## Wednesday, January 5, 2011

### No More Flash Cards! Math Facts Now!

My son has a love/hate relationship with math.  He hates it and tries to refuse to do any of it when he is struggling to grasp a concept.  Once he's got it and can fly through the problems, he loves it.  He loves addition, hates subtraction.  Loves word problems involving money.  Hates word problems that use subtraction and don't involve money.  Loves working out difficult problems orally, one by one, with mom (argh!).  Hates working on his own in the book.  Do we see a pattern here?  It's not that I think he should do it all on his own.  I enjoy presenting a lesson, teaching a concept, and reviewing.  It's the practice I get frustrated with.  I know he needs to practice to really internalize and learn the concept.  He hates practicing.

Enter Math Facts Now!2.0.  A simple downloadable program, also available on CD, that enables the teacher to customize practice sessions in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Lesson options cover numbers from 0-12, and allow the teacher to choose which numbers will be practiced, for instance adding or subtracting 0-12 with any combination of numbers 0-12.  Like 0-3 plus or minus 0-12, etc.  The teacher then sets a time limit for answering each problem, I give my son 10 seconds, as he is keyboard proficient and it keeps him focused without rushing him.  I have him write out missed problems 2 times each, that is also adjustable.  At the end of each lesson there is a reward, from a piece of candy, to 30 minutes extra game time, or whatever I feel is appropriate.

Since he has been playing on Math Facts Now!, my son likes addition even more, and is warming up to subtraction.  One drawback I see is that you can only work with numbers 0-12.  I would like to see and option for practice with higher numbers, and with that, lower minimum number of problems.  The present edition of the program has a minimum of 50 problems per lesson, and a max of 200.  My second grader mastered 0-12 addition and subtraction last year, and has been working with higher numbers, though we have not gotten into borrowing yet.

Another thing I like about Math Facts Now! is that the teacher can print out a progress report, showing how the student performed on each lesson, including a detail of which problems were tested, how many times, and whether they answered correctly, incorrectly, or took too long answering.  This helps teachers to adjust the lessons to focus on problem areas, making them more or less challenging, according to student ability.

In conclusion, for \$15.95 download, or \$15.95 + \$3.95 shipping and handling for CD format, Math Facts Now!2.0 is an excellent supplement to elementary math programs.  It's even better than the old standby, flashcards, in that it is in the more desirable (to most children now), computer format; parents can tailor the lessons, and bribes (oops, I mean rewards) can be used as incentives for students to practice frequently.  If you're like me and want to try before you invest in any extras, Math Facts Now!2.0 offers a FREE TRIAL available online or in download.  You just can't lose with an offer like that.  Go give it a test drive now.