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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A+ Tutor Soft Math. Review and Link to Giveaway...

A+ Tutor Soft Math is a computerized, interactive math curriculum that is a complete year stand-alone curriculum for your child.  Currently, A+ Tutor Soft Math offers math curriculum for 3rd grade – 7th grade, pre-algebra, and Algebra 1.  The website has a free math Placement Test that helps determine which program to begin with.
There are three different levels of A+’s program.  The standard program comes on CD.  It includes “highly animated concise and ‘to-the-point’ lessons with all three learning modalities to increase understanding of the material.”  As well as these lessons, the CD holds a full curriculum book, printable worksheets for each lesson WITH a worksheet solution guide (perfect for not-so-math inclined Mommies like me!), printable exams with an exam solution guide, reference sheets, and a recommended lesson plan, also perfect for list-it-all-out-for-me Mommies (again, like me!)
The Premium Edition contains all of the above, plus Progress Tracking and Reporting in the areas of:  interactive Questions and Answers, Worksheets, and Exams, with a summary as well.  It also includes parental controls and weekly certificates of accomplishments, which is a wonderful tool for incentives.
There is also an Online Version for some of A+ Tutor Soft’s products, with more to come.  The features of the online versions for the student appear to be similar to the CD version.  For the parents, the online version features the ability to design, review, and administer the assignments, instant online grading, identification of the child’s specific areas of strength and weakness, the use of built-in tools, to improve the child’s performance in any weak areas, and the ability to measure and track the child’s progress.
A+ Tutor Soft also offers printable versions of all curriculum books, worksheets and exams, and solution guides.
From their website, A+ states, “We have been developing our Full-Year Interactive MATH programs for over five years based on heavy research into what students and parent-teachers want.  We found students want simple and concise multimedia lessons, interactive problem-solving and step-by-step explanations to every problem and parent-teachers want the tools that will take the burden of day-to-day teaching away from them and allow them to focus on the specific area where students need additional help.  We understand that learning and teaching MATH is not easy, so we do all we can to take the stress out so it is more enjoyable for everyone.”
The Fourth Grade program that I reviewed included 143 multimedia lessons, and, in my experience, covered a great deal of advanced math concepts.  These lessons cover:  Number Sense, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Decimals, Fractions, Number Conversions, Number Line, Algebra, Geometry, Time and Money, Measurements, Probability, Displaying Data (Graphs), and Word Problems.  Each section is broken down into subsections, and each subsection lesson seemed appropriate for a day’s work.  Each subsection also has a worksheet to go with it, and ends with an interactive Question and Answer section.  Each full section has an exam, usually about 25 questions, to finish it out.
The included Lesson Plan covered thirty-two weeks, with built-in review weeks and some holiday breaks.  However, the program is designed to be used at the student’s pace.  My fourth-grader and I used it by doing the lesson and Questions and Answers on one day, and completing the worksheet for that lesson the next day.  Many of the lesson sessions, with the Questions and Answers, took twenty to thirty minutes.
I really did not think that this program would be a hit with my Firefly.  First of all, math is not high on her enjoyment list, and she does not traditionally do well with computer-based programs.  Imagine my surprise when she not only did the work, but actually asked to do her “computer math”!  She loved it!
I think there were a few reasons for this.  First of all, the lesson part of the program seemed to hold her attention well.  Not only is there a voice talking about the lesson (auditory learning), the most important parts are put up on the screen while she is talking (visual learning), and they have a generous use of color.
Firefly also liked the interactive questions and answers that came after each lesson.  Each question and each answer are read to the child, and they answer the multiple choice question.  If the answer is correct, there is immediate positive feedback.  If it is incorrect, there is immediate instruction to help the child remember the correct answer.  My daughter commented that this was her favorite part, and helped her to remember the lesson more easily.  She has grasped math concepts in our introductory use of this program that I truly thought were too difficult to introduce to her.
I really enjoyed this program as well.  It was extremely easy to use and very hands-off for the teacher.  We simply had to pop the CD into the computer and load the program.  However, if you run into any problem, the technical support was very helpful.  There is a tutorial in the beginning that explains everything, but it is truly a self-explanatory program.  A+ Tutor Soft Math was very thorough, and explained things to my daughter in a way she could easily understand and retain the understanding of.  The only complaint I have was that the program was not compatible with our Mac computer.
I believe that A+ has “hit the nail on the head” with this program.  It is extremely thorough, easy-to-use, and enjoyable for the student.  The additional features that help to track progress are icing on the cake.  This has been a great fit for our family. 

Disclaimer:  As a reviewer for Hearts at Home Curriculum Store, I received this product at no charge to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

If you are interested in this program after checking out my review, click here to head over to the Hearts at Home Curriculum Store page, where my friend Carrie is running a giveaway for it!

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