. She watched the videos, but I'm not sure she really paid attention to them. Perhaps she really was paying attention, but they simply moved through the material faster than she was able to absorb the information. She had the option of replaying a lesson, but she hates doing the same thing over again.

I think A+ Interactive Math has a lot of potential, and I think it would be perfect for older students, especially for visual learners that could quickly catch on to the new concepts being presented.

A subscription to A+ Interactive Math costs $19.95 per month, with discounts if you purchase a quarter or a year at a time.

If you are interested in trying A+ Interactive Math for yourself, they offer a free 1-month trial of their online homeschool subscription. Also, A+ TutorSoft is running a special promotion through the end of March. You can use the coupon code SPOFFER50 and receive 50% off.

Disclaimer: I received a one-year subscription to A+ Interactive Math as a member of the 2012 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. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.


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