I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. This is one of the biggest reasons why reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Crew suits me so well. Even within our homeschool I am always changing it up when things get to be the slightest bit dull around here; so when I had the chance to review A+ Interactive MATH by A+ TutorSoft, Inc. I thought “Sweet! Math HAS been pretty boring lately.”
A+ Interactive MATH online edition is perfect for loyal Mac users like me. Like any online program, you log in and go! After you log in from the main page and launch the online application you select the lesson you would like to work on from the table of contents on the left part of the screen. On the right part of the screen your child will sit and watch and listen to the lesson.
During the lesson, your child will see example problems, animations, and encouragement while a female voice explains the concepts within (rather than a video of a teacher writing on a chalkboard). The teacher asks questions with the expectation that your child will answer. The lessons are nice and short (usually less than 10 minutes for 2nd grade).
Each lesson will thoroughly explain any new concepts and vocabulary that is introduced with familiar age appropriate examples. For example, when introducing fractions, the lesson used the example of taking one whole pizza and dividing it in equal parts to feed a family of four.
Then the vocabulary words (or “special words”) were introduced and explained.
After the lesson is over, you have the option of having your child practice immediately by clicking the “Interactive Q&A”. During interactive Q&A your child will answer a series of questions based on the lesson they just learned. If the child selects the wrong answer, the program will immediately explain why the question is wrong and give a short review and explains the correct answer. The child is then sent back to the question to answer it correctly.
If she gets the question right the first time, she will just move on. On the off chance your child answers the question correctly but still wants to see the explaination of the solution, all she has to do is click “view solution” and her wish is her command
After the lesson and interactive Q&A, your child can also complete online worksheets and exams. These are simple, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and true and false questions. Most of the worksheets have 10 questions and most of the exams have 25. These worksheets and exams allow you to then track your child’s progress and print certificates of accomplishment from the admin panel.
If your child is needs a more “hands on” approach, A+ Interactive MATH online edition easily allows you to print off the worksheets and exams along with reference guides, worksheet and exam solutions guides, and even a curriculum book (teacher’s guide) for you to teach if your child needs extra help with mom’s gentle touch.
Emma was so excited to have a computer program of her very own… and by “her very own” I mean “a computer program that she will use for 7 minutes before she restarts the lesson for her little brother”.
I’m not going to complain too much at the understanding these two have since Spencer seemed to do well even though he is two grades behind Emma!
Once we were able to sneak Emma onto the computer without her brother’s knowledge, she made very quick progress. As a family who keeps “kid computer time” to a minimum, I was impressed at how quickly she was able to figure out how to navigate the application.
She seemed to really enjoy the format of the lessons (as do I). The lessons are colorful and in most cases easily understood. The narrator’s voice is nice sounding and the animations keep the child’s attention during the longer lessons.
My experience with A+ Tudorsoft was a testament to me of the importance of finding the right curriculum for your child’s learning style. While Emma loves using the computer, she is much more successful with the printed worksheets and exams. Doing the worksheets on the computer created, in her mind, an expectation to do all of the problems in her head. I would try to explain that it wasn’t necessary and that even I would much rather write the problems down than do them in my head but she wouldn’t do it. Printed worksheets completely solve that problem. I’m also grateful for the teacher’s guide because sometimes a lesson will need to be explained slightly differently than how the video explained it. Being able to adjust and cater to my child’s needs is a HUGE plus.
The only drawback for me is the design of A+ TutorSoft’s website. I find it too colorful and distracting. It’s almost like they are trying to put as much information on the homepage as possible and by doing so the homepage doesn’t accurately portray how fun the program actually is. As a website designer, this is just a matter of personal preference. What is attractive and easily navigable to me may not be to the next person and certainly not a deal breaker in any way, shape, or form.
A+ TutorSoft has programs for grades 1-8 (I used the 2nd grade). The program is also offered on CD (Windows only). Head on over to www.aplustutorsoft.com for download samples, a 1 month subscription of the online program for free, a free math placement test, details on the course contents, and more.
Online pricing is regularly $19.95 per month, $49.99 per quarter or you can buy an annual subscription for $124.99… BUT WAIT! There’s MORE! Use the code “SPOFFER50″ when you purchase from A+ TutorSoft and you will get 50% off! Act quickly because the offer is valid only through the end of MARCH!