Mathscore is an online math program that uses timed drills and practice to improve math skills. It also offers instructions to help introduce and learn new concepts. This program is very basic and offers students a long list of topics starting with copy cat, where the student simply learns to quickly type in the numbers shown and progressing into a high level of math functions.
Each topic is timed and the student is encouraged to move on when a score of 100 has been achieved. The student can earn a 100 by working the problems in the allowable time and working them 100% correctly.
Each topic includes a mini lesson where specific written instructions are given for solving the problems in that topic much like you would find in the instructive portion of a textbook. There are also several sample problems that are available for the children to view if they would like more information.
After the child learns how to work the problems they begin to practice with the timed drill. They move through the problem set and when they have completed all the problems they are given a score and problems that they missed are displayed.
How we used this program:
I really desired to use this program with all of our children in the age range to be able to get a good feel for how different children with different learning styles react to this program. We began with that intention and signed everyone up and they all got some experience with the program. However, because of the heavy volume of computer based reviews that our family has been given recently it was impossible for us to accommodate each child working with all of the computer based program. So the others dropped out and Amber (13) and I became the primary testers.
What we thought:
The math in this program is thorough and if a child were to master all of the topics in their grade level they would be well prepared for any math work required of them. The idea of always working with timed drills is a good way to help keep children focused on the task at hand. They know that they will not be able to pass their level unless they do it within the given time parameters and this adds motivation to work and avoid daydreaming even when the problems become more complex.
The program is a bit clunky. The drill pages are plain and it took us a while to become accustomed to the layout. It just didn’t seem intuitive. The fact that the children are allowed to enter a wrong answer and continue to the end of the problem set (potentially missing the same problem again) is a huge draw back to me in an online math curricula.
Even though Amber is a self-motivated, quick learner, the instruction sections were often unclear and she needed more explanation in order to understand a concept. We found the same type of format issues in the mini lessons that we found on the drill pages. The text seems small and there is just too much information loaded into a little space. Perhaps making the mini lessons into multiple pages and covering just one step per page would make this a little easier on the eyes and brain.
Another thing that I quickly noticed is that it is not obvious to the children how to navigate through the topics or how and when they should move from one to the next. Children are able to select any topic to work on, even topics that will be to difficult for them. This can lead to frustration. Also, since the program does not make it clear when a child should move on and does not move them on automatically, we had several children stay on a topic for much longer than necessary. With a little instruction this is easily fixable, just something to keep in mind as you begin the program. You will need to instruct your students to move IN ORDER through the topics and to move to the next topic as soon as they achieve a score of 100.
The math in this program is tough (I had a hard time remembering many of the topics introduced in the fifth grade level) and the idea of timed drill is solid. I think that this math program would be a good option for a student who is gifted, motivated and serious about math. I also think that for a family who wanted an online math program that was not filled with flash and games and was able to help and direct the children through the program that this may be a good fit.
A very practical benefit of Mathscore is that you are able to freeze your account at any time. So if you are going on vacation or taking a break from school you simply freeze your account so that none of your subscription goes to waste while you are not using it.
Mathscore is available as a subscription for $14.95/month for the first child, $5/month for the second child and $3.95/month for each additional child. There are discounts available for paying for more than one month at a time, so check the website for more details.
I’ve written a lot more reviews of homeschool products and curriculum for those who may be interested.
Our family was given a 6 month subscription to Mathscore in exchange for sharing our honest opinion in this review. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own and I was not otherwise compensated.
Included in the Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup.