I received The Quarter Mile Math software from Barnum Software as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, and I’ll admit that when I received it, I wondered how on earth I could ever incorporate this software into our homeschool day. After all, I have a kindergartener and a preschooler. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that because I had received the Deluxe Bundle, I did indeed have the whole grade-range in my possession: from K through grade 9! Still, though, I had my doubts because we literally just started our formal math instruction on Monday of this week. Although my kindergartener, Lulu, has absored a good bit of real life mathematical knowledge, she doesn’t have much official, text-bookish mathematical knowledge at all. I was pleasantly surprised, then, when I realized that in addition to including several hundred mathematical topics, The Quarter Mile Math also includes some basic keyboarding and alphabet skills games in the kindergarten level. Bingo!
The premise of The Quarter Mile Math is that it operates as a race, either between cars or riderless horses. Whatever topic the student chooses to work on, the game is the same: he or she competes against his or her own best score. (There is also a tournament option which you can read about here.) The student then answers math (or alphabet or keyboarding) drill questions as quickly as possible. Race sessions last from 45 seconds to 2.5 minutes, depending on the difficulty of the topic. Since students are usually competing against themselves, the idea is that the competition will spur them on to answering more quickly, etc. This concept was somewhat lost on my little girls, but I could see that given a year or two of learning, they might really get into such a program. Lulu actually played an alphabet game in which she had to key in the next letter of the alphabet given a sequence of two letters and a number game in which she had to key in the next number, and she was able to do them both with minimal frustration. Obviously, the main problem is unfamiliarity with the computer keyboard, but then again, that’s part of the point for the game she played.
The Quarter Mile Math covers hundreds of mathematical topics and is used in Sylvan Learning Centers across the U.S. and Canada. It is a fun way to review mathematical concepts, skills, and facts. It is easy to install, and although the program itself is not intuitive to run (at least not to me, but I admit to being a little technologically slow), a thorough guide book is provided. On the downside, though, visually it is nothing like playing a modern video game: the graphics for The Quarter Mile Math look more like I remember from my old Atari when I was a child than anything I’ve watched my tweenage nephews play. My girls are very uninitiated to the world of video games, so they were quite excited to play this game, but other students who have had more exposure to technology might notice this. Running the program on Vista (as we are doing) might cause a few problems (mainly freezing up, which did happen once to me), but Barnum Software has provided a patch to fix such problems.
The Quarter Mile Math is available in a couple of different configurations, and I would consider $2.95 a month for a family subscription a bargain for something that would offer variety to my family’s (future!) math curriculum. Visit The Quarter Mile Math for more information, and for more reviews, check out TOS Homeschool Crew blog.