Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: MathRider

Being part of the TOS Homeschool Crew means that we get the chance to try out lot of really creative and innovative math products.  Reading the website for MathRider, and how this is a math drill computer game -- one with princesses to rescue, gems, magic flowers and other quests -- well, this family was really looking forward to the chance to review it.

I may as well come out and give our bottom line up front.  We were disappointed.  All of us.  The word "lame" was used repeatedly in discussing the game for this review.

So -- my boys opinions.  First, they are ages 6-13, so a pretty good coverage of age ranges (product is suggested as best for ages 7-12).

They would have loved to have the chance to battle to save the princess instead of just ride, ride, and ride some more.  (I didn't have a problem with no battles, however!)  They thought the problems were placed in a strange place and not as easy to see as they could be.  They found the background distracting, and would want to see the elf face carved in the mountain -- and if they did that, they'd be missing problems.  Their biggest complaint, though, was that once you completed one set of quests (say, addition), all the others were exactly the same.  The only real differences (besides the math problems, obviously) is where the flower, gem, flag, etc. was placed.

(A note... the final quest is different.  The first "save the princess" quest you complete gets you a castle, and subsequent "save the princess" quests have you build on to that castle.  THIS quest I liked.  However, my kids really didn't get this far.  Mostly because they thought the program was too inane for them to spend any more time at it than I forced them to.)

Trina (age 5) would probably have really liked it, and if we had received the actual program instead of a temporary version, I probably would have invested the time in helping her to understand how to play.  I think she would have been able to at least get the flowers in addition and subtraction.  And she probably would have loved being able to keep coming back to the program as her math skills progress. However, that is all speculation on my part.

There are some aspects that we did like.  I liked that you could go in and do practice runs of specific groups of facts -- so my kids could practice their 11 and 12 addition facts (I don't particularly like that they were expected to learn those facts though) before trying to do the advanced quest in addition.

I loved that the story part of the program was read to the student.  So many math programs assume that a child is reading way beyond their math level, and my kids tend to be the opposite.

I loved that the program adapts, and if you get a particular problem wrong, you will see more of it in future quests.  I love that there is a box showing which math facts you are having more difficulty with.

Overall:  I think this program probably has more girl appeal than boy appeal.  Connor thinks that horse lovers would particularly enjoy it and not mind the repetitive storyline.  And I know that a lot of my fellow crew-mates loved the program and are planning to purchase it.  I know that my family will not be shelling out $37 to get it.

You can check out what my fellow crew-mates have to say about this program at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was asked to spend time reviewing a limited-time demo of Math Rider. The fact that I received this trial does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

1 comment:

Tess said...

Debra, I am so glad that I am not the only one who didn't think this was a good fit for my family. We were quite disappointed with this one. Glad I am not alone!