Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facts First (TOS Crew Review)

When we were given a 90-day subscription to FactsFirst online (by Saxon) as members of the 2009-2010 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I admit I was a bit bummed: another math product AND it's an online "math supplement" product.  So, I dragged my feel in getting the kids going on it for that reason, but also because in order to do this many math products justice in reviewing them, it is my belief that I need to use them exclusively.  That way, if something wonderful comes from the program, I am not left trying to figure out if it was because of Product A or Product B or a combination of the way we used them together.  Understand my point?

That being said, we have been using FactsFirst online for at least a week, and it is time to review it.  The good news: the kids LOVE it.  They have decided that it is WAY more fun than practicing math on paper, and the kids were rewarded for doing the "work" in the game by 5 minutes of "game time," which was a great surprise to them!  The bad news: we didn't spend as much time playing with it as I would have liked, so check out the other reviewers!

Starting point: the kids create their own character.  This is my daughter's favorite thing to do on computer games!!  The graphics are good and bold, but without being too overwhelming.  There were numbers presented in ways that made sense (like cash registers, chalk boards, etc.), and nothing else was going on that distracted from the problem on screen.

FactsFirst does encourage speed in entering your answers on the keyboard, but the beauty of this program over others we didn't like for this reason is that FactsFirst encourages the speed, but doesn't require it for the child to keep going.  I can no longer remember which program was which without going back and re-checking them all, but I remember there being something in our recent past that stressed the kids out about the time by buzzing at them or moving them on or something if they didn't get to it fast enough.  With FactsFirst, the kids can complete the entire set of problems, and they get a CHECK if they get the problem correct, but they get a CHECK PLUS if they get the correct answer with a fair amount of speed.  No buzzing.  No finishing without them.  They just do the problems and see the results after they are done.  And my son got competitive with himself and started angling for those CHECK PLUSES yesterday!

Really, it is a beautiful complement to any math curriculum, and is well worth the $49.99 for a year subscription (I have spent more in flip charts, flash cards, card games, and dollar aisle workbooks in a year!).  Check them out, or if you need more information, check out my fellow Crew Mates' reviews here.

* Disclaimer: I was given a free 90-day subscription to FactsFirst online with the intention that I would use it and review it.  This review is my honest opinion, and no compensation has been provided for it.

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