It's almost time to start the new school year, and for many homeschooling parents that means it's time to re-evaluate curricula to see what is working and what needs to be changed. Over the past 6 years I have tried my fair share of math programs. Some worked well, some were not so good. Eventually we came to a place with Rylan where the current curriculum is really working, but Cohen and Cale are still searching for that math program that clicks with them.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out A+ TutorSoft's Interactive Math Curriculum. I chose to try out the 4th grade program since Cale was currently in that level and Cohen was coming up on it fast. I received the Premium Edition of the 4th Grade Math Full Curriculum CD.
First off, here is a little bit about the A+ TutorSoft's Programs (according to their website):
- Multimedia Lessons that use all three learning modalities - Audio, Visuals and Text
- Interactive Quiz for each lesson with instant feedback and step-by-step instructions
- Lesson Plan
- Curriculum Book on CD
- Printable Worksheets and Exams
- Parental Guides - Solution Guides with step-by-step problem solving instruction
The program was very easy to install. Just put the CD in and follow the prompts. There is a short tutorial when you open the program, which you can choose to listen to or just explore everything on your own- I did the latter. The one downside I saw right off the bat was that the the CD-rom was only compatible with Windows, so using our iMac was out. Luckily we have a PC in the house as well, so it wasn't an issue. But I do believe it is something the company should look into changing.
The set up is simple and user-friendly. There are 16 chapters, each with multiple lessons. Each lesson has a lecture with example problems and a short, interactive quiz. These quizzes are multiple choice, and automatically graded. There is instant feedback and explanations if the question is answered incorrectly. If you feel more practice is needed there are optional worksheets to print out for each lesson. Each chapter has a test that can be printed out as well.
So what is my take on the program? To tell the truth, at first glance I wasn't too impressed, but upon further inspection and usage I can see many good things about A+ TutorSoft's Math Curriculum.
Here are my Pros:
- The explanations are thorough and I think the student would learn well from them
- For those who prefer mastery programs, this would be great. Each topic is covered thoroughly before moving on
- The immediate feed back on the quizzes is a definite plus. Understanding will happen much quicker than having to wait for the parent to grade the work
- Having everything in one place. I don't have to keep up with a text, a workbook, an answer key or a teacher's manual. It's all there on the CD
- All types of learners can benefit. You can listen to the lectures or read them in the text.
- The price is right. Compared to other CD or online based curricula, this is a steal
- As I mentioned, it is only compatible with Windows
- There is no built in review. I do like a mastery approach, but there was no review at all. I would like to see some on the exams at least
- I didn't like that all the problems were multiple choice- quizzes, worksheets and tests.
- The lessons were a sometimes a little slow. I am- and my boys can be too- a little impatient. So when I know the answer to something I want to answer right then. We didn't like having to listen to all the multiple choice before clicking on the correct one.
The Bottom Line?
Both of my boys- Cale, who is going into the 4th grade and Cohen, a rising 2nd grader, need extra help on their facts. Their current math program didn't spend enough time on the multiplication and division facts to provide mastery. I think A+ TutorSoft's program will be just what they need to get them back on track and sharpen their skills. For us, it wouldn't work as a stand alone program, but definitely works as a tutor on certain aspects of their math education.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own