Rating and Summary:
Five stars. In reviewing the Quarter Mile Math practice program (QMM), this quote from Pulitzer winner Henry Byard Swope came to mind. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure. Try to please everyone.” While we may chuckle at this…sometimes you CAN please a heck of a lot of people. I, for one, am one of the people who are pleased by this fun, math drill program.
The main idea of the QMM is that young children though adults can benefit from reinforcement in math skills. Often, however, reinforcement of math skills tends to be boring…and for those who do not naturally excel in math, frustrating for self-esteem.
The creator of QMM has basically produced a game that is fun and motivating for many ages, while also full of up-to-date math skill sets that are also correlated to state standards. (See here for PDF showing the topic list, and here for list showing correlation of topics to start standards). The program has over 320 topics and 70,000 problems, covering k through 9th (pre-algebra).
Some of the Content and “Pros”:
- “Awesome Smoking Dragsters” and “Wild Riderless Running Horses” appeal to kids of all ages
- Student led
- Incorrect answers do not “make” you lose. If an answer is incorrect 3x, the program will give you the answer, and you’ll need to input that to continue. (less frustration for kids)
- You can track progress over time
- You can “Race” with others if you choose, even have “Tournaments”
- There is a Student Scores Review Screen so you can see a player’s progress in each topic.
In using this with my kids, I feel this software is probably best for ages five to twelve. My kids are on the edge of that spectrum, at four and fourteen. Both of them play this game and enjoy it, but it is difficult for the four year old, who is still just learning simple addition and numbers. Although, she loves to try and is pretty good with the “keyboarding” skills race. My fourteen year old, who is used to graphic intensive games from the Wii, etc. complained that the game was visually too boring—but he still likes to play…so I plan to use it for a daily warm up for his math this year.
I did wonder why the races did not automatically advance to the next level. QMM has done this purposefully as part of the “emotional component of learning math.” They say that children increase in confidence when they get the choice on when to move forward.
Overall, this is really geared for children to feel in control of the math—from driving or riding, to racing against themselves, to choosing their own topics. QMM has also designed the product to appeal to the various learning types, i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile.
QMM has a very user friendly website with videos from how the Quarter Mile works to how to maximize a student’s rate of learning. The site also specifically addresses homeschoolers with a special section! See that, here.
The program has several different options for purchase. One interesting option is the Deluxe version, where you order and play online. This is only $2.95 per month, or $19.95 per family for a year. See here for more. You will need DSL or Cable for this option. Students do not “go to the web” but are kept within the program.
The Standard option is a one-time purchase of software ranging from $39.95 to $89.95. See here.For most of these, no internet connection is needed.
One Note: We have the CD software bundle 1, 2 & 3. My PC runs with Vista and when I first loaded the CD I was disappointed because when the program started, the resolution was too big for the monitor and fuzzy. When I did read the instructions (yeah, I really never do) anyway, I saw that this can be an issue with Vista. See the fix on page 6 in the booklet. (Simple, you just click on specific item to install) Also, we had a few freezes that annoyed me. The fix for this is on page 23. (You change compatibility mode, again, easy). I know with technology changing so much, this stuff happens. Hopefully they can get all the kinks out in the future. I do suppose with the internet product, you wouldn’t have to worry about that. Either way, no biggie, but worth a heads-up.
Here is how some others feel about the product:
- Sylvan Learning centers has chosen to use QMM in all 1,100+ centers in US and Canada
- Winner of the Practical Homeschooling Magazine’s “First Place Math Drill” for five years
- Won Best Software (2x) and Company of the year from The OldSchoolhouse Magazine
- Received “All Star Award” From Children’s Software Review
- Recieved “Cream of The Crop” from Instructor Magazine
Overall, I give this program 5 stars. Go here to try it out yourself!
It is a strong drill program and would be a great, inexpensive supplement for any math program. Throw out those flashcards and enjoy your ride!
PS: Deluxe Version will not run on OS 10.5 or Macs with Intel processors.
See what other TOS Crew Reviewers think of Quarter Mile Math.