Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TOS Homeschool Crew: Galaxy of Education

Our next stop on our TOS Homeschool Crew Voyage is with the fine people at Galaxy of Education. As Crew Mates we were given free access to their Math Galaxy Programs and E-books in exchange for our honest opinions.

If you have followed my voyage for any amount of time, you know that math is not my favorite subject. So anytime I stumble across a program or tool that will help me teach my children math skills, this intrigues me. Will it indeed be a program that will help us?

First, let's look at what they have available. There are several Java-based programs covering the topics of;

~Math Galaxy Whole Numbers Fun
~Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun
~Math Galaxy Fractions Fun
~Math Galaxy Decimals, Proportions and Percents Fun
~Math Galaxy Pre-Algebra Fun
~Math Galaxy Algebra Fun

There is also something available called The Riddler Worksheet Generator. It is available in the following titles;

~Whole Numbers
~Decimal Proportions Percents

Math Galaxy also offers several E-books they call Riddles Books. The are av

~Fraction Riddles E-book
~Algebra Riddles E-book
~Whole Numbers Riddles E-book
~Decimal Riddles E-book

I have seen pros and cons with these programs. The PROS: my son enjoyed using them! That is half the battle right there, isn't it? He would sit down and work about 45 minutes on his math. Secondly, it really was helping him The way the program works is when you click into a subject, say... 'Area' off the screen, that is up at the top in the corner,yYou are then taken to a screen that gives you a couple of options. One of those options is 'review'. When you click on that area, it is a tutorial. Your child will click through a series of screens learning the skill he will be using in that section. Once he completes that he can move onto the doing the practice problems. You can choose to have them do 'step by step' or 'final answer only'. We always chose 'step by step'. These programs have helped to move him along quicker than he was working through his math previously. That is a plus!

Now, what are the con's? First, your child needs to be a reader! If you have a struggling reader, then this program is not going to be a good fit. They have to read through the tutorials and problems. We have several dyslexics in my home, so this was an issue for some of my children. The second would be that, when the child does his work he earns robots, that allow him to play some games that are included with the program. Which is a great incentive. However, you must be aware that the robots do not carry over for future use. So you need to work that reward time, into the time you have allowed them to use Math Galaxy. And the final con, is that it is not a tool that you can use, and see really how your children are doing. There are no reports offered to show they have mastered a skill, or even what kinds of problems they have been doing. Having this feature would really enhance this product.

However, even with the cons that I listed, I really did like this program. We learned how to work the program to best serve our family and it really has been a blessing.

You can order any of the Java Based Programs and the Riddlers Worksheet Generators for $29.95 each. The E-books are available for $14.95. You can order all of these products by visiting Math Galaxy.

Please take a moment to cruise on over to the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about these products.

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