Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TOS Review - Math Rider

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like almost every little girl spends at least part of her childhood fascinated by horses and wanting a pony.  I can't remember Kennady asking for one, but she is definitely interested in horses.  She does not, however, like math.  So the idea of a math facts game that involves a horse seemed like it just - might - work!

Math Rider is an interactive computer game designed by a software architect for his own kids, to help them master math facts in an entertaining way.  It teaches mastery of all four math operations with numbers 1 through 12 and is designed for children ages 6 to 12.  More than one person can play by just adding riders under different names, but it's not a multi-player game.

Kennady does need practice with her math facts - she has been working on memorizing them, but the ones she doesn't have memorized, she tends to work the whole thing out in her head, which means she is taking a L-O-N-G time to get through math lessons some days!  So we were glad that we had a chance to review this game through the TOS Review Crew.


Getting started was super easy.  Kennady was able to set up the game preferences herself, and all I did was make a couple of suggestions as to what level she should start with.  She was soon started on her first "quest."  There's a short story scenario, and then she could start riding her horse, "Shadow", across the fantasy landscape.  There are math problems on the bottom of the screen, and as each is answered, the horse jumps over an obstacle.  If she got the wrong answer, the horse stopped and the game told her the correct answer.  The horse also constantly adjusted its speed to how quickly Kennady was putting in the correct answers, and the problems she had trouble with appeared more frequently.


The game also has an easy-to-understand progress grid that shows at a glance how Kennady is doing.


Kennady really enjoyed the game.  It took her a couple tries to get coordinated and see what she was supposed to do, and then she was off! 

What we liked best...
  • super easy to get started and easy to use
  • you don't "lose" like in some games.  The horse will slow down or stop when the child gets wrong answers or is slow to answer questions, but doesn't "die" or "lose lives" or anything like that.  You just keep riding until you reach the end of the quest.  The game is designed to reward progress, not just perfection.
  • gentle, low-pressure way to practice those math facts. 
What we weren't crazy about...
  • Kennady said she didn't like the background music, and that it made it hard for her to concentrate, so she just turned it off.  We didn't think it a very big deal, since turning off the music is an option.
Kennady initially loved the game and couldn't get enough, but even after the novelty wore off, she was eager to play.  We are seeing her inch up that mastery scale with the operations she struggles with most often, so that is good news.  And it's WAY more fun than flash cards!

Would your child benefit from questing with MathRider? Here's what you need to know:

MathRider retails for $47, but right now it's available for $37 (until February 15, 2012).  You can try it free for 7 days to see if it's right for you.  The game runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, and you can see all the details about system requirements on the website. 

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog for more information, and to read other Crew member reviews.

Note: As a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we received a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for our honest opinions.


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