Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Math Rider Review

Check out my 4.80 year old daughter doing some multiplication practice on the computer:

Pretty impressive, right? Even I was surprised at her progress.

With my firstborn, the Prince, I basically took a workbook approach to math.

Despite eye-popping success (from counting to algebra in 1.5 years, by age 5.125!) I decided to experiment with his younger sister.

We did the introductory Kumon Math workbooks just as I did with the Prince, but then I decided to start making my own worksheets for the Princess.

And I also deliberately tried to incorporate more computer-based learning - but for the most part in the form of those numerous free websites.

That program above is called Math Rider and as you can see it rapid-fires math questions at the student.

It covers basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with three levels apiece (Easy, Medium, and Advanced).

Merely one week ago it took my daughter well over an hour, and many tears, to complete the medium multiplication level. But within a few days she started whizzing through it as you can see demonstrated above. That particular multiplication quest probably only takes her twenty-something minutes now. Tears have morphed into triumphant boasts! I'll let her bask in her glory for a couple of days....then I'll boot her up to the always-imposing next level.

Problems come in batches of 30. Each round is scored and added to a *quest total*. The better the scoring, the faster the quest can be completed. What you saw my daughter do was complete the final ride. I think it took her 8-10 rides, or 240-300 total questions to hurdle.

Again, it covers all the basic operations. She's also conquered the medium level on addition and we are working on subtraction at the moment - counting backwards is always harder for young'uns. Division shouldn't be started until multiplication is down cold, of course. I expect that within 1-2 months - if not sooner - she'll have mastered all the vitally important *math facts*.

What I personally like about Math Rider is that it's a time-intensive exercise. A kid might sit there all day long with a worksheet - alternating between daydreaming, nasal mining, computation, etc. - in a homeschool environment. So Math Rider effectively recreates the pressure and focus inherent in classroom quizzes and tests.

Of course, what I also like about this program is that it liberates me from the tedium of teaching, "If 7+7 is 14, then 7+8 is what?" for the one billionth time! All you parents afraid of *teaching* your kids the love/hate subject of math take special note.

Math Rider is $37 right now. If you have multiple's a no-brainer. And regardless you can try it out at home with a full money-back guarantee for 30 days. Use any of my links on this post (the Prince will appreciate the commission!), you can download the software immediately and set your child up first thing tomorrow morning. You watch, they might very well love it. After all it's a freakin' video game!

See also - Off-The-Chart Homeschooling.


A Girl said...

Wow, thanks. I found you from somewhere while looking for history information and have stalked your page non stop for 24 hours. Anyway my daughter is 13 and doesn't know her math facts and I've been drilling her for 40 minutes everyday and it's daunting. I'll try this to see if it gives the same benefit. My 7 day trial starts now.

CaptiousNut said...

Good luck to you.

Any questions or if there's anything I can do to help just email me on the side.

(Women usually only *stalk* me in my dreams, cyberspace is new territory!)

Heather said...

We tried Math Rider and it wasn't a hit with my boys (5 & 4). Which really surprised me because they LOVE video games.

My 5 year old is REALLY loving this site though: I think it's because he likes earning the awards and getting the achievements. I was going to get the Kumon books like you recommended, but I have to stand over him to get him to do workbooks, and this site he jumps on whenever I leave the computer free.

It also generates reports showing how the child's progress compares to state standards (nice even just to show how the kids are blowing them away). It costs $80/yr ($20 more for additional kids). The child is not limited to one grade though like some other sites. He can work in any area up to 8th grade.

Thanks for your recommendations though... your progress with your kids inspires me to work with mine and not leave them at the mercy of the failing school system.

Oh... I have one little technical complaint. Your search bar is near the bottom of your page. If I search for something it returns the results at the very top of the page. It is very annoying to have to scroll up and down to see my results.... for the longest time I just assumed that your search feature was broken and gave up on it altogether!

CaptiousNut said...


Well at least you tried it.

My daughter is still on it for 40 minutes a day and just about has the math facts down cold. And that's what Math Rider is really about - just the math facts whereas IXL is a little more comprehensive.

I've looked at IXL a couple of times but haven't become too interested. But by all means stick with whatever the kids like so long as it's not too dumbed down (inefficient) and too hard on the wallet.

The search bar can't be elevated in the margin. What would you have me bump down - the Bible? My kids? Haha. Just hit the *home* button.

Actually, the Google in-blog search feature has been unhelpful for a long time - even the one at the top of the page. A lot of times when I search for old posts (I have nearly 3,000) I can't find them at all even though I know I used a particular keyword. Instead I have to go to and search for "captiousnut (keyword)"!

Keep it up with those kids and remember to have them do some sit-down work even on weekends.