I am thrilled to share with you our latest homeschool product review. We had the privilege of being introduced to A+ TutorSoft, Inc. for the first time about 5 weeks ago. We were sent the 2nd grade A+ Interactive MATH CD to review with my seven year old son.
Company Information –
A+ TutorSoft offers multi-sensory interactive math curriculum for Kindergarten through Algebra 1. They offer the interactive curriculum via CD software and online program subscriptions for both homeschoolers and traditional schools. They also offer full curriculum spiral bound books and workbooks. Their methodology is based on a test-grade-review cycle. The founder has involved homeschooling families, math experts and professional software developers to create a program that is both engaging and rigorous.
Product Reviewed –
The second grade Premium Edition A+ Interactive MATH CD is a mutli-sensory interactive experience that any child would enjoy compared to a traditional textbook. The engaging animations, positive reinforcement and gradual progression mixed with frequent review opportunities make it a fun and challenging program. There is a standard version available as well for a slightly lower cost. The premium version includes greater flexibility such as hiding answer keys and solution guides, allowing grade tracking for up to five students, and the printing of reports. You can take a look at a comparison chart here. Just click on the standard vs. premium tab under your desired product to compare. There are also suggested lesson plans included in each version. The software was developed for Windows operating systems( XP, Vista, Windows 2000, or Windows 7) and requires 250MG of disk space on your hard drive to run. It can only be used with Macintosh computers by using a tool called “Parallels”, that allows you to run the program in a Windows environment on your Macintosh computer. There is no technical support available for that configuration.
- Second Grade Premium Edition A+ Interactive MATH CD -$124.99
- Second Grade A+ Interactive MATH full curriculum CD (standard) -$99.99
- Second Grade Online A+ Interactive MATH – Homeschool Edition – monthly -$19.95, quarterly $49.99 and annual subscriptions $124.99 (free one-month trial available).
If you would like to purchase the curriculum the company is offering the Review Crew readers a significant coupon code for 50%off until the end of March.
How We Used the Program in our Homeschool –
When the opportunity to review a computer based math program became available, my seven year old was thrilled. His big brother has been using a computer based program this year, and he was feeling left out. He loves anything interactive, and he eagerly sat down to try out the program. He also loves math and was ready to give it a try. The first thing we noticed about the program was the ease of navigation. Here is a shot of the main screen that appears when you log in as a student.
There is a short tutorial that guides you through the essentials of the program and within about five minutes you are ready to start. The tabs along the top allow you to toggle between multimedia lessons, lesson plans, the curriculum book, worksheets, exams, worksheet solution guides, exam solution guides, the review tab, help menu and the progress tracking tab. We spent most of our time in the multimedia lessons, worksheets and exam tabs. The expandable menu on the left hand sidebar lists the topics to cover over the course of the year. It is set up like a table of contents and you simply click on the chapter you are working through and it expands into different lessons. The sidebar menu layout is similar in both the multimedia lessons window and the worksheets window. We started at chapter one and over the course of the nearly five weeks we worked with the program, we were able to complete the first three chapters. We started in the multimedia lesson window each day. Here is a shot of one of the multimedia lessons on even and odd numbers in chapter three:
The smiley faces started on the right side of the page in a vertical line and then moved across the page and became arranged in pairs to demonstrate even and odd numbers. After completing the multimedia lesson, we continued to the interactive Q&A section.
There are usually about ten to fifteen questions in this section and you receive immediate feedback after submitting your answers.
When the question and answer section is completed you receive a certificate with your score. I printed these and placed them into a binder with our other daily work for our records.
From this screen, we usually continued to the worksheets screen. I tried printing the worksheets a couple of times, but this used so much paper that I began just making my own answer sheets for my son to copy his answers onto. This modification worked well and saved some printer ink. When we reached the end of the chapter we moved to the exam window. From the exam window you select the chapter exam you would like and the exam appears. There are a mixture of fill in the blank and multiple choice questions. The exams are not multi-media lessons and can be printed. We chose to print the exams to save for our records. With the premium edition that we reviewed there is an option for the parent to view lesson plans, enter and track grades and print reports. Here are some shots of what this looks like.
The screen above is where you enter the grades. You can even enter comments about each lesson, worksheet or exam.
My opinion of the product –
I was impressed with the functionality of this product. The interactive graphics were cute, but did not distract from the lesson. There was minimal teacher preparation required, which appealed to me as a busy mom. I loved the ability to make notes and comments in the progress tracking area. The reports were simple to create and will be great for my record keeping. I appreciated the ability to use a software based math curriculum with a second grade student but found that I was unable to give this to my child to do independently. He still needed me to stay nearby to help him navigate the program and to reiterate the instructions. My son felt that the program was better than his workbook based curriculum because of the ability to watch the lessons. He leans toward a more auditory learning style, and this was mixture of visual and auditory was a good fit for him. Having the option to print the worksheets and exams would cater to visual learners. Tactile learners would probably not do as well with this program because there are no manipulatives involved in the lessons. You could probably incorporate some into the program on your own, but that would require extra parent preparation time. Overall we had a favorable opinion of the software, and we will continue to use the second grade curriculum.
If you are interested in the online version or opinions of the first through fourth grade levels you can read more reviews here.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the A+ TutorSoft Second Grade Premium Edition CD software through the Schoolhouse Crew Review in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.