FactsFirst is an online math program that focuses solely on student proficiency in the basic operations — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — something all of my kids can use. The idea is that, “Developing automatic recall of basic facts builds a strong math foundation and lets your child focus on higher-order math skills such as problem solving and algebra.”
Students first set up their own personal avatar. This avatar is then featured in every lesson that the student completes. Then, they begin working on the facts. As the math facts appear on the screen, the program reads the problems aloud, incorporating both audio and visual learning. There are more than 360 activities to help kids master their math facts.
Students’ performance is “graded” in the Math Matrix based on both speed and accuracy. At the end of each unit, the Math Matrix shows how the student did in that section — Excellent (correct and fast), Good (sometimes wrong or slow), Needs Work (mostly wrong), or Not Sure Yet.
After completing each unit, students get to play for awhile — five minutes to be exact. That’s my favorite part. Students get “arcade time” for five minutes and five minutes only. During that time, they can change things about their avatar or play one of five games in the arcade — games such as math Mah Jong where they’re still (shhhh…) practicing math facts. When the five minutes is up, it’s back to actual math drills until the next five minutes is earned.
I’ve mentioned, in my Weekly Wrap-Ups that my youngest, Megan, is having trouble mastering her multiplication facts. I really believe that FactsFirst is one of the things that is helping her to improve. I love that she asks to “play” FactsFirst each day if I don’t mention it first. Although Josh doesn’t necessarily ask, he doesn’t complain about spending time on the program, either. He likes the feedback at the end of each unit — particularly when it shows that he’s at a level of excellent or good for all the problems he worked.
As I said, this is the one online program that we’ll probably purchase because we enjoy it and because it’s a very reasonable price — for only $49.99 you can purchase a one-year license for up to 4 children. If FactsFirst sounds like it might be a good fit for your family, be sure to visit the site and watch the demos.
This looks great. Thanks for reviewing this for us. =) I've bookmarked it.
Thank you for the thoughtful and thorough review. I have been wanting to have ALL of my children practice their multiplication facts for some time now in a systematic fashion. They all know them BUT they definitely could be quicker which is so important, particularly for my 7th grader who is moving into higher level math. After reading your review, I tried the demo and purchased the product. By the time I got everybody up and moving and ran down and walked, the company had e-mailed me with my start-up info. So, all of my kids have already got started on the program. They were all excited about making their person and my daughter's is particularly lovely! Thanks again for helping me fix a whole in my kid's math education!
That's great, Samantha! I hope y'all like it as much as we do. I'm getting ready to vacate my laptop now so Megan can do her practice today.
I give moms who home school a lot of credit! Great blog!