Monday, May 21, 2012

Crew Review: CapJaxMathFax

For the past few crazy weeks, my younger boys have been trying out CapJaxMathFax to help them with their subtraction (Levi) and beginning multiplication (Luke).  Both boys use Math U See for their primary program, and I do like to add in some additional math fact help too give them a bit of a boost with what they are currently learning or to help keep fresh all that they previously learned.

CapJaxMathFax is available for $29.95 as a download.  For an additional $5.95, you can purchase the program on a disk.  You can download an evaluation/ trial program, which apparently has additional notes to help you understand the fullness of the program (I have not tried the evaluation copy).

As I do with all the math fact programs we've tried, I quickly downloaded the software and added it to the boys' schedules. This start up screen (which can be disabled once you've started using the program) explains that there are two modes -- a practice mode and a rating mode (click on the picture to read the descriptions):

After clicking "close" in the yellow box, you will get to the main screen, where you can select the types of problems for your kids to work on:

I really do love all the options that are here.  It can be totally customized to your child's needs.  Math U See teaches math facts 0-10, but there are some programs that teach 0-12 facts, so I love that you can set this program to include those or not.

Right now, Levi is working on learning subtraction with the 2s facts.  I can set the practice level to work on just -2s on the "LEVEL" selector or I can have him practice them with -1s.  I also like being able to set the number of math problems to include in each practice.  For Levi, I usually try to have him work through 15 to 20 at a time.

One thing to note:  you do have to re-enter the facts you want your child to practice daily.  My kids have gotten fairly good at asking what I want them to do.  

I think that the "SUPER SECONDS" setting is very handy.  The idea behind it is this:  if it takes longer than 3 seconds to answer a math problem, then your child is probably counting it out and hasn't memorized/learned it yet.  Levi is only getting about 3 or so SUPER scores, so we are parked at -2 for a little while more.  I like that the kids and I can review their answers when they are done and count how many SUPERS they got.

Another thing I really like about this program is that it presents math facts both vertically and horizontally within the same set of facts.  And, with ,multiplication, CapJax uses the dot between two numbers (sort of like the "*" in 6*1=) as well as the "x."  I like that different notations are used from the beginning.

I think CapJax has some good "bones" to it in terms of flexibility.

We didn't really use the RATING mode, except to just see what it did.   The RATING part of the program is supposed to be the part of the program that helps your child reach mastery of their facts. At the RATINGS level, your child completes math facts to earn points and badges.  It even compiles a nifty graph which is informative and motivating.  You can see a great, informative PDF to learn about the distinctives of CapJax.

Why didn't we use the RATING part?  Well, I have to say that this particular math fact program was not a favorite of my kids.  While I appreciate a "back to basics," no fluff program, my kids just thought it was too boring.  There is no animation at all in this program (which is not a bad thing...).  It is a pretty straightforward math program.  Now, it does not matter too much to me if my kids think something in school is boring -- I operate our school under the "Life is sometimes boring so we need to learn to be grateful and make the best of it" philosophy.  However, we've been struggling with doing our school work consistently over the past few weeks, so I've learned to pick my battles.

Now, please, go visit some other reviewers to who had kids who loved CapJax.  For me as a mom, I see lots more pluses to this program than my kids' did.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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