Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: MathRider

Esmé is a bit of a math prodigy, but with much aptitude comes much distaste of repetition, or so it seems.  She’s got the concepts down pretty well, but once she’s figured out that 5+8=13, she really doesn’t want to have to figure it out OVER and OVER and OVER.  I’ve blamed it on her tender age, but apparently it’s an issue for kids across a wide span of ages – who’da thunk it?

So, while we’ve been tackling fractions and percents and dabbling into algebra, the fact that 5+8=13 has been on the back burner.  I knew we’d need to get to it eventually, but fact worksheets and flashcards were killing her love of math. 

Enter an intelligent math facts game that meets her where she’s at.  MathRider hooked her the moment it introduced a quest, complete with sick mother, mission, flower, and HORSE!

Ride your horse on noble quests through the magical MathLands. MathRider combines fun math game play with a highly sophisticated question engine that adapts to your child. The game propels your child to mastery of all four math operations using numbers 0 to 12 in record time.

Have your child master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all for the cost of less than 1 hour professional private tuition!

  • You will know when your child has completely mastered an operation. And more importantly, your child will know it, too!
  • This is the fastest way to mastery of all four math operations. The artificial intelligence rehearses what is needed most, at a rate that is tailored to each player.
  • The game recognizes and rewards math improvement, not just perfection. This builds confidence and propels children naturally towards complete mastery.
  • Noble quests exemplify positive values such as family, caring, honesty and kindness.
Recommended Age:  Ages 6-12 (Grades 2-6)
Price:  $37 Special Offer if you order before February 15!  Regular price is $47.  A free 7-day trial is available.
For More Info/Free Trial/To Purchase:
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

What Mom Liked:
  • The customization of it. This is not just a program that randomly throws math problems at your child.  Problems are presented at a speed and in an order to achieve maximum results, emphasizing the facts your child has trouble with while inserting enough “easy” problems to boost your child’s feeling of competency.  I found this to be very true in Esmé’s case.
  • The learning.  It’s fun to watch Esmé’s speed increase as she plays, especially knowing the resistance I’d be dealing with if I presented the same problems on paper!
  • The storyline.  The quests are the initial draw in all of this.  There are four quest stories, one for each level of mastery.  Esmé loves the idea of doing math for a “purpose” and faithfully checks her progress on the quest map after each ride.  She was a bit disappointed that the first quest story was repeated after she completed it – since she hadn’t moved on to the next mastery level yet.  However, I do understand the designer’s point that the storyline is a hook rather than the focus of the program.image
  • The rewards.  At the end of each quest, the player receives a “reward,” which is visible on the main screen and has a level of animation determined by the mastery level.  So while the storyline doesn’t change within the mastery level, the rewards do reflect the completed quests.  This will be fun to watch as Esmé progresses.
  • The scoring.  While the player gets a point for each question answered correctly, there are bonus points available for correct answers in a row (i.e. staying on task…Smile), as well as time bonus points – which are based on the rider’s level so even slow riders can get a time bonus if they improve their time.  (It also means your kiddo can’t slack off and expect the same scores, as Esmé has learned – she doesn’t get time bonuses for regressing, even if it’s faster than when she first started.)
  • Statistics.  My favorite part, and even Esmé enjoys checking them out.  After you complete a ride, a series of color-coded vertical bars shows across the bottom of the screen, indicating the time and mastery level of each question.  You can scroll over the bars for detailed info, but it’s easy to recognize that green is good, yellow/orange/red are progressively challenging.
  • Then there is the Statistics page, easily available from the main page.  Overall mastery level, improvement, and top challenges are identified.  Esmé enjoys clicking on the fact chart to see what specific answers are…image
  • …while I right-click on the chart and get all kinds of cool information on each fact:  a time chart showing the Esmé’s trend (with detail of specific answers), an improvement chart, and more.
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  • Updates included. You buy the program, and you have access to software updates at no charge.
  • Downloaded program.  If you have pathetic internet, as we do, you’ll appreciate that this program doesn’t require internet during play, i.e. stop to buffer after every jump. 
  • Multiple players.  You can use one program for up to 8 riders – and MathRider will adjust to each player’s individual skills.  You can also install MathRider up to three times if you have multiple computers.
  • International flavor.  This product was developed in Australia, and I am loving the accents.  Cosmetic, true, but definitely a plus for me... :)
A quick disclaimer – This product wasn't designed for 4-year-olds, and I would not recommend it unless your child has a good understanding of addition and knows simple math facts already.  Esmé is easily capable of doing more math than she’s been exposed to in MathRider so far, but when you add the stress of finding the answer on the computer keyboard to the time-critical factor of the game, it can be a bit overwhelming.  To ease things a bit for her, I press the Enter key as she plays – and boy do I hear it if I’m late on the draw!  Another factor I attribute to age is that she doesn’t have the attention span to do more than one or two rides at a time; older players might be able to get through a quest in one sitting.

If you’d like a fun way for your child to practice math facts, I definitely recommend this program.  Try it out free for 7 days!

Thanks to
Math Rider for providing three months’ access to the program, and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.Photobucket