Friday, March 13, 2015

Math Analogies Beginning Software Review

Critical Thinking Company Review

We received Math Analogies Beginning from The Critical Thinking Co. to review. We downloaded the software for Windows and used it on our laptop. This software is recommended for children in grades K-1. I believe that children younger or older than these grades can still benefit from this software, especially if they are unfamiliar with math analogies. It's wonderful for supplemental math lessons.

Critical Thinking Company Review

The Math Analogies Beginning software was quick to install and is easy to navigate for parents and children. My children worked on the same problems together, sitting side by side, and pointed to the screen for their answer. I did most of the button clicking, simply because we were using the laptop. I personally would prefer an App or physical book version of this program, because they enjoy it so much and I think they would enjoy working on it on their own. They do occasionally work apart, but my son really likes to be involved with his sisters studies and he's a quick learner, so he keeps up well. My daughter prefers working out of books, and will often sit on the couch with whatever workbook she is using, and work through the problems unassisted. My son on the other hand would prefer an App version to use on his tablet/iPad.

I think that most preschoolers will be ready for this program, or at least for the first few parts of it. My 3-year-old works at the same pace through the problems as my 5-year-old and has had almost no difficulty understanding the problems. The only ones he struggles with are the word problems, and he excels at the picture problems.

Here's how the software looks. It only presents one problem at a time. All you have to do is answer the problem, which is marked with a question mark (?). The home button (not pictured) is in the top, right corner. So you can easily navigate back to the home screen, and you can resume your problems where you left off.

Once you answer the question correctly, a box will appear that will let you move on to the next problem. There are 152 problems in Math Analogies Beginning.

Problems like this (below) I read out loud. Bean is familiar with the written versions of these numbers, but Munchkin needed assistance.

Here are a few other examples.

One thing I don't like, and I'm sure it's designed this way for a reason, is that you can't go back to re-do any of the problems. My daughter, who has only gotten one problem wrong, still asks why she can't go back to fix it. It bothers her, and I wish I could go back to that one problem, but the only way we can do that is to restart the whole thing. But we won't do that until we reach the end, because I'm fairly certain the problems will be in the same order and I don't want them to feel like they are doing the same problems again and again. On that note, we will probably pick up a book version for Bean and stick to the software or App version for Munchkin. 
Other than that, we have almost no issues with this software. It's simple. It's affordable. And perfect for homeschooling families and non-homeschooling families. It's a wonderful addition to math lessons. And I really think it will help children understand analogies. It will improve their problem-solving skills and reasoning skills, for identifying and evaluating analogies.

If you are trying to improve fine motor skills while working on math problems, I would absolutely recommend checking out the award winning Math Analogies books! We will be! And The Critical Thinking Co.'s catalog just arrived today, so we will be checking out their other products as well!

Math Analogies Beginning is also available in these formats: paperback book, Windows download, iPad/iTunes App download, and Android tablet App. 

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