Saturday, March 27, 2010

TOS Crew Review -- Math Galaxy


Another math product. At first I had to sigh, could I really ask my kids to try out yet another math program? Well, it turned out I could.

Math Galaxy offers software CDs that give you a tutorial on whole numbers, fractions, decimals/proportions/percents, word problems, pre-algebra, and algebra fundamentals. They also have worksheet generators for those same topics (except word problems and pre-algebra). And, they offer some downloadable ebooks with additional riddles and help in whole numbers and fractions.

Product: Math Galaxy
Details: Six different software tutorial CDs that cover different topics from foundational to complex, four different CDs that offer worksheet generators for different topics, and two ebooks with various riddles to reinforce learning with a little more fun.
Price: $29.95 for the software CDs (including the tutorials and worksheet generators) and $14.95 for their ebooks.

What we loved . . .
  • Comprehensive. Each topic is covered in great detail. If you buy the program on whole number you cover everything from addition to probability. This is not just another drill of your basic facts, this program covers a topic thoroughly.
  • Motivating. In addition to teaching skills, the student earns "lives" in a labyrinth game that can then be played on the program. This insures that they do some educational work before playing and gives them greater desire to accomplish the academic work as it benefits them during their time of free play. And, the game requires some logical thinking also. It isn't just a race game or target practice.
  • Self-teaching. Each step of the way, the student receives instruction on the math concept in front of them. When they make a mistake, it shows them the correct way to solve it. And, even when they answer correctly, it reinforces the problem solving strategies so they can double check their process, not just the final answer.
  • Fun. Clearly the creators of Math Galaxy wanted children to enjoy learning math. The program moves quickly, rewards success, encourages weakness, and offers a variety of different formats for learning through fun in their ebooks, printables, and games.
  • Upper levels. So many math program seem to quit in about 5-6th grade. This one has teaching and activities through Algebra. Although some things about the program didn't mesh well with my oldest son, he did appreciate the different format for learning and practicing some of his Algebra concepts. It's always nice to have a change of scenery, even in high school level topics.


Some considerations . . .

  • Graphics leave something to be desired. While the concept and content are top notch, the colors and graphics chosen were not very aesthetically pleasing (in my opinion). Many kids might look past this, and you can get a feel for this (and if it will matter to you and/or your kids) by looking over the samples on their website. Some of it is too busy, too bold, or just too simplistic. (see sample content page pictured above)
  • Get ready to read. Since this program is strictly on screen (no sound) the child must do a lot of reading to learn the concepts. For my oldest son especially this is a big negative. He is more auditory or kinesthetic and does not do well when he has to read a new concept for himself. It also seemed that there were rather long paragraphs without many breaks which discourage me from even reading it all since I like to skim for information. Everything you need to know is there, but be prepared to spend a lot of time reading in order to learn.
Math Galaxy has a lot to offer. They cover some critical math topics in great detail. They provide a great program that can help kids that need something outside of a regular math book to boost their morale and enthusiasm for math. I find these reasonably priced for the volume of topics that they each cover. I would be more excited about them if they were more fun to look at, but they definitely have a lot to offer and make learning some of those challenging math concepts a little more fun.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: These downloads were provided to me free of charge from Galaxy of Education as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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