Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math

My experiences in school memorizing math facts is not good. I was diagnosed as dyslexic in elementary school though I’m not sure that is completely accurate. I cannot spell worth beans (or is it beens? ;) but I can write well and have always been able to read easily. The area that has been most affected by my dyslexia is math; specifically remembering facts and formulas. Needless to say memorizing math facts was pure torture for me.

I remember sitting in the class for weeks during recess, watching all the kids play in the playground while I sat and did my multiplication timed tests. The teacher was sure I was just not motivated to memorize them and this was his solution. The problem was not motivation. My mom found out that was happening after a few weeks and stepped it. The problem is, I still do not have many of my math facts memorized as I should. I can recall them, but it takes several seconds, it’s not instant as it should be.

Imagine my dismay to see 2 of my children follow in my footsteps in this area. Interestingly enough, it was my dyslexic children. We have done just about every program you can think of for memorizing multiplication tables. I don’t want to punish them, but it is important! I know how hard it is for them so we just keep plugging away at.

When I was sent Mad Dog Math to review, we had been doing just your basic flash cards for a while now with my youngest. I think variety is helpful here and it was time for a change again. The flash cards were getting boring!

She was actually happy to start Mad Dog Math after the flash cards. I let her start with addition and subtraction even though she is in 6th grade and knows those facts well. But it helped her learn the program and get a feel for how it worked. Then we got down to business. I had her start the multiplication facts. She’s been working on these for a while with some success.

I like how this program works. We’ve tried programs with jingles and songs and stories, we’ve tried programs with games and incentives, we’ve tried writing them down over and over, and we’ve tried flash cards. Honestly, as far as computer programs go, I really liked Mad Dog Math’s approach. It has some bells and whistles in the form of incentives, but not too much. The screen is not overwhelming with lots of distractions; it’s just a simple, fill in the blank kinda deal.

Frankly, I’ve not had much to do with Mad Dog Math. I downloaded it on the kids’ computer and let her loose. I did have to set some parameters (like she can’t do only simple addition!) and set the time etc, but overall it’s been her deal. She gets on when she’s done with her math curriculum for the day, she spends 10 or 20 minutes doing her drills and she gets off. No complaining, no fluff, just math.

Now that I like!

If you have a child that struggles with memorization of the math facts, variety is the key in my opinion. Work on one thing for a while, maybe a DVD program, then good old fashioned flash cards, then maybe writing them out and the like. Mad Dog Math is an excellent addition to the Multiplication Fact arsenal! I am very grateful to have it and will continue using it, because it will probably be a long, long time before the facts finally cement in that dyslexic brain of hers.

And now for the fine print...

K-5 (older kids can also benefit!)

Downloadable Software

1 year license: $19.99
2 year license: $29.99
Perpetual license: $39.99

Print Materials in a Binder

$89.99 for Classroom
$69.99 for Homeschool
$89.99 for Middle/High School

You can go here to learn more about Mad Dog Math and you can go here to see what others on The Crew had to say about this product.

Happy Homeschooling!

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