Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blasting Through Math!

I have had 2 reviews long-past-due.  Ok, they didn't have a 'due date' but in my mind they did: August.  And August has come and gone.  My time feels scrunched and jammed and lost because I have not obeyed the call to share opinions on products generously blessed to me.  Today, I want to take time to share some wonderful information... thoughts crammed within more than ready to get out!

This past MAY I was invited to review Math Blaster.  I felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to use my (free for review) subscription and help the kids keep up with math facts through the summer without the boring rote-memorizing.

I was not disappointed (and neither were my kids!).

Each child receives a personalize-able alien recruit.  Recruits then go through training on game play.  My kids' favorite was the Hyper Blast training.  They learn great hand-eye-coordination as they move through the tunnels avoiding obstacles.  They reach a math bot that, in order to pass, they must correctly answer the various math problems.

We found the problems challenging but not overwhelming with an equal balance of engaging game-play and math skill activity.  Many online math games fall short by not adequately teaching the kids how to use their site, boring game play, and/or math problems that are above the ready-level for the child and therefore discouraging and overwhelming.  Math Blaster does NOT have these problems!

All summer I heard my kids say, "Mom, PLEASE can we do our math facts on Math Blaster today" and all summer I gladly replied, "Yes".  The greatest problem became getting them to relinquish their turn to their siblings!!

A bonus to Math Blaster is the Jump Start free-play area.

When they completed their math-fact game play, my kids were allowed some free-play time and they always chose the Jump Start's Mythie area where they incubated eggs and raise "Mythies" such as dragons and Pegasus.  They were responsible for feeding and training them and, ultimately, releasing them to the wild and having adventures with them.  Mythie news reports from my kids were common place this summer!

Math Blaster and Jump Start do have an online interactive option where kids can talk with other players.  One more element I have enjoyed about these programs are the parent-control options.  I was able to block them from this interactivity and, if that wasn't good enough, when my 13 year old wanted to contact another player she was required to send me a request and Math Blast/Jump Start then contacted me to ask permission.  All of my children were able to stay safe and secure on our own computer and I was comfortable knowing they could not get around the barriers put up for their protection.

We do limit screen time in our household.  Now that the school year has resumed, the kids are only allowed screen time on the weekends and for a max of 2 hours.  Their attention span decreases when we allow the screen time during the week.  I will only rarely allow math games and typing games as a reward during the week, but often in limited 15-20 minute increments of time.  Math Blaster is still one of their top picks!

We have used Jump Start products since my kids were tiny tots and I am pleased to see that their quality and educational abilities for reaching children have only gotten better.  Do I recommend this?  Yes!  To visit their sites and see for yourself you can go to:

Come back next week to hear how I am keeping organized in homeschool this year with the help of  Heather Bixler's Printable Homeschool Planner

Have a blessed learning experience!

Disclosure: I was provided with a membership good for Math Blaster and Knowledge Adventure at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

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