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Feb 7, 2017

Times Alive ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I know math facts can be difficult for some children to memorize.  Many programs take it for granted that all children are able to handle this.  Some kiddos really struggle with multiplication facts.  Drilling flash cards are often promoted as the best way to memorize.  But there is a much more enjoyable way to learn multiplication.  Times Tables the Fun Way's online math course Times Alive uses songs and stories to teach multiplication to boys and girls of all ages and abilities.

My children really enjoyed using online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way!  The stories were memorable and even after finishing the program, they love going back and rewatching.  But, before I get into all of that, let me tell you about the Times Alive program.

Here's the list of the first eleven lessons.  Each is marked with the type of lesson it is; story, song, paint, quiz, or test.  As the child works through the lessons, they receive a circle in the first column that indicates if they viewed or completed the lessons.  This is Malachi's lesson list.  The songs annoyed Mal, but that's not necessarily program related.  He often has trouble listening to "kid sing," if that makes any sense. You can see from his first column that he eventually stopped listening to the songs.  They are only marked "viewed."  Even so, the stories held the attention of all three of the boys. 

Also on this control panel, you'll see the buttons that enable the student to navigate the program.
  • The Back button sends a student back one screen, 
  • The mute button which controls the sound, 
  • A button to pause the video, 
  • The quit button, which *must* be clicked when you finish your session to be sure it is saved.
  • The Student Progress Report (this screen is below),
  • A help button,
  • The lesson list button,
  • If you miss something or don't quite understand the lesson, click the do again button,
  • And lastly, the next button will advance you to the next screen.
This is also Malachi's Student Progress Report.  It's pretty similar to the previous screen, but also shows his quiz and test scores and times.  There's a handy scroll bar on the right to view all of the lessons.

The timed quizzes throughout let you know how your child is doing.  

To find your child's baseline just have them complete the first "Nuts and Bolts" test.  This test is comprised of 48 questions.  Once the student clicks on start, the timer begins.  When he is finished, he clicks the done button to display the number and percentage correct, along with the time it took to complete the test in minutes and seconds.  If you have a child who is not good at taking tests on the computer or you need something on paper to include in a portfolio, you can print a blank test.

At the end of all of the lessons is a second Nuts and Bolts test.  Compare this one to the quiz at the beginning to see the students' progress.  Mal didn't miss many questions the first time through, but you can see that his time was nearly slashed in half after going through the program just one time.

Merrick reminds me often that he can't wait to turn *16* so he can drive a *4x4*.  It's even sticking with him, and he just watches the stories once in a while with his brothers.

Once you access Times Alive, it remembers your students place in the lessons using cookies.  We didn't have any trouble with this, but it's important to know that if your cookies are set to be deleted regularly, all work is lost.  You must use the same computer *and* browser every time to save the work.  Now that Malachi has completed all 18 lessons, it doesn't matter on which computer he watches the stories.

I would love to see the program do the following:
  • Show which facts were missed when the student or parent views the test information.  The only time you can see that is immediately after the test is completed and the student clicks "Done."  Once the "Next" button is clicked, the answers the student gave are no longer accessible.
  • Possibly show which problems were harder to do than others.  (If the entire quiz took 4 minutes, but some problems took 5 seconds and others took 30 seconds, it would be helpful to know, even if the answer was correct.)
  • If you could use the program on multiple devices, that would be great though that's less important to me than seeing which facts gave the kids more trouble than others.

All in all, this is a fun and thorough math supplement for learning multiplication facts.  I really liked that all facts were covered.  0s, 1s, 2s, and 5s were lumped together, each in their own lesson, but those are easy once a child understands the concepts for each.

We received a three month subscription from City Creek, but Malachi had finished his first time through the program in about two weeks and Xav is on track to probably finish it within the week.  Even after they have finished the program, we can clear their scores and use it all again.  Practice, practice, practice.

More about them rewatching their favorite stories.  Malachi has three times given up his 20 minutes of youtube videos so he could just watch the stories again.  And that's since he completed the program.  Times Alive is really a good supplemental math program that I think would work with any child or adult struggling with their multiplication facts.

You can see samples of some stories and songs on Times Tables the Fun Way's youtube channel.

Find Times Tables the Fun Way on social media.

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

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